@BojiHusker: I thought Iowa would score about 17 points I really did. It was not an explosive offense all year against any team of matter. Even against Michigan, it was hard work for Iowa's O. The three breakdowns on defense were perplexing because it was really basic stuff. The first long TD should have been a 5-yard run. Josh Banderas took the blame for it. The second long TD should have been a 15 yard catch. The next long run -- I think two or three guys overran that one. Why did it happen? No good answer from this layman? Excusable? Not really. Iowa looked like a team that really wanted that game. Nebraska looked like a team that was just there. I don't think the Huskers quit. But I do think it exposed the work still ahead in the trenches. Everyone should have just as much focus on that O-line situation as the QB situation the next year, but of course, that probably won't happen.
@Aaron: It is the most important thing. The skilled position recruits are great. You need them. You need Mcquittys and Keyshawns and Jamire Calvins. But as Friday showed, it doesn't matter if you've got the other team licked on the outside if you can't hold on up front. Up front is where teams get their will sucked away if they're not up for it. If you think about this full season, what Iowa's O-line did to Nebraska is not something we saw Nebraska really do at all to anyone else all year. I mean, there were some good fourth quarters put together. I don't diminish that. But is there a game NU played where you think an opponent would come out after and publicly say they just got manhandled? Probably not.
@CDS: I think people can have a mixed opinion of realizing 9-3 is a record many of them would have taken before this season, while also being extremely disappointed that the Huskers lost a game by 59 and another by 30 this year. I think it just left people ... confused. I really think this fan base was fully ready for this team to go to Iowa City, pull off a gutty win and fully put their arms around this season. Even a hard-fought loss, people wouldn't have liked, but understood. But the way it went down is going to have people grumpy. Yes, you're right a lot of recruiting work is still necessary. I'd also say Nebraska wasn't lacking the guys to go to Iowa City and make that a much better fight than it was.
@Justin: I won't give you a P.C. response. I'll give you a response you might not like because I think Danny Langsdorf is/can be a pretty good playcaller. And I know the numbers are down this year. Down a ways. They're not good, frankly. And ... it did feel like in both blowouts there was complete lack of faith to do much other than wing it deep and pray. Riley called it falling into a trap: Chasing a lead. Seeing one-on-one coverage. Thinking the next time you're going to hit on that. It seemed the definition of insanity by the end. But I want to see what Langsdorf and Riley do next year with a QB they've hand-picked. I'm not in that camp that just assumes it's going to be better, but I think you're going to at least see a Langsdorf/Riley offense closer to how they want it. And then we shall judge accordingly.
@danp: You're fair to have lack of trust in the D in big games, because it's fallen way short too many times in the ones everyone is watching. Allowed way too many explosions. As for the record, I'm not going to bash this team for the schedule that was put in front of it. One positive step it took this year is it won ALL the games people thought it was supposed, which is not near as easy as it sounds in college football anymore. You can even ask Top 5 teams like Clemson or Pitt about that. Last year's 6-7 team was probably better than it's record and this year's 9-3 team probably stretched the most out of it's record, though. I'd go with that.
@BojiHusker: I think we have those in Lincoln too.
@Justin: I cover the program without a red shirt in my closet. I'm not here to put anyone on a couch and tell them to keep the faith or not keep the faith. I guess if you're a fan looking for encouragement, I'd suggest asking yourself if you had just been told on Aug. 31 that Nebraska would go 9-3 in the regular season, how would you have reacted? Now, I know what happened inside those games, as do you. But the record does matter. It shouldn't just be thrown in a waste basket because people are ticked this week. If this team gets itself together, and plays well in a bowl game (Riley's teams generally do well in bowl games), that's a 10-win season and a Top 20 ranking. That's a step forward for a program ... while also having clear evidence there are certain parts that need to get a lot better or you shouldn't expect more of those records against tougher schedules ahead.
@Scorch: I don't dismiss anything at this point, except this: Bama will get in even if it loses, which it won't. Ohio State is already in, too, I'd wager my house. If Clemson and Washington lose? There's going to be a Penn State/Wisconsin winner or Michigan argument that will be completely fascinating. (But I don't think they'd have the guts to put two Big Ten teams that didn't win the conference title in the playoff.). I could still see Oklahoma sneaking in with your scenario, or even Colorado. I just don't think. Where it gets tricky is Michigan has bragging rights over CU, PSU and Wiscy. I'll say 2 B1G teams get in and Michigan gets left out on the doorstep, even though I sort of think the Wolverine defense is the best chance for someone to beat Alabama.
@huskerfan10: He's a very, very good player. As is Jaylin Bradley. I don't want to get all into it, because these are just kids, but both still have some business to handle off the field. Trust me, this staff is very aware of both.
@Steve: As I wrote this weekend, the next quarterback is always popular until he's *the* quarterback. That was Tommy once, too. But I do think they are really optimistic about Lee. Whether you'll see a world of difference in how he reads the field as to how Armstrong did it this year, well, that's the hope, but I'm not going to commit to the hype train about the next starting QB until we see some of the goods in the games. That's my pledge. Hold me to it.
@Regg: No idea. Don't think anyone has a good idea. I'd bet no. Also, I'm not saying Frost wouldn't take a job like that if offered. It's a lot of money and it's Nike U, but I think Frost is quite aware of something that doesn't get brought up enough: Oregon isn't necessarily as easy to recruit to as some people imagine it to be. A good run of QBs, specifically Mariota, helped cover some significant flaws. Vernon Adams did the same last year when he was healthy. Without that guy, that team probably wins about 5 last year.
@Regg: Occasionally, you get rolled. Even a good team has it happen sometimes. But I do think it's alarming how much it's happened to Nebraska. I guess, as I tweeted at the end of the game on Friday, what stands out to me is how the Huskers so often have managed to make scores of games like those as unsightly as possible. I mean, that game was 26-10 heading to the fourth. It was perfectly in reason for Nebraska, even if it didn't win, to have that defeat come off as quite the eyesore. But what happens? A senior runs into a kicker and gives Iowa a first down and eventually four more points. The defense gives up a fourth-and-5 when there was a chance to keep the Hawkeyes off the board late. I could run through seven or eight games in recent memory where NU seemed to do everything possibly wrong to turn the thing into an embarrassing score on the ticker. Why is that exactly is really hard to answer. Friday, though, was to me about the trenches. The Huskers got bullied. And that's why I think fans are so discouraged about it. To me, Iowa was worse than Ohio State.
@Ike: I think Tavita is definitely an option but would not say he's THE option. I don't know where Riley wants to go. The first question is: Does he want the new guy to have the same role or does he want him to coach something else and spread the special team responsibilities out more amongst everybody? I know he's hopeful a 10th assistant, which is up for a vote, also passes. That would allow him, at some point, to get both a ST coach and someone else to help in whatever area he sees needs it the most. That vote has to pass first, though.
@Trashman: Absolutely the right QB is crucial. I'm not downplaying that. I was just saying that guy better have a solid O-line in front of him, or the skilled guys are just going to get canceled out against good competition. My early take is Tanner Lee is the favorite, based off his experience and the way I hear people talk about him. But I say you roll those footballs out there and let them go to battle. And NU needs both of them to have the goods, because as we saw this year, you have to go to the bullpen at QB sometimes. And if the O-line doesn't take some steps, there will be be a lot more sacks next year because neither of these guys will avoid some that Armstrong did.
@Robin: Cavanaugh did have a rough go with injuries. But most everyone in the country gets a couple guys dinged up front over the course of the season, especially in this conference. I really think you need about 8 guys you feel really good about anymore. I'm not even talking about the rotation discussion. I'm talking about the inevitable injuries that are going to hit you at some point every fall up there. Those guys get their ankles rolled up on every week. I'm sure Gates wasn't close to 100 percent most of this year. But that's why you better have some guys on the bench you feel you can go to.
@casualobserver: I don't know that the idea of wanting to establish the run is something you can ever hold off on any year. I don't care if you have Brady back there. You got to give him something to play off of. Especially in this part of the country, where you're going to be playing games in 38 degree weather with 20 mph winds. NU even got a break with the weather this year, all things considered.
@TO: I'd like to see them add one more RB to the class, but I don't know who that guy is at this point. He still might be there. Maybe he's even just down the road if he gets everything taken care of away from the field.
@JimNE: We know Pelini was fired for more than the record. So there's a big slice of the answer. Trust me, I am not one of those media members who mocked Nebraska when it went 9-4 or 10-4 under Pelini. And this staff has never made light of that accomplishment either. I think you know my take on this: I'm not really all that interested in the comparisons between what Riley is doing and what Pelini did, because I saw that marriage up close and it was done. Both sides were ready to move on. Frankly, they were both ready a year before that. So, it's not as simple as saying, 'Why'd you fire a 9-3 guy for another 9-3 guy?' Also, again, I was never one who thought 9-3 was the worst thing in the world for Husker football back then, and don't now. But you would like to see this staff turn the corner and get away from those meltdowns that followed Pelini. It's something they have to prove they can do. Otherwise, you know how it goes around here. People will want something new at some point down the road, too. That's how it is in college football now. Probably has been that way for a long time, honestly. We were just so used to seeing one guy in place for so long, it seems odd now.
@TO: Sunday, yes. I still think it will be Outback, but if only three B1G teams get within those New Year's 6 spots, it's possible a Wisconsin or Penn State loser could take Nebraska's place there.
@GrandpaJim: I think he contributed as a talent evaluator in recruiting. He did make calls on certain special teams guys. I don't know his full role, but yes, the Huskers could stand to get a more dynamic recruiter taking up a spot.
@JimNE: It's great to be a fan base with high expectations. But there's a lot of them out there with big hopes these days, all elbowing for the same prize. The room is more crowded than ever. It's going to take more than, 'We will not let this fail because we're Nebraska' talk, as good as all that sounds. It's going to take a real vision, which is why, you know, I think you should let a coach you hire carry it out several years to see if he has it or not.
@Robin: I am out of my element making that prediction, but good luck to your Lopers. Volleyball in this state is incredible. Great seeing girls across this state have a lot of good programs that they can set as a goal to reach and play for.
@TO: I wouldn't mind seeing it myself a little. Just a little here and there. I think it's effective when used in limited doses.
@SiliconValleyHusker: I think Michigan is better than both teams (just slightly than Wisconsin). But if the Badgers win, I honestly think it's hard to leave them out when you look at their resume.
OK, everyone. Good chat as always. Until next week. We'll see what bowl and opponent these Huskers draw.