3. Scott Frost, Nebraska
No pressure, but Bob Stoops won a national championship in his second year at Oklahoma. Jim Tressel won a national championship in his second year at Ohio State.
And Scott Frost won a national championship (poke … poke) in his second season at UCF.
No reasonable or rational Nebraska fan is expecting a run to the College Football Playoff, but …
It’s okay for long-suffering Husker fans to dream.
It’s still going to take another season or two for this thing to kick in big-time – Frost still needs to upgrade the overall speed and talent, especially on defense – but the 2019 season should be a whole lot better.
Start with the Huskers to almost certainly be better at winning.
Last year’s team suffered a whole slew of self-inflicted wounds – the penalties, my god, the penalties – but it was also right there in early game after early game.
Of course, winning close battles is part of the gig, but the 2018 Huskers couldn’t quite pull off the Colorado game to kick things off. They stumbled in a winnable game against Troy, and gagged away a massive lead against Northwestern. Again, it’s not quite right to do it this way, but those three games should’ve and could’ve gone the other way. If they did, Nebraska is 7-5. Throw in the close losses to Ohio State and Iowa, and five losses were by five points or fewer.
Again, this year’s team isn’t there yet. Five starters have to be replaced on defense, and more playmakers have to emerge to help out QB Adrian Martinez, but the offense should kick in.
South Alabama, Northern Illinois, at Illinois, Indiana. Start there and expect four wins, hope for victories over teams like Northwestern at home, Purdue and Maryland at home, and dream of something special to happen with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa all having to come to Lincoln, and reversing that 4-8 to 8-4 – at least – is more than possible.