Why Nebraska is a dead program, and probably will still be under Scott Frost

81usaf92

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Since this is a subject that comes up a lot, and I lived in Nebraska recently I thought I would give my insight on it.

I know a lot here think Nebraska will rise again, and the missing ingredient was to hire the right coach. I can agree partially on that assessment, but not fully. I believe it would take a coach with staying power from day 1 at the caliber of Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Bob Stoops who would earn patience the moment they sign on the dotted line, but it would still be a long, long, long process. I just don't believe Scott Frost is 1. Here are some things that I think will prevent Scott Frost from winning at Nebraska. I tend to like this excerpt:

That’s also why seeing the job open up on Sunday became so damn fascinating.
That’s because, to a certain faction of college football fans (not just Nebraska fans, but college football fans overall), they still view Nebraska through that championship-winning prism. They also think that with the right hire, the Cornhuskers can get themselves back amongst the elite programs nationally, and compete for titles annually as well.
To the rest of us, well, it’s not nearly as simple. To our faction, even if Nebraska hires the perfect coach, and everything breaks their way, I’m still not sure they’ll ever win a National Championship again. The sport of college football has changed too much, and unfortunately, in its evolution, I can’t think of one school that’s come up a bigger loser than Nebraska.
1) Recruiting: This is harped on a lot and it has been proven true all too often.

a- The State of Nebraska- This isn't new but I don't think many realize how bad it is. 85% of the state lives in a 45 minute radius of each other. Lets look at the past state champs from 2010-17 Ill mark all non in the 45 minutes participants in bold:

NSAA FOOTBALL PLAYOFF CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
CLASS A
2017- Omaha North (12-1) 27 , Kearney (12-1) 20
2016-Bellevue West (13-0) 43, Omaha North (12-1) 6
2015-Millard North (11-2) 21, Millard West (12-1) 14
2014-Omaha North (13-0) 41, Creighton Preparatory (11-2) 0
2013-Omaha North (12-1) 23, Omaha Westside (11-2) 21
2012-Millard North (13-0) 17, Omaha North (10-3) 14
2011-Lincoln Southeast (12-1) 21, Omaha Burke (12-1) 9
2010-Millard North (11-2) 28, Millard South (11-2) 20

Class B

2017- York (13-1) 31, Omaha Skutt Catholic (11-3) 0
2016-Elkhorn South (13-0) 34, Omaha Skutt Catholic (10-3) 32
2015-Elkhorn South (13-0) 32, Aurora (12-1) 21
2014-Omaha Skutt Catholic (11-2) 40, Elkhorn (10-3) 10
2013-Omaha Skutt Catholic (12-1) 30, York (11-2) 0
2012-Omaha Gross Catholic (12-1) 14, Norris (10-3) 7
2011-Elkhorn (12-1) 26, Crete (12-1) 17
2010-Crete (13-0) 34, Elkhorn (10-3) 0

C1
2017- Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 35, Boone Central/Newman Grove Football (10-3) 0
2016-O’Neill (13-0) 39, Bishop Neumann (11-2) 22
2015-Columbus Scotus (12-1) 32, Norfolk Catholic (12-1) 27
2014-Boone Central/Newman Grove (13-0) 54, Ashland-Greenwood (12-1) 14
2013-Cozad (13-0) 47, Ashland-Greenwood (11-2) 21
2012-Norfolk Catholic (12-1) 24, Boone Central/Newman Grove (11-2) 13
2011-Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 20, Platteview (11-2) 6
2010-Norfolk Catholic (13-0) 28, Pierce (11-2)

C2
2017-Yutan (10-3) 27, Centennial (12-1) 6
2016-Wilber-Clatonia (13-0) 20, Crofton (10-3) 0
2015-Aquinas Catholic (12-1) 36, Oakland-Craig (11-2) 7
2014-Aquinas Catholic (12-1) 40, Hartington Cedar Catholic (10-3) 6
2013-Doniphan-Trumbull (13-0) 32, Aquinas Catholic (10-3) 13
2012-Aquinas Catholic (13-0) 35, Sutton (12-1) 20
2011-Aquinas Catholic (13-0) 27, Kearney Catholic (11-2) 13
2010-Hastings St. Cecilia (13-0) 17, Archbishop Bergan (12-1) 14
That's 32 games. 59% are East teams matched up together within a 45 minute radius. Only 1/3 of the games have a west representative. Most west and center Nebraska highschools participate in 8 and 6 men football leagues. This shows where the population is, and why the 93 county free athletic scholarship policy that Tom Osbourne enjoyed was a huge advantage that let him win in the 80's and 90's, but he wouldn't win today.

Here is a recruiting excerpt describing the top 5 recruits in Nebraska that still holds true today:

Let’s start with the obvious and say that for Nebraska, their biggest hurdle is access to recruits (I know, really groundbreaking stuff, huh?). Recruits are the lifeblood of the sport, and the more access you have to more good players, the easier your life is overall. It’s why Texas, LSU, Georgia, USC, Florida and Ohio State are largely considered to be the best jobs in the sport. Because of the high school players in the area, pretty much any coach can win nine games just by falling out of bed at those places (except Will Muschamp). A really good coach can have them competing for titles.
As for Nebraska, well, not so much.
I don’t think I’m breaking any news by saying that the high school football in the state isn’t, umm, elite. Some quick research tells me that a grand total of five Nebraska high school players signed with FBS schools in 2013. This year, Rivals has three players, listed as three, four or five stars. Yikes.
Any coach could recruit the 25 from Mobile, Birmingham, Auburn (High schools), or Huntsville and pound the top 25 Nebraska recruits statewide without breaking so much as a sweat. Yes You Need Nebraska players to win at Nebraska to build established depth, but you cant win with Nebraska recruits.

B- Going to the BIG 10 was the worst thing for recruiting- I was in contact with many in the know, boosters, and folks inside the program through dates, friends, and other things. One thing they all told be is when it was becoming a reality that Nebraska was heading to the BIG 10 was Pelini was flipping out. They said Pelini was making calls to Missouri, Oklahoma, Colorado, and aTm in an attempt to try to go to the SEC or Pac 10 as a joint deal. He feared what eventually came to fruition in that Nebraska was going to lose their label of being an alternate destination for recruits from Oklahoma, Missouri, and Texas, and that the Huskers faithful would be expected them to roll the BIG West and be in direct competition with tOSU and Michigan every year. The problem is that recruits in Oklahoma, Texas, and Missouri that don't go to their state universities, and don't want to play for their direct rivals want to play close to and have games in their home states. Missouri to the SEC and Colorado to the PAC 12 sealed Nebraska's fate because it severed 4 pipeline states and forced Nebraska to be in direct competition with Iowa. It also made both of those schools better destinations for mid tier recruits because playing USC, UCLA, UGA, and UF every year has more exposure than playing Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin every year. basically you are selling an one horse town with a college in it with a 45 minute trip Omaha to national recuits.

2) Infrastructure- This has three parts

A) the fan part- The amount of access the average fan in Omaha and Lincoln have to the program is ridiculous. I have heard and seen times of folks going into facilities and coach's offices just because their cousin knows a guy. Here at Alabama everything is lock and key, we only see things Nick Saban wants or allows us to see. Frost is going to have to change the culture of Nebraska to have a chance at Nebraska. They also believe they are still capable of being the team they were in the 90's in the BIG 10 W. If Rielly and Pelini couldn't do it then I fear Frost wont do much better

B) the cultural part: Pelini, from what Ive been told, said that he believed that he could run wild in the BIG 10 side that he was on for two or three years with his MO and TX recruits, but once they dry up then he would have a tough time adjusting Nebraska to the style of football that Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa has been playing for years. He believed while he would've taken his lumps in the SEC and PAC 10, he believed that fans would temper their expectations, and allow time to adjust with some of the same and some new valuable recruiting pipelines. Even if he didn't say it, it makes perfect sense given that we are talking about 2010-2014 at the height of SEC dominance.



C) geographic infrastructure- While many are quick to say Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa are recruit poor and not elite programs, they are far better than Nebraska and have better numbers to pull from within state to produce depth.

Top 5 municipalities in those states

1Omaha446,970408,958+9.29%Douglas
7000200000000000000♠2Lincoln280,364258,379+8.51%Lancaster
7000300000000000000♠3Bellevue53,50550,137+6.72%Sarpy
7000400000000000000♠4Grand Island51,51748,520+6.18%Hall
7000500000000000000♠5Kearney33,52030,787

Keep in mind Bellevue is a military population so there is a constant revolving door

Wisconsin
RankMunicipalityPopulation
(2010 Census)
Population
(2000 Census)
TypeCounty
1Milwaukee594,833596,974CityMilwaukee
2Madison233,209208,054CityDane
3Green Bay104,057102,313CityBrown
4Kenosha99,21890,352CityKenosha
5Racine78,86081,855CityRacine

You would have to go to #12 to have less than Nebraska's #3

Iowa

City2017 city population[SUP][81][/SUP]2010 city population[SUP][82][/SUP]ChangeMetropolitan Statistical Area2016 metro population2010 metro population2016 metro change
1Des Moines217,521203,433+6.93%Des Moines–West Des Moines634,725569,633+11.43%
2Cedar Rapids132,228126,326+4.67%Cedar Rapids267,799257,940+3.82%
3Davenport102,32099,685+2.64%Quad Cities386,630379,090+1.99%
4Sioux City82,51482,6843000794397948817180♠−0.21%Sioux City168,806168,563+0.14%
5Iowa City75,79867,862+11.69%Iowa City

Again you would have to go to #12

Minnesota
Minnesota Cities by Population RankCityPopulation
1Minneapolis 422,331
2St. Paul 306,621
3Rochester 115,733
4Duluth 86,066
5Bloomington 85,866
You would have to go to #18 to have less than Nebraska's #3

Just for fun Alabama

Birmingham city 212,237
Montgomery city 205,764
Mobile city 195,111
Huntsville city 180,105
Tuscaloosa city 90,468

You would have to go to #9 to tie with Auburn

Point is these schools have a lot of instate recruits to pull from compared to Nebraska. Also consider you have to sell Lincoln to recruits which is basically a small town with a college over Madison ( The party capital in USA), Milwaukee (and Chicago for that matter), Green Bay, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Iowa City, and D- Buek.


3) Conclusion

I think Frost is fighting a crazy uphill battle in a very delusional environment. Unless he just totally knocks it out of the park in national recruiting then I think he is DOA. This year I project 3-9 (assuming he beats troy) at best 5-7 (beating Troy, Minnie, and Colorado). Looking 4 years in advance I honestly don't see a winning season because he is drawing 2 of Michigan, MSU, PSU, and tOSU the next 4 years added with Oklahoma in 2021 and 22.

Here are some good articles. Sorry for the Selma length of post.

https://www.outkickthecoverage.com/nebraska-is-no-longer-an-elite-job-120114/
https://athlonsports.com/college-fo...st-its-sense-entitlement-and-thats-good-thing
 
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saturdaysarebet

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Nebraska under Osborne used to recruit New Jersey surprisingly well, but I think leaving the Big 12 hurt Nebraska's recruiting in Texas. I expect Frost to improve Nebraska's record and the teams in the Big 10 west you don't see mentioned in the upper echelon of recruiting: Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern. If Nebraska can recruit to levels close to that they'll be competitive in the Big 10 west every year.
 

tusks_n_raider

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They've made so many mistakes...

They never should have fired Frank Solich for Bill Callihan including tearing apart their trademark smashmouth Option running attack for the West Coast Offense. That's not Nebraska football at all..

Pelini did get them back to respectable 10-Win season albeit usually with 3-4 losses as well. But he was a loose cannon if there ever was one.

But what has killed them more than anything is leaving the Big12 for the Big10. They don't fit in at all there.

It has almost certainly hurt recruiting to not play in the Southwest and compete with Texas, Oklahoma, OSU, Colorado and Texas A&M.

Their last great team was in 2001 and while they had a lot of in state talent on that team they also had several guys from Texas and Oklahoma..... along with guys from California, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, New York and even New Jersey. They were at that time still recruiting at a high level Nationally.

They are completely lost now and Frost has a huge uphill battle but you never know. There have been many schools wander into the wilderness for a while and it just took the right Coach to resurrect them.
 

B1GTide

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While I agree with the consensus that Nebraska had placed themselves in an impossible situation, some self-inflicted and some just a matter of geography, I am still excited to see what Frost can do out there.
 

81usaf92

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Nebraska under Osborne used to recruit New Jersey surprisingly well, but I think leaving the Big 12 hurt Nebraska's recruiting in Texas. I expect Frost to improve Nebraska's record and the teams in the Big 10 west you don't see mentioned in the upper echelon of recruiting: Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern. If Nebraska can recruit to levels close to that they'll be competitive in the Big 10 west every year.
A lot of Osborne’s NJ recruiting is mostly due the 93 extra scholarships Nebraska got. He basically could use the NCAA allotted scholarships for national recruits and any number of those 93 for instate. It’s not uncommon to hear of a 90’s Nebraska football player being signed under a baseball scholarship but never see the field. Also consider Nebraska had superior facilities and national exposure than 90% of the country back then. Now they are middle of the pack at best.

The problem is that the 3 Big 10 West schools I mentioned are getting a better variety of lesser talent that fits their system better than Nebraska is mostly because there are far more to choose from population wise. While they don’t register on rivals or any other scale as good recruits they still fit better in those systems. Nebraska has to convince a lot of far away recruits to come to Lincoln and play in a division that lacks exposure. UCF and Ole Miss are better jobs with better recruiting capabilities than Nebraska.
 

Krymsonman

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Great post and I can't believe the incredible detail. I enjoyed reading this because my sister currently lives in Lincoln and is married to a lifelong Nebraska fan. (my sister is BAMA all the way). Needless to say, my brother-in-law has not been a happy camper the last several years, and from the sound of this, it won't get better any time soon. Krymsonman
 

BamaMoon

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To a large extent it's just about sheer population and culture.

The population of the states in the middle of the country including ND, SD, Neb. and Kansas only equal about 6.4 million people. That's just barely more than the whole state of Missouri.

Throw in Montana and Wyoming as two of the smallest state populations and it's starts adding up.

It might not have been remarkable different in the Neb. heyday, but the other main factor is "culture."

Perhaps the SEC girl explains it best, "It just matters more here."
 

81usaf92

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They've made so many mistakes...
.
Quiet a few lets start with the obvious one.... Joining the Big XII. Lets say they say no in after 95, and took Mizzou and colorado with them to the big 10.

Here is what you would have

BIG 10 W

Nebraska
illi
iowa
mizzou
min
wisc
colorado

BIG E

PSU
tOSU
Mich
MSU
Purdue
Indiana
NW

You would have a Nebraska team that is built to play that style of football, and two pipeline states (CO and MO) to feed off of. So in effect you would have a stable program built to last. Whereas now they are in a position to where they are not fielding the style of play of their division and do not have feeder states to get much needed recruits

They never should have fired Frank Solich for Bill Callihan including tearing apart their trademark smashmouth Option running attack for the West Coast Offense. That's not Nebraska football at all..

Very true, but Osbourne gave Nebraska a false sense of entitlement like we have had here at times in the 80's, 90's, and early 00's. The problem is that Nebraska did not have the recruits instate that we do. Keeping Solich could've helped them survive the rise and sputter of Texas and Oklahoma had they been patient enough to weather the short storm. All firing him did was continue it

Pelini did get them back to respectable 10-Win season albeit usually with 3-4 losses as well. But he was a loose cannon if there ever was one.

.


I think if they stuck with him then you would have a respectable Nebraska today, but it wasn't going to be a great one. Just one good enough to be the sacrificial lamb in Indianapolis every other year. They had no business hiring Reilly if they were going to fire Pelini. Talk was they thought they had Bielema, but weren't wise to his shopping for his position coaches getting raises stunt he pulled constantly at Wisconsin. So they were in LSU's position a few years ago and stuck at the alter

But what has killed them more than anything is leaving the Big12 for the Big10. They don't fit in at all there.

It has almost certainly hurt recruiting to not play in the Southwest and compete with Texas, Oklahoma, OSU, Colorado and Texas A&M.

Their last great team was in 2001 and while they had a lot of in state talent on that team they also had several guys from Texas and Oklahoma..... along with guys from California, Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, New York and even New Jersey. They were at that time still recruiting at a high level Nationally.

They are completely lost now and Frost has a huge uphill battle but you never know. There have been many schools wander into the wilderness for a while and it just took the right Coach to resurrect them.


Yes. This is the biggest problem they face at the present, but I don't know if Husker fans are patient enough to weather thru a few 4-6 win seasons these next 5 years to see him succeed. They have ridiculously hard schedules coming up. Especially now that tOSU has become their cross division permanent rival
 

CoolBreeze

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Nice post and good topic. It is all about recruiting. That is what Nick told Mal. That is what Kirby is harnessing in Athens. If Frost can get a recruiting staff that can coach football then he has a shot. And for all of those 4 and 5 star players floating around there are certainly some Ameer Abdullahs around the country if you can evaluate talent well enough.
 

PA Tide Fan

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It seems Nebraska joining the B1G turned out to be a mistake for them. They lost a big rivalry game (Oklahoma) and cannot compete with other B1G teams in recruiting. I think it will extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to become an elite football program again.
 

81usaf92

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I think it will extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to become an elite football program again.
It would probably require Missouri or Colorado to join a conference with them. I think Colorado is more likely than Mizzou because of the animosity that still persists between Mizzou and Nebraska for Nebraska stabbing them in the back, but I doubt Mizzou would do it on the SEC pay alone. But if that doesn't happen then their only chance of becoming elite is going and bending the knee to the burnt cow again. I just don't see if either of those scenarios don't play out, then I don't see them being elite ever again.

I can see them playing for a national championship with a once in a lifetime team sometime in the next couple of decades, winning the BIG 10, going to the Rose Bowl, and having a couple of successful seasons. But they need to figure out how to recruit very well, then figure out the BIG 10 W culture, stop thinking the 90's way still works, and stop thinking they are tOSU before any of that happens. I think they need to give Frost 8 years before showing him the door in order to re-establish a brand and identity, but will they after a couple losing seasons??? History shows no, but there is a chance...
 

Redwood Forrest

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I think Nebraska can rise quickly to championship caliber -- Big 10 West champion that is. It should not take too much to best Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Getting to beat the B1G East though, will be a huge chore. As you pointed out, that will be close to impossible.
 

81usaf92

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I think Nebraska can rise quickly to championship caliber -- Big 10 West champion that is. It should not take too much to best Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin. Getting to beat the B1G East though, will be a huge chore. As you pointed out, that will be close to impossible.
The problem is that Nebraska already before any season has an automatic loss. tOSU is their permanent rival from the East. Iowa draws PSU, Wisconsin draws Michigan, and Minnesota draws Maryland. If you look the next 4 years Nebraska draws the big 4 more times than the others as a 3 set (PSU, tOSU, Michigan, MSU). They could go 6-0 in the West but still pick up 3 losses due to the eastern opponents and be left out of Indy due to schedules. I don't think he wins the west in his next 4 years.
 

B1GTide

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The problem is that Nebraska already before any season has an automatic loss. tOSU is their permanent rival from the East. Iowa draws PSU, Wisconsin draws Michigan, and Minnesota draws Maryland. If you look the next 4 years Nebraska draws the big 4 more times than the others as a 3 set (PSU, tOSU, Michigan, MSU). They could go 6-0 in the West but still pick up 3 losses due to the eastern opponents and be left out of Indy due to schedules. I don't think he wins the west in his next 4 years.
He is going to need Wisconsin to come back to the pack a bit (the B1Gw pack).
 

Redwood Forrest

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The problem is that Nebraska already before any season has an automatic loss. tOSU is their permanent rival from the East. Iowa draws PSU, Wisconsin draws Michigan, and Minnesota draws Maryland. If you look the next 4 years Nebraska draws the big 4 more times than the others as a 3 set (PSU, tOSU, Michigan, MSU). They could go 6-0 in the West but still pick up 3 losses due to the eastern opponents and be left out of Indy due to schedules. I don't think he wins the west in his next 4 years.
I hadn't considered the permanent rival aspect. I guess Frost will have really up the ante.
 

PA Tide Fan

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I can't rule out the possibility that Nebraska could put together a fluke season, something like what Notre Dame did in 2012 before falling back into mediocrity again. I just can never see Nebraska being mentioned in the same breath year after year with teams like Bama, Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia, or Oklahoma. Teams that are in the thick of championship discussion year after year are what I meant by "elite" programs in an earlier post.
 

selmaborntidefan

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81 has covered the MAJOR problem quite well, and just that one major problem would really cause them some issues. But there's an even bigger problem that isn't going to go over very well with the Big Red fanbase - Nebraska not only benefited from quirks in the recruiting, they also benefited from mostly:
a) not playing anyone worth a damn
b) playing in the Big 8
c) winning their titles in the pre-BCS era, where 1 vs 2 didn't usually happen.

I'm not saying Nebraska didn't have some talented teams or even maybe two of the best of all-time in 1971 and 1995. But even much of their reputation as a national power is based on hype as opposed to actual results (in the pre-1994 time frame).

Osborne took over a 9-2-1 program that had housed the first convicted felon to ever win a Heisman, Johnny Rodgers (who apparently didn't know when to hold them or when to fold them). Now given we're talking about the 11-game season era, how many OTHER Big 8 teams won AT LEAST eight games per year (8 of 11) during Osborne's tenure? In other words, pretty good to good teams?

1973 - OU
1974 - OU
1975 - OU and Mizzou
1976 - OU, Colorado, Iowa St, Okie St
1977 - OU and Iowa St
1978 - OU and Mizzou and Iowa St
1979 - OU
1980 - OU and Mizzou
1981 - Kansas
1982 - OU (only 2 teams with a winning record in the Big 8)
1983 - OU, Okie St
1984 - OU, Okie St
1985 - OU, Okie St
1986 - OU
1987 - OU, Okie St
1988 - OU, Okie St, Colorado
1989 - Colorado
1990 - CU, OU
1991 - CU, OU
1992 - CU, Kansas
1993 - Colorado, K-State, OU
1994 - Colorado, K-State
1995 - Colorado, KU, K-State


Note that the Big 8 simply didn't have many competitive teams in it most years. There's a reason they were called the Big Two and the Little Six. In conference schedules are ZERO SUM games (e.g. every win for Nebraska equals a loss elsewhere, etc)....but these teams couldn't beat anyone either in OR out of conference most years.

During that time frame, how many WINNING SEASONS (6 wins, not 8) did the other programs not named Oklahoma or Nebraska have? Remember, this covers 23 years:
Kansas - 8 (compared with 12 seasons of 4 or less)
K State - 4 (15 seasons of 4 or less, including two winless and four one-win seasons)
Iowa St - 5
Okie St - 9 (and they got put on probation for the six in a row they had in the 1980s)
Colorado - 15 (coinciding with Bill McCartney being given enough time to put an infrastructure in place and compete with UN)
Missouri - 9

5 of the 8 teams lost over half their games well over half the time. THAT'S an additional Nebraska benefit, folks.

Osborne couldn't win a national title until the voters gave him one in 1994 - a year he conveniently didn't have top play Penn State, who had moved to the Big Ten a few years earlier. Maybe he had the best team in 1994, I don't know. We think they were better than they were because everyone raves about how great the 1995 team was......an assessment based on ONE blowout win over Florida. Yes, they beat three ten-win teams in the Big Eight that year, but this was not the 2015 Alabama schedule, either. They were unquestionably a great team and champs - but greatest of all-time? I heard that before they took the field with Miami in 1983, too. Offense impresses too much.

The fall of Nebraska coincided not only with joining the Big 12, but the fact Kansas St improved (beating Nebraska in 98) followed by Iowa St (beat them in 2002). The gap closed in recruiting, the advantage of the additional schollies closed, the strength of the teams in conference closed, and ultimately, Balfour closed their ring business for Nebraska national title ring requests.
 

81usaf92

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Didn’t the 97 team have one of those bogus games against Mizzou in something weird happened that helped them to win. I know Missouri fans always get red when you mention the 97 saying they paid the refs.

I just know Nebraska fans rarely talk about the 94 team, but will get in your face about the 95 and 97 ones.

95: because they try to make it empirical fact that team was the GOAT

97: because they think Michigan had no business sharing it with them after they wrecked Manning.
 
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