The Nebraska Cornhuskers watched another chapter in their history end in disgrace. The Cornhuskers are still trying to find the recipe for success after beloved coach Tom Osborne retired in 1998. Nebraska had a few brief years of success following his departure – owing to the successes of his recruiting classes – but ever since the program has had to rely solely on the recruiting efforts of Osborne’s successors, the Huskers have dramatically declined. Change is brewing, and this season is therefore going to be one of the more interesting Nebraska seasons in recent memory.
Nebraska 2018 regular season win total
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
The run of head coach Mike Riley ended without a bowl game. The Huskers crumbled in a 4-8 season. They could not get anything going. The Huskers allowed at least 54 points in four games, at least 36 points in seven games. The offense was not consistent, but it was asked to do way too much to begin with. Nebraska beat three of the worse teams in the Big Ten – Purdue, Illinois and Rutgers – for its three Big Ten wins. It beat Arkansas State for its other win. The team played Northwestern close but was generally routed in most of its Big Ten losses. There was simply no credible reason to keep Riley on board despite his pleasant demeanor, good recruiting track record, and positive attitude. Wins are what make things right in Nebraska, so the program had to make an abrupt change.
What Will Change This Year
Freshman Adrian Martinez has the inside track to be the opening day starter at quarterback, but Tristan Gebbia will push him in August camp. A quarterback battle would receive a lot of attention at a high-profile program in any season, but especially this year, because there is a new boss in Lincoln.
Scott Frost, who won Nebraska’s last national title in 1997 and is a beloved figure in and around the university, has returned to his alma mater to coach it and lead a revival. Frost is coming off an incredibly successful year at UCF, a 13-0 season in which his team won the AAC championship and then beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl. Under Frost, the Knights were the only FBS team to finish unbeaten. National champion Alabama lost to Auburn. Frost soared to the top of the charts among desirable college football coaches. Nebraska knew what it wanted and decided it was not too early to hire Frost, a young coach who has landed at his dream job before taking other high-profile jobs as stepping stones. There is a bit of a risk in hiring Frost this quickly, but after his amazing work with UCF, the Huskers felt – quite reasonably – that the time was right. It is up to Frost to turn around a slumbering program.
Outlook & Prediction
The Huskers have one of the most difficult schedules in the country. Their non-conference games include Colorado and Troy – neither team is a pushover. Troy won at LSU last season, if you recall. In the Big Ten, Nebraska plays three teams outside its own division. Those three teams, from the Big Ten East (Nebraska is in the West) are Michigan State, Michigan, and Ohio State. Nebraska should lose all three games. The Huskers will have to beat the bad teams in the Big Ten West – Purdue, Illinois, Minnesota – to have any chance of eclipsing their win total. They will likely need to either sweep the Colorado and Troy games or (if they split them) beat Iowa to get to six wins. Chances are they won’t. Take the under.
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