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BIG TEN PREVIEW: NEBRASKA

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BO PELINI THINKS THIS ARTICLE IS SUPER WEIRD

Bo Pellini working on the bend-and-snap.
Bo Pellini working on the bend-and-snap.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

I don't know anything about anything. Neither do you. Thus, I am the perfect person to predict the Big Ten. Though I guess you could too.

LAST SEASON:

Nebraskaing (adv.): when a team, usually the Nebraska Cornhuskers, manages to have an up-and-down season and still finish either 10-3 or 9-4. Like if you managed to get hit by a bus and win the lottery on the same day, but still made it home and had a relatively uneventful night where you watched an old episode of "Quantum Leap" and had leftovers for dinner.

In 2013, Nebraska Nebraska'd, and they Nebraska'd hard. Lost to UCLA at home after being up 21-3, won at Penn State. Lost by 21 at home to Iowa, beat Georgia in the Gator Bowl. Coach Bo "I actually don't give any fucks" Pelini nearly got fired, and yet Nebraska still finished 9-4, because of course they did.  Nebraska could beat Florida State in Tallahassee and lose at home to a Sly and the Family Stone tribute band and still finish 9-4.

WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT NEBRASKA IN 2013:

Nebraska football is storied, with multiple national championships but also that one time when they lost to Kansas by 37 because 2007 was fucking weird, dudes. But since Bo Pelini took the helm, Nebraska has been storied for something else: creepy consistency. Since 2008, Nebraska has gone 9-4,10-4,10-4, 9-4,10-4, and 9-4.

Despite an apparent allergy to holding onto the ball and losing Taylor Martinez to injury (surprisingly, not a horrific case of Tyrannosaurus Rex Arm-itis), Nebraska Nebraska'd in 2013. At this point, I kind of want to introduce numerous doomsday scenarios into Nebraska's season just to see if they would still finish 10-3 or 9-4. Don't lie, you've had the thought, "If Lincoln, NE were beset by a plague of locusts, would Ameer Abdullah still hold up for another 1,600-yard season?"

SEASON PREVIEW BASED ON WILD CONJECTURE AND COMPARING NEBRASKA TO  'STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION':

"Star Trek: The Next Generation" is the show you have either never seen or have watched every episode and have many thoughts on which you share on any number of internet forums under the handle LtW0rfLover. I have watched a great deal of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" for two reasons: it is all on Netflix, and there is a lot of it. I am also the kind of person who is down for shows featuring philosophical debates portrayed by characters who look like potatoes.

Nebraska football is the college football equivalent of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." One might think that comparing Nebraska football to the most unitardful television show this side of "Solid Gold" is a stretch, but one might also appreciate the author's creativity and sense of adventure, and one should also recognize that it's kind of early and sometimes one just has ideas and decides to run with them.

Captained by Jean-Luc Picard, the ship's goal was to seek out new worlds and, you know, boldly go where no one had gone before or whatever. This tended to lead to extremely strange things happening, but never really resulting in overarching consequences.* Radiation leak on deck 4? Turns out, everyone's fine. Encounter the alternative timeline half-Romulan daughter of a deceased crew member in a two-part episode? No worries. The Enterprise and its crew were durable, worked well as a team, and only had one completely useless character (Counselor Troi. Sorry, Troi.) They always managed to make it through, unitard intact.

Captained by Bo Pelini, Nebraska goal is to win a Big Ten title and, you know, not flail uselessly. This tends to result in strange things happening, like beating Wisconsin and losing to Wisconsin by six touchdowns in the same season, but somehow Nebraska manages to consistently land on its feet. With Tommy Armstrong as the projected starter, Kenny Bell and Ameer Abdullah returning, and a relatively tolerable schedule (toughest games: at MSU, at Wisconsin, at Iowa), there's no reason why Nebraska won't be competitive for the division title. They always manage to make it through, the last few remnants of Bo Pelini's sanity intact.

In 2014, somehow, someway, Nebraska will manage to claw itself into the known universe and finish 10-4 with bizarre wins over Michigan State and Iowa and at least one nonsensical loss (looking at you, Purdue.) The sun will rise, the sun will set, Jean-Luc Picard will point his fingers forward and say, "engage," and Nebraska will Nebraska.

* With some exceptions. See: the time Picard became part of the Borg, Tasha Yar's death, every single episode involving Q.