The 2017 season was a rough one for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. They endured a 4-8 campaign, going just 3-6 inside the Big Ten. With six losses in their final seven games, including several blowouts, the Cornhuskers decided to part ways with head coach Mike Riley after three seasons.
Replacing Riley will be Scott Frost, a former Nebraska player. In two years as the starting quarterback for the Cornhuskers, Frost led Nebraska to a 24-2 record, including the 1997 national championship. The Nebraska fanbase could not be more excited to have Frost back in Lincoln, especially after he led Central Florida to an undefeated season in 2017. Of course, Frost understands that there is a lot of work ahead of him to get the Cornhuskers back to their glory days.
Preseason expectations are understandably restrained for Nebraska, who are +25,000 long shots to win a national championship. Obviously, that’s not a wise bet, as it would take a substantial miracle for the Cornhuskers to win a national championship.
However, their expected win total of six should be more realistic. One of Frost’s biggest challenges will be winning with an inexperienced quarterback. It’ll either be redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia or true freshman Adrian Martinez taking snaps for the Cornhuskers this year, possibly both. The rest of the offense will also have to adjust to a spread offense, which could lead to a lot of growing pains.
That being said, the Cornhuskers have a good chance to match or eclipse that win total of six this season. The team is more talented than they were a year ago and should improve over the course of the season as they become more comfortable in Frost’s system. Keep in mind that Frost took over a winless Central Florida team and led them to an undefeated season two years later. He knows how to get the most of his players, and he has a good chance to surpass expectations in his first year back in Nebraska.
|Sep 1||Akron Zips||8:00 PM|
|Sep 8||Colorado Buffaloes||3:30 PM|
|Sep 15||Troy Trojans||12:00 PM|
|Sep 22||@ Michigan Wolverines||12:00 PM|
|Sep 29||Purdue Boilermakers||1:00 PM|
|Oct 6||@ Wisconsin Badgers||1:00 PM|
|Oct 13||@ Northwestern Wildcats||12:00 PM|
|Oct 20||Minnesota Golden Gophers||1:00 PM|
|Nov 3||@ Ohio State Buckeyes||12:00 PM|
|Nov 10||Illinois Fighting Illini||1:00 PM|
|Nov 17||Michigan State Spartans||1:00 PM|
|Nov 23||@ Iowa Hawkeyes||12:00 PM|
The Big Ten schedule makers did Nebraska few favors this season. The Cornhuskers benefit from playing in the much weaker Big Ten West division, but this season they have crossover games against three of the best teams in the East, namely Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State. They also have road games against Wisconsin, Northwestern, and Iowa, who are largely considered to be the best teams in the West division.
Such a schedule will make it more difficult for the Cornhuskers to reach six wins and qualify for a bowl game. A home game the second week of the season against former Big 12 rival Colorado should be a good litmus test for whether the Cornhuskers are ready to keep pace in the Big Ten this season.
Obviously, Nebraska is not a threat to win the Big Ten or reach the College Football Playoff. However, they should be able to finish fourth in the Big Ten West. Six of their seven home games are very winnable. If they can hold serve at home, six wins and a bowl game is a realistic goal. If Frost and company can somehow pull off an upset, going 7-5 is not out of the question.