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Roundball Shaman

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  1. “1. Your great coach might hang on until he’s no longer great. 2. Keeping an endless supply of good quarterbacks is hard, even in Los Angeles. 3. An underdog found a massive advantage, then squeezed everything they could out of it. 4. Your opponents might’ve passed a rule specially designed to undermine you. 5. You might have one class of players just outlandishly better than your competitors, and you might not be able to replace it. 6. A lower-level dynasty has to keep replacing coaches throughout. 7. Goliaths might emerge elsewhere, eliminating your margin for error.” And then, let’s add some more... Other Reasons Good/Great Programs Lose Their Way... You get complacent. You stop doing all the things that made you great. Your administration makes bad new hires when selecting replacement coaches and program leaders. You’re slow to adapt to changing times. Changes in the game, changes in competing programs, change in general. You run an offense that does not appeal to young players you are recruiting. Your coach has a lousy clubhouse and leadership manner. Favoritism in the clubhouse. Failure to create a team feeling. You had a big winning bullseye on your back, opponents brought their best against you, and you could no longer respond successfully to their challenge. You make excuses and don’t address problems in your program that you are aware of. You aren't even aware of what the problems are. A dynasty isn’t divinely inspired to last forever. Change always wins out.
  2. Thurston from Pender: “You need not have studied Joseph Campbell to understand the vital importance of ritual and myth in society. All you need to have done is see a Star Wars movie.” Joseph Campbell Quotations Being Applied To The Huskers: “It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.” ― Joseph Campbell (on Huskers’ struggles lately) “Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.” ― Joseph Campbell (on Huskers’ struggles lately) “If you're going to have a story, have a big story, or none at all.” ― Joseph Campbell (on the Huskers’ legacy) “If you want to understand what's most important to a society, don't examine its art or literature, simply look at its biggest buildings.” ― Joseph Campbell (commenting on Memorial Stadium) “When you are on the right path, invisible hands will come to your aid.” ― Joseph Campbell (on the Huskers’ current path back to greatness) “Never jump into a dredge.” ― Not Joseph Campbell
  3. So, who were the 2019 season winners and disappointers? AP Top 25 - Preseason Ranking to Final Ranking: 1 Clemson (Final Ranking #2) Move down -1 spot 2 Alabama (Final Ranking #8) Move down -6 spots 3 Georgia (Final Ranking #4) Move down -1 spot 4 Oklahoma (Final Ranking #7) Move down -3 spots 5 Ohio State (Final Ranking #3) Move up +2 spots 6 LSU (Final Ranking #1) Move up +5 spots 7 Michigan (Final Ranking #18) Move down -11 spots 8 Florida (Final Ranking #6) Move up +2 spots 9 Notre Dame (Final Ranking #12) Move down -3 spots 10 Texas (Final Ranking #25) Move down -15 spots Conclusions... LSU the top team to exceed expectations (since they won it all over 5 giants ahead of them) Biggest movers up: Minnesota from unranked pre-season to #10 finish Baylor from unranked to #13 finish Exceeded Expectations: Wisconsin ended 8 spots higher from preseason poll Penn State ended 6 spots higher from preseason poll Iowa ended 5 spots higher from preseason poll (All making the Huskers’ journey that much harder, along with good seasons from Minnesota and Wisconsin and that place from Ohio) Unranked teams move up to a Top 25 finish: Air Force Appalachian State Boise State U Central Florida Cincinnati, Memphis Navy Biggest Top 10 disappointment - Texas, down 15 spots from preseason poll Next biggest Top 10 disappointment - Michigan, down 11 spots from preseason poll Huskers’ preseason came in at #24 and... well, you know the rest. Disappointment team from pre-season hopes. Were initially ranked too high and did not approach Top 25 during season. Texas was shown too much pre-season love. Another bitter taste for the Sometimes-Not-Too-Long Horns. Limphorns? Bottom Line: Lots of surprise teams showing up in final Top 25. Teams that grew and came together during the season. The unpredictable nature of sports. That's why they play the games.
  4. Congratulations, Tiger Nation on one of the great seasons of college ball history. And now, Geaux Huskers. Time for some Cornhusker mojo magic.
  5. So, we have... Johnny Rodgers - early 1970s. From Omaha. Rich Glover - early 1970s. From New Jersey. Dave Rimington - early 1980s. From Omaha. Mike Rozier - early 1980s. From New Jersey. Tommie Frazier - mid 1990s. From Florida. Ndamukong Suh - late 2000s. From Oregon. So, based on ESPN’s judgment... Best Husker offensive player from the State of Nebraska - Johnny Rodgers. Best Husker lineman from the State of Nebraska - Dave Rimington. Four of the top six Husker players were not from the State of Nebraska. Four of the top six Husker players from the decades of 1970s and 80s. Signals a drop off in elite Husker talent since the mid-1990s. One player in the last 25 years of Husker football. Conclusions... Must recruit elite talent from outside Nebraska (yes, we know that). Attract and retain Nebraska’s own gems like Rodgers and Rimington. Must facilitate elite talent in the current era of Husker football (so we don’t keep looking back in time for glory).
  6. (Former) Baylor Coach Matt Rhule is the new Carolina Panthers head coach. He spent three years at Baylor, initially taking a team that was in shambles due to campus scandal. His Baylor team won just one game in his first season, but in his third and just concluded last season, he got Baylor into the Big 12 championship game. Why is this of interest to Husker fans? What if Scott Frost pulls a similar turnaround at Lincoln? What if Frost gets the Huskers very soon to the Big 10 championship game or more? Will the NFL come calling on him? What if he becomes the "hot coach" again? Some Husker fans have expressed doubts about Frost’s approach to offense. Some say it will never work in the Big 10. Maybe his offense is a better fit for the NFL? If the Husker Coach gets the Huskers going like Rhule did, will he find himself coaching on Sundays? Will Coach Frost be watching closely to see if the former Baylor coach will Rhule in the NFL?
  7. Big 12 Embarrassments & Big 10 Underachievers Sure, the Huskers have issues. But at least being in the Big 12 is not one of them. The Not-So-Big-12 took an image hit this past season. This is a conference that every year goes looking for respect. And they can’t find it, either. In bowl games, the two “powerhouse” Big 12 programs both ended up as embarrassments. LSU schooled, toyed with, dominated, and embarrassed the Sooners who now must lick their wounds and repair their national image. The Baylor Bears - Bearcubs? - were not up to facing the likes of a Georgia. And the Baylor coach may be heading out the door for a bigger gig. And the underachievers from Austin once again failed to join the college ball elites. But the Big 10 can’t do much bragging, either. A lackluster 4 wins, 5 losses in bowl games. Teams beaten in bowls: Memphis, Wake Forest... and a USC and Auburn that was not up to their traditional power standards. Teams lost to in bowls: Alabama, Clemson, Oregon, California, and Tennessee. Clearly the better quality teams from the teams beaten in bowls. Bottom line? Big 12 and Big 10 have work to do to join the really big boys. Ohio State will always be around as they get the recruits. But Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Huskers and others need to elevate just to get to be the best in their own conference. But the Big 12 is still the conference looking for real football identity. And they may never find it. At least people knew who the Big 8 was. And, who was one of the big (red) dogs (in a good way).
  8. Huskers’ low point of the last decade (2010-2019): Bowl Record: 2 wins, 5 losses Last half of decade record: 28 wins, 34 losses (win percentage 45%) Huskers’ high point of the last decade: The hiring of Scott Frost. Yes, this. There was no point in time during the decade where Husker Nation was more energized and optimistic than when Frost was hired.
  9. Although there is some debate about when a new decade starts (year ending with zero or one?), most folks seem to associate a year ending with a Zero to be the start of a new decade. If so, we are currently plunging into a new decade of the 2020s. With this in mind, it’s time to consider what the next ten years of Husker football will be like. Maybe Nostradamus has some Husker predictions buried somewhere within those quatrains? Anything about Kings-of-the-North rising in there? If not, then it’s left for us to try to divine the answers. Husker football has had those two great decade success stories, the 1970s and 1990s. The 1960s was the decade that saw the Huskers transform into the modern era of college ball. The other decades left over since then have been less than satisfying (sometimes painful and frustrating) and certainly not up to what Huskers fans want and have come to expect. What do we know for sure? Coach Frost will write the ending of the story of his personal Husker coaching legacy. He will either be the leader who resurrected the program back from mediocrity, or he will just hold serve and see the Huskers back in the pack and mostly out of the national spotlight, or the Huskers might actually...regress? That last one doesn’t seem likely. So, the Huskers will either stay the same or get better. And, if they get better, will it be a quick turnaround or a slow steady moving up in the next few years? Whatever happens, Husker fans will be there. The Sea of Red will be a sea of red. This program is too much a part of the State and region’s DNA to be otherwise. The usual roadblocks of Ohio State and Michigan and Wisconsin and the rest will be there. The Huskers will book some Prime Time games again and get a chance to shine to the nation like they used to. There are those in sports media around the country who really hope to see the Huskers be the Huskers again. So, a new decade of Cornhusker football is here. Some things change, and some things stay the same.
  10. Santa Claus is a Huskers fan. Why else do you think he’s wearing red and white? Nice guy, Santa, but he clearly needs more time in the weight room. Not even fit enough to be a fifth-string reserve lineman. But, he brings joy. And if anything, this Husker team needs joy. Lots of it. And so do Husker fans. This long deep funk has gone on far too long and we need to snap into something better. Happiness. Comfort and joy. All is calm and all is bright. May the joy of being a Husker fan once again be felt in the world in all its full flower. Whether Santa brings this, or it comes through hard work and perseverance and reclaiming the Husker place among football elites, may joy return to the Great Husker Nation. I’m dreaming of a Red-n-White Christmas, Just like ones we used to know. With our faces glistenin’, and children listenin’, To Husker football in the snow. I'm dreaming of a Husker Christmas, With every posting that I write. May your days be merry and bright, And may all your Christmas’ be Red and White.
  11. Guy Chamberlin: “... now that we have the only coach every Husker fan can agree on, and he's turned in the worst back to back seasons of them all, we finally get the humbled expectations and patience needed for a genuine rebuild.” Since football is an emotional game, coaches’ behavior usually reflects how things are going at any given moment in time. Yelling at a ref one second, big smile and tap on the helmet for good play the next. With Frost, he seemed mostly truly excited and happy on the sidelines down in Florida way. In Lincoln, he’s seemed subdued and frustrated and not as the same guy. Yes, the losing is going to do that do a person. But also, a coach has to lead by example and project a good attitude most all of the time. When a player sees a coach frowning and pensive... that attitude is picked up by and reflected in the players. The Huskers need to see more of the Central Florida Frost and less of the Coach At Lincoln Frost in the coming season. The Husker squad needs to raise their game on all levels. And the Coach needs to project more of Sunshine State positive attitude and good energy especially when things aren’t going well. The Huskers have played scared too much and needs to have a free-er attitude toward playing the game.
  12. Michael Jordan’s combination of raw talent and overwhelming will to win will be hard to be matched ever again, let alone surpassed by anyone. Statistics are great. But they can’t measure heart, determination, desire for excellence, and the absolute refusal to accept losing or poor performance. Jordan’s spirit of ultimate reach and accomplishment are without peer. Thousands of guys have been blessed with great talent to play at the highest levels in the world. More are coming every day. But... What happens when things aren’t going well on the floor or in your career? Many great talents (Kobe, Lebron, etc.) are POUTERS. They look like little boys when someone steals their favorite toy. Not Michael. When things didn’t go well, he got MAD. He did not pout, but reached deep down and willed himself and his team to victory. Teammates had to reach down deep as well because Michael demanded them to. Not out of ego or bullying, but out of a desire to never accept mediocrity. That is the definition of a true winner. Bless you, Michael, for blessing our lives on the floor and as a mentor of how to approach your profession the right way.
  13. A person’s time is valuable. Each person only has so much of it. Value judgments have to be made. Am I getting enough back for my investment of time and emotion in this thing? Most fans of any team watch only because they want to see wins. Would you really watch a game if you knew AHEAD of time that the result would be a loss? Life has disappointments enough. Who needs to add more frustration? Husker fans will be back viewing in huge numbers once the team shows a solid turnaround and good chances of success on the field. Other reasons for somebody to watch or attend a game instead of insisting on a victory... Hey, the uniforms are nice. I just like sitting on a hard seat for hours with many thousands of noisy strangers. It gets me out of the house. I love halftime shows. Somebody gave me tickets. I smelled something good coming from the parking lot. I got a huge new TV and have to watch something on it. I like to critique the referees. I’m sick of politics. I like explaining the rules to people who don’t understand what is going on. Even when I have to make (stuff) up. I have to be SOME place. I’ve got an over-under bet on what hour and minute the game will end. I saw everyone walking to that big building so I followed them. I don’t care whether we win or lose. It’s just fun to watch either way.
  14. Nebraska - a desirable job? No, it isn’t. Very high expectations from the fan base learned from past glories that haven’t been seen for a generation. Mediocrity evidenced for years is way below what most fans will be satisfied with. Creates great pressure on coaching staff and players. Tough to get many highest recruits with so many hot programs out there competing and without the same legacy baggage. Too many false starts and poor choices made by the decision-makers in the past. Overall program doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be. Yes, it is. For an ambitious coach who is not afraid of a great challenge, there are few greater opportunities than the Red and White Sleeping Giant of the Upper Plains. Elite football conference that’s been routinely placing more teams in the Top 25 than others. Fans so hungry for succeed that things are ready to explode with the first real sign of solid success and turning the corner. Players can be rock stars in the State and all its communities who love the team like no other. No major pro teams near to take attention away from the program. The coach that brings success will become a legend in these parts. So, Nebraska is not a desirable job. It also is one.
  15. Husker fans have a dilemma. Who - if anybody at all - to root for in the upcoming college football playoffs? Ohio State? Never, ever, in this life or any future one. Self-appointed Big 14 master blueblood that has little respect for Nebraska or anybody other than tOSU and who wants to trademark the entire English language. Oklahoma? Certainly root not for the greatest single rival the Huskers have ever had and miss playing dearly. So sorry, Iowa and Minnesota and Wisconsin. Clemson? In the playoffs again? That’s like watching a Green Acres rerun on TV. In fact, that’s it. Instead, watch a Green Acres rerun on TV. LSU? Nothing much here to put off a Husker fan. Good choice if you want to root for somebody. Stock up on Tabasco sauce, Gumbo, Po’boy and Beignets. Don’t care for any of these guys? Wash the car. Paint the house. Read a book. Clean out the closet. Visit a psychic and find out if Frost will ever bring glory back to the Huskers. Watch videos of the 1990's Huskers. Count the hours until the first Husker practice. Or, watch the playoffs anyway and dream about who might be there one day.
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