A lot is being made of The Nebraska Cornhuskers not appearing on the Sports Illustrated Preseason Top 25. It’s easy to understand the frustration from a fanbase that rem used to be a perennial top ten team. The Huskers were always in the national championship hunt and were looked upon favorably be coaches and writers nation wide.
SI.com’s poll illustrates where Nebraska is as a program. Bo Pelini and The Nebraska Cornhuskers have a lot of work to do. The need to earn everyone’s respect.
Yes, winning nine games a year is a good benchmark. It’s a very respectable statistic. Not many programs or coaches are able to say that they have achieved that level of success. The problem facing Bo Pelini and his Huskers are the blowout losses. Embarrassing loses by teams who’s talent is not that far above Nebraska’s. Five loss teams like Wisconsin in The Big Ten Championship Game certainly don’t help the teams reputation either.
Bo Pelini and The Nebraska Cornhuskers have to earn their way back to that automatic top ten status of the 1980′s and 1990′s. They need to beat lesser teams by large margins. They need to win games that they aren’t supposed to. The Huskers just need to win. That is what separates the Alabama’s and Oregon’s from Nebraska right now.
At the end of the season, you know that Bama and The Ducks will be towards the top of the national polls. They win. They play in conference championships and frequently win them. They play at the highest level each and every week. They are the nations elite programs.
Bo Pelini and The Nebraska Cornhuskers can get there. They just have to show consistency for fourteen games each season. Nebraska does not need to go undefeated, but they have to be damn close to it. They have to find a way to win those tough games, not fall apart when things start to go wrong, They need to finish.
Finish. Look at the past few seasons and the what happened in those monumental losses. In many of them, Nebraska was trading blows with the opposition. Hanging with the “big boys” and showing that they could compete. Then the snowball effect of panic and doubt sets in, and within a few minutes Nebraska is down double digits.
This Nebraska team is talented enough to do great things this year, even on the defensive side of the football. With the athletes that the coaching staff has brought in on defense, it will just take time for them to adjust. If you think about it, will any of the offenses they face this year be any better than the one they practice against?
They finally have permanent team captains, players who take charge and help bring players along. Guys who the team can count on in the locker room and on the field. They are holding themselves accountable. This is an encouraging first step at earning respect. They are unified in the messages that the coaching staff is sending. Keep getting better, keep grinding. There is an overwhelming sense of a positive attitude from everyone. It looks like a beginning for something that could be special. It’s the first building block in earning respect.