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Ranking the Teams on the Schedule

From the way you make it sound our best win was Minny. Like I said we will see.
Thom, the way that you make it sound, you apparently get more ... "stimulated" from watching/analyzing opponents than I do. They were a very good team at the end of the year. We've listed out the reasons why we think that in quite reasonable detail; your rebuttal is, "Yeah, but ... they're Minnesota."
We will win a minimum of 2 of those games.
Which 2 games did you mean? The top 4? I could see that. I also think that we'll end up losing to one of the bottom 6.
 

cthusker

You talken to me?
5 Year Member
I just do not get the woody some folks are getting over Minny. They finished strong. Like we did. However that does not mean much. The difference. We got steadily better which is to me a better sign than a sudden turn around. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
I agree on Minny. They didn't even finish middle of the pack (9th) in conference in offense last season as we finished 2nd! Unless they make a big jump in offensive power don't believe they can out score the Huskers. Not going to be a cakewalk but then few of the BIG games will be anymore. Minny will be tough at home but they finish with a brutal schedule this season.... PSU, IA, NU and WI. Certainly not what you want to finish out conference play imo.
 

CrabHusker

Alienating everyone, one post at a time.
5 Year Member
What would be interesting is to see where we rank on everyone else's schedule.
I was thinking the same thing.

Frost's arrival got all of us lathered up last fall, but the results looked a lot like Riley's teams to the rest of college football. I know knowledgable folks outside our fanbase and program who're all talking NU up and expecting big things, but I don't think that's universal. The bottom feeders still get excited about playing Nebraska, but I'm not sure the handful we list at the top feel the same way about NU for the 2019 season. Myer talked Nebraska up, but that's mostly to cover his backside on an outcome he felt needing explaining away. Iowa and Wisconsin both won last year and have dominated in recent games, so I don't know that they're that enamored yet. Minnesota's fans are mostly really nice, so they'll just be happy we played. If NU starts fast this fall, all that changes. Win a bunch of games early and land back in the top 20 and we'll garner more attention from opposing teams.

Now 2020 and beyond.......there will be pre-season talk about their games with Nebraska. I have no doubt.
 

CrabHusker

Alienating everyone, one post at a time.
5 Year Member
I agree on Minny. They didn't even finish middle of the pack (9th) in conference in offense last season as we finished 2nd! Unless they make a big jump in offensive power don't believe they can out score the Huskers. Not going to be a cakewalk but then few of the BIG games will be anymore. Minny will be tough at home but they finish with a brutal schedule this season.... PSU, IA, NU and WI. Certainly not what you want to finish out conference play imo.
I'm not in the 'Minnesota is our toughest out' group by a long shot, but they're in my top four toughest games this year. They played solid football after the NU game last fall (@Middle-aged_Ball_Coach, I went back and watched) and had Nebraska played them again in late November or in bowl season, we wouldn't have been playing the same team that Frost & Co beat for Nebraska's first win. As was mentioned in this thread, they figure out the QB position and they'll be even more of a handful. You're right about the schedule being rough at the end, but Minnesota could finish with 5 or 6 losses this year and be a much better football team than the 2018 version.
 

cthusker

You talken to me?
5 Year Member
I'm not in the 'Minnesota is our toughest out' group by a long shot, but they're in my top four toughest games this year. They played solid football after the NU game last fall (@Middle-aged_Ball_Coach, I went back and watched) and had Nebraska played them again in late November or in bowl season, we wouldn't have been playing the same team that Frost & Co beat for Nebraska's first win. As was mentioned in this thread, they figure out the QB position and they'll be even more of a handful. You're right about the schedule being rough at the end, but Minnesota could finish with 5 or 6 losses this year and be a much better football team than the 2018 version.
Don't disagree but then Nebraska wasn't the same team by the end of the season either? Just have to see how it plays out but we can bet we're going to get Minny's best effort after last year. I have a lot of faith our D is going to be much improved and if Mills work out our offense should be a nightmare for defenses to contain.
 

One Hit Wonder

Recruit
2 Year Member
All the discussion about Minnesota, got to ask the question 'how much home field advantage' does the Gophers get considering how well Husker fans travel?
Good question. I think their fans should be fired up for the game. More so considering Minny could be 5-0 when Nebraska rolls into town. They play 3 fairly easy non-cons then get a bye in Week 4 before playing at Purdue which should be their toughest game before Nebraska. Their stadium only holds 54,000 so it could be a tough ticket.
 

One Hit Wonder

Recruit
2 Year Member
I'm not in the 'Minnesota is our toughest out' group by a long shot, but they're in my top four toughest games this year. They played solid football after the NU game last fall (@Middle-aged_Ball_Coach, I went back and watched) and had Nebraska played them again in late November or in bowl season, we wouldn't have been playing the same team that Frost & Co beat for Nebraska's first win. As was mentioned in this thread, they figure out the QB position and they'll be even more of a handful. You're right about the schedule being rough at the end, but Minnesota could finish with 5 or 6 losses this year and be a much better football team than the 2018 version.
Ya, if Nebraska plays them after the DC change, it would have been an entirely different game. Also, Annexstad (QB) got hurt in the 1st half v. Nebraska. When Morgan came in Minny was a different team. He gave Nebraska's D problems.
 

CrabHusker

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5 Year Member
Ya, if Nebraska plays them after the DC change, it would have been an entirely different game. Also, Annexstad (QB) got hurt in the 1st half v. Nebraska. When Morgan came in Minny was a different team. He gave Nebraska's D problems.
Exactly. Just the QB change would have made a difference. Maybe not enough to change the outcome, but it would have been a closer game and Minnesota kept improving from there. Nebraska did as well, but I just don’t see a ‘no shot’ kind of advantage for NU.
 
Myer talked Nebraska up, but that's mostly to cover his backside on an outcome he felt needing explaining away.
Last fall I spent a ton of time following the OSU media, watching press conferences, etc., from the week before Ohio State played Purdue through the bye week and then Nebraska week. Besides wanting to know what to expect from them, talent-wise (I hadn't watched Haskins until then), I was looking for clues in what the coaches and players were saying (and NOT saying) to see how seriously they were taking Nebraska. I wrote about it back then, and my opinion of what the OSU staff thought of Nebraska evolved as the game got closer. Putting 2 & 2 together, here's what I saw: They did NOT take Nebraska seriously enough to have the coaching staff spending any time watching Nebraska film during the bye week before our game. Ohio State, top to bottom, was focused on Ohio State. The Monday press conference of the Nebraska game week was different, though. Urban suddenly started talking about Nebraska's defense with specificity, and he was openly complimentary of the coaches, scheme, Martinez, and Ozigbo. I don't think he or the other coaches watched Nebraska film until the weekend before, which is typically what happens in a normal week, but they put it off during the bye week. As it got closer to game time, the interviews with the players and assistant coaches got more specific and more respectful, too. Our game film had their attention by that point, and they were no longer taking the game lightly. During some of the press questioning, a couple different times the reporters made light of Nebraska's record, etc., and Urban (twice) and Schiano (at least once) shut that down and basically said, "This is a really good team that has a bad record, and it's not going to be easy." The press didn't believe them.

In watching all of the above, it put Meyer's quotes about Nebraska after the game in a better context. The media's response to all of the above was that Nebraska was a bad team, so OSU must have been playing so poorly that it made it a closer game than it should have been. Had that been the case, Urban has no problem throwing his players under the bus and letting them take the blame. He didn't do that. I am convinced that Urban was being genuine when he spoke of Nebraska and Frost and the schemes, etc., with respect.

Iowa and Wisconsin both won last year and have dominated in recent games, so I don't know that they're that enamored yet.
My impression of how Iowa and Wisconsin fans currently view us would be mirror images of how @cthusker and @Huskerthom view Minnesota, including thinking that the coach is over-rated. With the players and coaches, it's hard to say. It is safe to say that Paul Chryst apparently is not a fan of Nebraska based on what he was caught saying on the sidelines during our game last year.

They played solid football after the NU game last fall (@Middle-aged_Ball_Coach, I went back and watched) and had Nebraska played them again in late November or in bowl season, we wouldn't have been playing the same team that Frost & Co beat for Nebraska's first win.
I can't tell you how much I respect that you took the time to watch those games. I'm pretty much convinced that a lot (probably most) of the people who are so certain that Minnesota can't beat us this fall haven't really watched those games, or at least watched them closely to see what they'll look like this year. They were a very good team from mid-November onward, and it wasn't the same team that we played anymore.

All the discussion about Minnesota, got to ask the question 'how much home field advantage' does the Gophers get considering how well Husker fans travel?
They may not have the homefield advantage in the sense of a loud, raucous stadium that makes it hard for our offense to hear the count, etc., but there's a lot of value in NOT having to travel, keeping a regular schedule until Friday afternoon, and eating and sleeping in familiar places.

They play 3 fairly easy non-cons then get a bye in Week 4 before playing at Purdue which should be their toughest game before Nebraska.
Minnesota's non-conference schedule could have been a nightmare for them, and it's still not as easy as it might look. They're fortunate in that SDSU's QB graduated along with some other very good players because SDSU would have been a tough first game a year ago. Fresno State is at Fresno State, and that won't be easy. Even Georgia Southern isn't a simple win as Georgia Southern runs a Flexbone offense, and last year they led the nation in fewest turnovers. (The Flexbone and "fewest turnovers" are not phrases that should go together.) They won their bowl game last year, but I think they had quite a few seniors, but I don't remember for certain. Regardless, option teams often give good teams fits on defense, though Minnesota had no problems with Georgia Tech's in last year's bowl game.

As for the Purdue game, I am very curious to see how that turns out. Both teams have a lot of potential and a lot of question marks. Either could win the conference or struggle to finish .500. Having a bye the week before should help Minnesota, but it's at Purdue. The week after that they have Illinois at home, but don't forget that Illinois took them to the woodshed last year. That game was so bad that the press were starting to call for Fleck's head, which was why they made the change at DC. Because of what happened last year, I expect Minnesota to drill them this year, but Illinois should not be a bad team.

I think their fans should be fired up for the game. More so considering Minny could be 5-0 when Nebraska rolls into town.
Minnesota NEEDS to be 5-0 coming into our game due to how their schedule gets so much tougher down the stretch. They could lose a game or two, and because of their lack of depth, they could be looking awful if they have a key injury or two. If they're 5-0, their fans will be pumped up, and it won't feel like any Minnesota-Nebraska game in my lifetime. At the other extreme, if they're 3-2, Fleck might be desperate to beat us to save his job. If they're not at least 4-2 after our game, it would be a tough road to qualify for a bowl game.

When Morgan came in Minny was a different team.
Even having watched them and having been impressed with them as a whole at the end of the year, I hadn't really noticed Morgan until I recently went back and watched the Wisconsin game again. He's a decent QB. Fleck wants a QB who can run the ball better than what he can do, so that limits their offense, but he throws the ball quite well.
 
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BuffSurveyor

All American
10 Year Member
I can't see how Colorado is being overlooked by those on this board. That team will be a real challenge for teams this year.

I'd rank them at least 2 or 3 spots higher than 2nd from the bottom.
 
I can't see how Colorado is being overlooked by those on this board. That team will be a real challenge for teams this year.

I'd rank them at least 2 or 3 spots higher than 2nd from the bottom.
It's tough to say where they'll be by the end of the year because a good coaching staff (which they seem to now have) can do a lot, but we're getting them for the 2nd game of the year, which matters a lot when it comes to putting in new systems, etc. I expect them to have a lot of the same early season struggles and growing pains that we had last year. Montez and Shenault are good, but I'm not seeing many other offensive weapons. I think we match up particularly well with them, and I think that we're going to be incredibly fired up for that game both due to losing to them last year and because of the LB twisting Adrian's knee. I think that they're very similar to Illinois, except that I don't think that we'll be as fired up and focused to play Illinois.
 

CrabHusker

Alienating everyone, one post at a time.
5 Year Member
Last fall I spent a ton of time following the OSU media, watching press conferences, etc., from the week before Ohio State played Purdue through the bye week and then Nebraska week. Besides wanting to know what to expect from them, talent-wise (I hadn't watched Haskins until then), I was looking for clues in what the coaches and players were saying (and NOT saying) to see how seriously they were taking Nebraska. I wrote about it back then, and my opinion of what the OSU staff thought of Nebraska evolved as the game got closer. Putting 2 & 2 together, here's what I saw: They did NOT take Nebraska seriously enough to have the coaching staff spending any time watching Nebraska film during the bye week before our game. Ohio State, top to bottom, was focused on Ohio State. The Monday press conference of the Nebraska game week was different, though. Urban suddenly started talking about Nebraska's defense with specificity, and he was openly complimentary of the coaches, scheme, Martinez, and Ozigbo. I don't think he or the other coaches watched Nebraska film until the weekend before, which is typically what happens in a normal week, but they put it off during the bye week. As it got closer to game time, the interviews with the players and assistant coaches got more specific and more respectful, too. Our game film had their attention by that point, and they were no longer taking the game lightly. During some of the press questioning, a couple different times the reporters made light of Nebraska's record, etc., and Urban (twice) and Schiano (at least once) shut that down and basically said, "This is a really good team that has a bad record, and it's not going to be easy." The press didn't believe them.

In watching all of the above, it put Meyer's quotes about Nebraska after the game in a better context. The media's response to all of the above was that Nebraska was a bad team, so OSU must have been playing so poorly that it made it a closer game than it should have been. Had that been the case, Urban has no problem throwing his players under the bus and letting them take the blame. He didn't do that. I am convinced that Urban was being genuine when he spoke of Nebraska and Frost and the schemes, etc., with respect.
I didn't see any of the pre game OSU stuff, so all I had to go on was Urb's past comment's I'd heard when his Florida or Ohio State teams didn't play well. He reminded me more of Lou Holtz's shtick, which didn't seem very genuine. The reality is they were in a dog fight and he knew it.


My impression of how Iowa and Wisconsin fans currently view us would be mirror images of how @cthusker and @Huskerthom view Minnesota, including thinking that the coach is over-rated. With the players and coaches, it's hard to say. It is safe to say that Paul Chryst apparently is not a fan of Nebraska based on what he was caught saying on the sidelines during our game last year.
I don't disagree. The older fans for both teams might remember when Nebraska was dominant and they were not, which is where many of our current fans seem to default to when analyzing Nebraska and near term opponents. Chryst and Ferentz are both in for a rough ride in coming years as it relates to playing Nebraska.



I can't tell you how much I respect that you took the time to watch those games. I'm pretty much convinced that a lot (probably most) of the people who are so certain that Minnesota can't beat us this fall haven't really watched those games, or at least watched them closely to see what they'll look like this year. They were a very good team from mid-November onward, and it wasn't the same team that we played anymore.
I tend to develop opinions of teams pretty quickly and on occasion won't revisit that opinion as the season goes on. In the case of Minnesota last year, I really though they were a bad football team and didn't see much of a future for PJ. Things change, but I don't always have the time or the luxury to go back and revisit teams once I've seen them play, but, If I'm going to have a stance on something, the least I can do is educate myself a little. When I started going back through the games I remembered I'd watched the Purdue game live and it started to click a little that it wasn't the same team. The Wisconsin game wasn't a fluke, nor was the bowl win against Georgia Tech. I don't know if they have the depth to survive more than a few injuries to the top 22 and still play football at a winning level, but they're not going to be the 2018 version, regardless.
 
In the case of Minnesota last year, I really though they were a bad football team and didn't see much of a future for PJ.
Quite honestly, I thought the same. I was impressed with his offense before and during the Nebraska game, and they had looked good against OSU, but especially when they got waxed by Illinois, I thought that Fleck would hang on for another lackluster year or so, and then he'd be gone. I was shocked when they beat Purdue, especially when it wasn't that close. I'm rarely surprised by anything to do with Northwestern as it often looks like his team plays to the level of the secret bets that he's making in Vegas either for or against his team, but then I saw that Wisconsin game. At first I was thoroughly enjoying watching Wisconsin get drilled, but eventually I started to grow concerned as I realized that there were hardly any seniors even playing in the game for Minnesota because Cashman got kicked out for Targeting. It wasn't just that they beat Wisconsin, but it was how they man-handled them. Wisconsin could not run the ball against them between the tackles. Minnesota could run the ball against Wisconsin between the tackles. They out-Wisconsined Wisconsin.

I don't know if they have the depth to survive more than a few injuries to the top 22 and still play football at a winning level
This was going through my mind while typing everything in their defense in all of my comments. Nebraska is in a very similar situation, but I think Frost has done better at bringing in transfers to fill the leanest positions, especially if he gets a LB or two, which sounds possible. If Minnesota stays healthy all year, they will be in the mix of things for the B1G West. But they're also only a handful of injuries away from being .500, possibly worse. I'm suspicious that Wisconsin might be in that same boat, but we haven't realized it yet. It's entirely possible that whichever B1G West team finishes the season with the fewest key injuries will win the division. Indiana is also almost identical, Maryland and Michigan State, too.
 
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Huskerthom

All Legend
5 Year Member
Thom, the way that you make it sound, you apparently get more ... "stimulated" from watching/analyzing opponents than I do. They were a very good team at the end of the year. We've listed out the reasons why we think that in quite reasonable detail; your rebuttal is, "Yeah, but ... they're Minnesota."

Which 2 games did you mean? The top 4? I could see that. I also think that we'll end up losing to one of the bottom 6.
Describing how I think that their coaches shtick will wear this is not . "yeah but they are Minnesota." It is a psychological assumption that his type of motivation because it relies on emotion which is impossible to maintain through an entire season will wear thin. Every season has emotional ups and downs. I am big on the psychology of coaching. You can have two different coaches running the exact same game plan one will be wildly successful the other won't win a game. A big part of the game of football is knowing when to pull the emotional ripcord. Pull it too soon and your team burns out by half. Pull it too late and the team has too steep a hill to climb. The best coaches know when and how to get the emotions going at key points of the game based on the opponent. TO and his assistants knew how to use this. Meyer is good at it. The rest of the time teams just fall back to the steady drone of the coaching they got in practice. Miami 94 is a great example. Tom kept pounding, again and again waiting for the right moment. Then we he saw they had worn them down a bit he raised the emotional level of the players. Miami on the other hand used up all their emotion in the first quarter. To semi quote Gino Terreto from the fast and the furious. You can not hit the NOS too soon,

I have seen over and over where coaches who try to keep the players at too high of a level emotionally and their teams just burn out. For the record. I rarely count meaningless bowl games bowl games as a sign of how a team will do. Again emotional factor. Did GT have higher aspirations for the season than finishing with a Bowl against a .500 team? Probably. Where as Minny played their way into a bowl with a couple late season wins many thought they did not have a chance in.

So that leaves 2 games toward the end of the season that were "impressive." Purdue which is a case where they jumped up early and by the time Purdue got around to showing up it was over. They came out with emotion after firing a coach that may have been unpopular with the players. Maybe the team likes fleck enough that they were playing to save his job. Anyway, highly emotional coaches often get an unexpected win when they shouldn't. So then their is Wisky. A rivalry game, big on emotion, even bigger on who wants it more. (Emotion in a rivalry game IMO is why it took TO so long to beat Switzer. Switzer was a master of pulling the emotional rip cord at the right time.) So back to Wisky. By the time this game was played they had lost the west title. (their key motivation every year) Tey had some injuries where Minny was pretty healthy for end of season. Wisky had qualified for a bowl, Minny had not. So Minny showed up hyped, Wisky relatively flat. Minny got up early and Wisky did not have the emotional energy to fight back. In their heads they were probably thinking. "We can turn it on and we will win like we always do. In the 4th they tried to get the emotion up but it was too late. The Ax on this day was just not enough to motivate the badgers. Also how come if they were so good late., they could not beat a descent not great NWU?

In conclusion. I think bad teams can become very good teams with the right type of coach. If not Snyder would never have been able to pull KSU from the death throws of college ball. I think that Fleck'ws style can win games, I do not think it can last over time, Conversely I think HCSF steady improvement and emotional grasp of the game will lead to a even bigger improvement this year. So yeah, I have no issue saying we smoke them again.
 
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