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Ranking the Teams on the Schedule

Husker Country Doc

Heisman
15 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.
I would disagree with that. We very well may lose one of those, but for NU to get back to where we want them to be, we have to return to winning the ones we should win.
 

Twelve String

Scout Team
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.
It's interesting to me that so much of the "feel good" around here for 2019 is based on how well NU finished in 2018. Minnesota finished just as strong as NU, and soundly beat a Wisconsin team that NU hasn't beaten since 2012. Why people seem to overlook or minimize that fact is puzzling.

Minny lost 4 of 5 mid season games and could have folded like a cheap tent. They didn't. They got better as the season went on. To say that Fleck's annoying "row the boat" (and it is VERY annoying to me) song-and dance can't be maintained over the course of the season flies in the face of the results they showed in that second half.

What will be interesting is to see if Fleck can do something similar to what Pat Fitzgerald has done, and that is take a bunch of mid level recruiting classes and through training, conditioning and motivation turn them into a team whose whole is more than the sum of it's parts.
 

HuskerWeatherman

Husker Fan
15 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.
Why do you think Colorado will be a real challenge? I'm assuming you know more than the most of us.

The Buffs lost their last seven games last season, to finish with a losing record for 12 of the past 13 seasons. It's truly one of the small handful of worst Power Five football programs.
 

HuskerWeatherman

Husker Fan
15 Year Member
It's interesting to me that so much of the "feel good" around here for 2019 is based on how well NU finished in 2018. Minnesota finished just as strong as NU, and soundly beat a Wisconsin team that NU hasn't beaten since 2012. Why people seem to overlook or minimize that fact is puzzling.

Minny lost 4 of 5 mid season games and could have folded like a cheap tent. They didn't. They got better as the season went on. To say that Fleck's annoying "row the boat" (and it is VERY annoying to me) song-and dance can't be maintained over the course of the season flies in the face of the results they showed in that second half.

What will be interesting is to see if Fleck can do something similar to what Pat Fitzgerald has done, and that is take a bunch of mid level recruiting classes and through training, conditioning and motivation turn them into a team whose whole is more than the sum of it's parts.
Minnesota finished much stronger than Nebraska last season. Not even a close comparison.
 

HuskerWeatherman

Husker Fan
15 Year Member
Also how come if they were so good late., they could not beat a descent not great NWU?
Nor could Iowa or Nebraska. Northwestern did win the Big Ten West last season, as you may recall. 8-1 conference record. If Northwestern was only decent, I'd hate to see how you label 3-6 (conference record) Nebraska from last season.

Also, Pat Fitzgerald is the best coach in the Big Ten. Maybe PJ Fleck can get to that level some day, but he's not there yet.
 
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Huskerthom

All Big 10
5 Year Member
Nor could Iowa or Nebraska. Northwestern did win the Big Ten West last season, as you may recall. 8-1 conference record. If Northwestern was only decent, I'd hate to see how you label 3-6 (conference record) Nebraska from last season.

Also, Pat Fitzgerald is the best coach in the Big Ten. Maybe PJ Fleck can get to that level some day, but he's not there yet.
Nwu conference schedule last year. Had a lot to do with scheduling. Even with that record and ours they needed OT to beat us.
 
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.
That's a heck of a lot of explanation for why Minnesota looked good at the end of the year, and, by the way, Georgia Tech let it be known that they were pretty dang fired up to send retiring coach Paul Johnson out on a high note, but that doesn't fit your narrative, so ... ignore that. Minnesota was a good team at the end of the year. I don't know why it's so hard to just admit that. If they flame out and go down this year, so be it, but they were still a good team at the end of last year.

So yeah, I have no issue saying we smoke them again.
So how many points are you going to give me?
 
I would disagree with that. We very well may lose one of those, but for NU to get back to where we want them to be, we have to return to winning the ones we should win.
You're logic seems to be running like this: A) Nebraska is going to bring back the good old days, which leads to B) so they don't lose to lesser teams, which brings you to conclusion C) therefore we won't lose to teams that we should beat. It doesn't work like that in the real world. In the real world, teams get upset all the time. I'm hopeful that the days of losing to Northern Illinois and Troy are behind us, but tell me honestly: Weren't you already thinking in September that there's no way that we could lose to Troy? Ex post facto, we always have a reason, which others would call "an excuse," for why what we thought couldn't happen has happened. Why? A new coach, a shaky team psyche, and a key injury led to an embarrassing upset. Okay, fine, but Ohio State shouldn't have lost to Purdue; they did. Ohio State was a dropped 2-point conversion pass away from losing to Maryland, yet we think that we're going to suddenly be so dominant that we couldn't lose to Maryland? Indiana was playing very competitively against Michigan (at Michigan) and Ohio State last year, they return a ton of starters and key players, yet there should be no way that they beat us this year? And on it goes.

If you think that Osborne levels of dominance are going to come back, it's highly unlikely. Osborne only ever lost ONE game to a team that finished with a losing record ('92 Iowa State); that's superhuman. I don't know if any other coaches have ever done that before or since, but it's rare. We seem to think that that should be our normal. It isn't, and it won't be.

I know that all of the folks here who want to believe that we're now magically on the same plane as Ohio State (and possibly Michigan, if they improve their offense to rise up to our level) will think it's blasphemy to hear this, but here goes: We could lose to any of the teams below in bold, even without any serious injuries or major issues as an excuse:

7) N. Illinois​
8) AT Maryland
9) Indiana
10) AT Colorado
11) AT Illinois
12 S. Alabama​

Those are four teams with more talent on their rosters than their records showed last year. All four have much more talent than Troy did last year. With better coaching (Maryland and Colorado both have new staffs), and if they're able to avoid injuries, there's no reason why every one of those teams would not have a better record than last year. I predict that Indiana is going to a bowl game, and their potential ceiling is higher than just 6-6 if they stay healthy. Maryland, Colorado, and Illinois all have the potential to win 6 games. I highly doubt they all will, but at least one probably will. Instead of phrasing it the way that you did--"we have to return to winning the ones we should win"--what if I asked this question: "Is it possible that Nebraska could lose 2 out of 3 to Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Iowa, and lose a couple close games to lesser teams that are going to a bowl?" We're talking about the same thing, but you're starting from the perspective that we just should win and therefore will win games against middling opponents. I hope you're right, and we do. My experience says that we won't.
 
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