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Was Northwestern Great in 2020?

RedSaidTed

Red Shirt
The only way I want to be Northwestern is going to two conference titles in 3 years. I can't believe they overachieve almost every year, so maybe they are just way better than everyone gives them credit for.

I will say, the one thing I am jealous of a team like Northwestern or Indiana of is how they can stay within virtually one score of Ohio State? Both of those games were competitive and they didn't look outclassed. Where we have lost by more each year we play Ohio State since our staff has been here. It seems when teams have more talent we almost play scared a bit, and I don't mean the players. When teams are superior in talent we seem to get absolutely crushed. What happened in 2018 where we lost 36-31 to Ohio State and now we lose 40 to 7 and 52-17? I'm not bashing, i just don't get it how that's what we do and then look at Northwestern and Indiana.
We don’t yet know how to compete in the B1G. I think we’re going to figure it out. If we don’t then we will have to change leadership.

NW knows how to complete in the conference and they do more with less than anyone else in our league. That’s impressive.
 

36Blast

Slow Blinker
2 Year Member
NW might not have been great, but it was good enough for Fitz to get a nice, fat 10-year contract (per reports)
 

XCHusker

Recruit
2 Year Member
I tend to think the little things will put us over. So, ultimately, what does that mean? I we're losing by thin margins, the playing smart, hold onto the football, get better ST play makes our competition losers without much other change.
However, what will change is a few drives by our competition where the stress is on them, and then we will see more mistakes by them, as they press, and that will create an even wider gap, and thats where I think we are now, only reversed.
Now, take into consideration of what SF has been saying, we are so close to flipping this thing, add in momentum, learning how to win, everything changes.

Now, getting back to Northwestern, they do this often, they flip their record alot, so, for the naysayers, it can be done, and though NW may get a few decisive losses in their down years, theyre likely to be closer losses, except maybe a OSU game.

So, we are finally on the climb, as the Big has gotten better, theyre also plateauing, as we continue to get better. Also for the naysayers, just look at the D, and even Betts at wr, someone who looks like the best days are ahead of him, came into the system and is getting better.
Add in a healthy stable of rbs, a very good TE room, we are getting better.

So, clean it up, play better STs, low turnovers and continue to improve, a possible early sign of that old irresistible force that we know and love.
Like a slow train comin

Here's my issue with this line of thought. We are also really close to only winning one game this year. For 3 years now we have been saying the same thing, clean up special teams, stop with the dumb penalties (drive killers on offense and targeting on defense), stop turning the ball over, etc. 3 years of the same old thing is a trend not an anomaly. At some point you have to say this staff (and these players) are either incapable or not working smart enough to fix these things. It's easy to say well we just need the ball to bounce this way and we'd win a couple more games but as Hemingway said, "you make your own luck."

On the player side, it's the same thing. A lot of oh when we get this guy its going to make us more dangerous because we have a deep threat or we get this running back healthy and all will be well. We are entering year four with possibly are most inexperienced team. That's on the staff to have a stable of running backs ready to go and not have to play a 180 pound wide receiver at running back. So many people are on here placing a whole ton of hope in a FCS transfer wide receiver and a guy from USC who hasn't really set the world on fire.
 
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I agree with @CrabHusker about attending to the internals and letting everything else play out.

But one thing I'd like to point out. Even though most people here think the west is "average," the overall conference in general is as competitive as any in the country from top to bottom. What makes things a bit more challenging for DONU moving forward is that these teams in the west have caught up to us from a recruiting perspective. And if they develop as well as they have in the past, I suspect the competition level increases in the years to come.

So fix those internals
Recruit at the same level as you are now
Develop, develop, develop

Don't do this, it only gets harder for us to keep up.
The B1G West has a really good bowl record as well. It's better than some Husker fans want to believe.
 

NorthwoodHusker

Travel Squad
Here's my issue with this line of thought. We are also really close to only winning one game this year. For 3 years now we have been saying the same thing, clean up special teams, stop with the dumb penalties (drive killers on offense and targeting on defense), stop turning the ball over, etc. 3 years of the same old thing is a trend not an anomaly. At some point you have to say this staff and these players are either incapable or not working smart enough to fix these things. It's easy to say well we just need the ball to bounce this way and we'd win a couple more games but as Hemingway said, "you make your own luck."
Look for number 18 here
 

dwc13

Recruit
Northwestern has a very real ceiling imposed by the university's admissions office, even though Pat Fitzgerald will never admit that is the case. IMO, what Fitz and company have accomplished with that football program is quite remarkable, especially when historical context is provided. Most members on this forum probably didn't really follow the Big Ten before Nebraska joined the conference in 2011. So you get a pass if you don't recall Northwestern went 1-42-1 during 4 consecutive seasons (1978-81), including 34 straight losses. Back then the Wildcats were a mind-numbing, unprecedented display of ineptitude on the football field. Bad K-State was a juggernaut in comparison.

I think there are aspects of Northwestern's program that Nebraska coaches should study and, perhaps, incorporate. For instance, I've been looking at the number of offers by various programs in recent years. Let's just say Northwestern is much more selective than Nebraska in terms of raw numbers of offers. So are most of the other Big Ten programs I have looked at. Most of these programs aren't handing out offers like bottles of water, so (IMO) they're not diluting the value of an offer. I also question whether Nebraska can properly vet 2x (or greater) the number of prospects offered compared with other programs. There's a resource allocation & limitation issue that comes into play. Anyone believe Frost & company are working longer hours or are more efficient at vetting prospects than all of the other coaching staffs in the Big Ten, and thus they can offer more prospects?

2019NebraskaIllinoisIowaMinnesotaNorthwesternPurdueWisconsin
LocationLincoln, NEUrbana, ILIowa City, IAMinneapolis, MNEvanston, ILWest Lafayette, INMadison, WI
ConferenceBig TenBig TenBig TenBig TenBig TenBig TenBig Ten
Recruiting Spend
Overall (Conference)5-7 (3-6)6-7 (4-5)10-3 (6-3)11-2 (7-2)3-9 (1-8)4-8 (3-6)10-4 (7-2)
Final AP RankingUnrankedUnranked1510UnrankedUnranked11
CFP ChampionshipNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
CFP SemifinalNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Conference ChampionshipNoNoNoNoNoNoLost to OSU
Conference/Division FinishT5th4th3rdT1st7thT5thT1st
Head Coach (season)Scott Frost (2)Lovie Smith (4)Kirk Ferentz (21)P. J. Fleck (3)Pat Fitzgerald (10)Jeff Brohm (3)Paul Chryst (5)
Date Hired12/2/20173/7/201612/2/19981/6/20177/7/200612/5/201612/17/2014
Offers (247sports)423200138305104290157
Enrollees or Signed LOI (247sports)27162121192519
National Rank (247sports)17534145512529
Conference Rank (247sports)4139101256
Average Rating (247sports)0.88500.86220.85940.85790.85990.86630.8786


I understand the true impact of the 2019 class probably will not be understood until a few years later, perhaps this season. Same thing with previous recruiting classes. The point I wanted to make is look at the "Offers" numbers for these Big Ten West programs. Nebraska is making far more offers than other programs. Same thing happened for 2020 and appears to be the case for 2021. Why is that? Could a more focused approach resulting in fewer offers ultimately result in a "better" class? Time will tell. Perhaps making so many offers is taking away time from other parts of the program that need attention, such as player development. Recruiting is the lifeblood of all college football programs, but there has to be prioritization and balance with other aspects.
 

NUinID

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
Northwestern won our division and played Ohio State close (for much of the game). Purdue beat Iowa. Wisconsin had a disappointing season record wise. Our Division is pretty well the equivalent of the old Big Twelve North.

And I keep coming back to a very simple question. Do we wish we were Northwestern from this year? I don't. They wont our division but do any of us see them as a championship level team? Not from what I saw. And they are just like all the rest of our division. Solid. Didn't make the dumb mistakes. And could never break through.

We have been so focused on the internals in the last few days for good reason. But the more B1G in 60 that I watch of West teams, the more I realize how average the teams who have won big have been. And we are soooo close. So I am interested in others' opinions.

Was Northwestern Great in 2020? Is that what we would like to be?

No, Northwestern was not a great football team, but they were a very good football team.

They went 7-2 with losses to MSU and OSU in the Championship Game. The loss to MSU was a head scratcher. I watched the game they had like 4 TO in the game. Then beat a decent Auburn team fairly soundly in the bowl game.

Are they going to win a NC with the talent they have, no, but they are always going to be a tough out for any team. The simple reason being that they play very solid team defense. We will see if that continues without their DC. They lose a ton on defense next year so I don't think they will be as good. There starting LB corp was probably the best in the B1G and I think they will all be gone.
 

NUinID

Junior Varsity
5 Year Member
But one thing I'd like to point out. Even though most people here think the west is "average," the overall conference in general is as competitive as any in the country from top to bottom. What makes things a bit more challenging for DONU moving forward is that these teams in the west have caught up to us from a recruiting perspective. And if they develop as well as they have in the past, I suspect the competition level increases in the years to come.

I guess I am not sure what "average" looks like if the B1G west is average. I think it is a very solid division right now. The B1G as a whole has 1 elite team unfortunately, but has a lot of good teams.
 
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