Friday, December 12th 2014

Did One Play Change the Fortunes of Four (or More) Programs?

Not even six weeks ago, things were looking very different at Nebraska (not to mention Oregon State, Wisconsin, and Pitt).  The Huskers hosted Purdue and were looking to add to a seven-point lead early in the first quarter.  On fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, quarterback Tommy Armstrong fumbled a snap that Abdullah attempted to recover.  Abdullah, a leading Heisman candidate at the time, injured his knee on the play and was not the same player thereafter.  Likewise, NU was not the same team and by season's end they saw their head coach fired for failing to win games that matter most. 

Friday, December 5th 2014

Big Wins in the Mike Riley Era

Nebraska fans spent much of the Bo Pelini era seeking a "signature win".  Here are some of the big wins at Oregon State under Mike Riley: 

An End to the Turnovers

No fan likes seeing their team lose for any reason, but one of the hardest things to watch at Nebraska at Bo Pelini has been the number of games where the Huskers have lost the turnover battle.  If Mike Riley's track record at Oregon State is any indication, those days could be over.  

Thursday, December 4th 2014

The Case for Mike Riley

My initial reaction to the hiring of Mike Riley as Nebraska's head coach was neither enthusiastic nor positive.  Nevertheless, Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst clearly found compelling reasons to consider him an upgrade from Bo Pelini.  Here are is some evidence to support that conclusion. 

Mike Riley Named Next Nebraska Coach

Dear God No!

While I'm hoping to heaven this is somehow all a big mistake, it appears that Oregon State's Mike Riley will be the next head coach at Nebraska.  It was just reported on Omaha's 1620 the Zone. 

Wednesday, December 3rd 2014

The Case for a Coordinator

There have been a number of people who dislike the idea of hiring a top assistant coach over one with head coaching experience.  The logic is that Nebraska shouldn't have to pay someone to learn on the job and presumably that the assistant's inexperience will show.  The fallacy of the argument is that there are numerous counterexamples of great hires that have come from the ranks of assistants.  Even in cases where those assistants didn't pan out, you often wouldn't lay the blame at their inexperience (versus other factors). 

Monday, December 1st 2014

Prop Bet Odds Out on Nebraska’s Next Head Coach

Here were the odds posted at Bovada for prop bets on who would be Nebraska's head coach from most likely to least likely:    
  

Deja Vu All Over Again

In 2003, Nebraska mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Colorado in the season finale and lock up a 9-3 season for Frank Solich.  It was easy to be happy for the coach as it appeared he'd saved his job.  Instead, he was fired soon afterward.  The four years that followed were the worst stretch seen at Nebraska since before the arrival of Bob Devaney in the early 1960's.  On Friday, an inspired comeback appeared to save Bo Pelini's job.  Seemingly no Athletic Director would make the same mistake that Steve Pederson had made, 11 years ago that ultimately led to his dismissal.  Instead, Nebraska saw another coach fired after a 9-3 season. 

Friday, November 28th 2014

Nebraska Posts Another Winning Conference Record With OT Win Over Iowa

Halfway through the third quarter of Nebraska's season finale at Iowa, it appeared fans may have been witnessing the end of the Bo Pelini era at NU.  The Big Red trailed 24-7 and squandered the opportunity to narrow the gap after a short field goal was block and inexplicably not advanced.  But as we've seen before (e.g. vs. Ohio State 2011, vs. Wisconsin 2012), the Huskers mounted a big comeback to give Pelini his seventh straight winning conference season.    

Saturday, November 22nd 2014

Minnesota Beats Nebraska in Lincoln

Minnesota looked to be a tough matchup for Nebraska given that they feature a power running game and that NU has struggled mightily against the run.  Well, 281 rushing yards later and the Golden Gophers found themselves victors by a 28-24 margin. 

Thursday, November 20th 2014

What Now?

While there have been a number of post-mortems offered in the aftermath of Nebraska's embarrassing loss to Wisconsin, there comes a point where you stop looking backward and need to look forward.  Fans may be split on the wisdom of retaining Bo Pelini as the head football coach or moving on and the next two weeks could mean a great deal both in terms of perception and his real job security. 

Friday, November 14th 2014

Five Factors Provide Hope for Nebraska Against Wisconsin

It's often the case that games boil down to a short list of critical factors that determine the outcome.  SBNation's Bill Connelly points to five that are awfully important in determining winners and losers.  They are (in order of importance): explosiveness, efficiency, field position, finishing drives (i.e. red zone), and turnover margin.  Looking at how the Huskers and Badgers have performed in these categories may provide clues to the outcome of the most important game of the season. 

Tuesday, November 4th 2014

The Sweet 16

If you discount all of the 2-loss teams from the playoffs (though it doesn't seem impossible that an SEC team with two losses could sneak in), we're left with 16 teams in the FBS with 1 loss or no losses.  They are (in order of AP ranking) Mississippi State, Florida State, Auburn, Alabama, Oregon, TCU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Kansas State, Baylor, Arizona State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Duke, Marshall, and Colorado State.