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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nebraska Not Making Progress Under Callahan

How much longer are Husker fans going to wait?

While much talk this season has (rightfully) focused on the problems at Michigan, Notre Dame and, to a lesser extent, Auburn, the once-proud Nebraska football program now seems officially stuck in mediocrity.

And don't shoot the messenger, Big Red fans. This post comes not from a place of mocking (which is hard to do in the first place as a diehard fan of a team that lost to a 1-AA squad) but from the genuine bewilderment of a college football aficionado.

How the hell did Big Red become Little Rouge? And, most importantly, why is it being allowed to continue?

Sure, Nebraska is still (somehow) in the top 25 following their thrashing at the hands of SC and may even win the Big 12 North (which may actually be easier than winning the Big 10 this year). But, contrary to what outsiders may think after hearing Husker AD Steve "I have no clue what I'm doing" Pederson gave Callahan a recent contract extension, the program doesn't seem to be getting better.

In his first three seasons, Callahan had been 5-6, 8-4 and 9-5 with the closest thing to a "signature win" being his Alamo Bowl victory over 7-5 Michigan in 2005.

That gets you an extension at Nebraska these days? How the mighty have fallen.

You often hear so-called relationship "experts" say that worse than hate is indifference. Because at least when you hate, you still care in an odd way. As a Michigan fan, probably because of '97, I used to hate Nebraska. Now, I - and many other college football fans - no longer care. They're an afterthought.

Sad to say for Husker fans, that might be worse.

ED. NOTE: If you're a Husker fan and stumbled across this post, yes, you could go on a rant in the comments section pointing out Michigan's flaws. But a) that would be easy this year and b) I doubt you could be harder on the team than we've been this season. So, how 'bout sharing some insight on the mood around Lincoln instead.


MGoBlue93 said...

Callahan is such a tease for that program. Just when you think he's going to get it together, something happens.

Here's a couple of thoughts. I'll invoke the same disclaimers Yost did. I've been to Lincoln and the fans are classy.

1. Under the Osborne era, Nebraska showed the way for the SEC and the rest of nation on how to pad the non-conference schedule. Yeah Nebraska had a generation-long streak of 9 win seasons. But 3 of those wins every season were against the likes of Mid. Tenn. St, Pacific, North Texas, etc. And Big Red regularly scored 50 - 70 points on those teams. Yeah, I know, everyone is padding their schedule now but Nebraska was one of the more shameless abusers of cupcakes for a long, long time. With all those historical W's piling up, expectations are high (probably not unlike a certain school many in this forum hold dear).

2. Callahan's offense is ridiculously complicated. By the time the offense gets it, their eligibility is up. It's like the one asshole in Starbuck's every morning with the gazillion modifier drink... overhead yesterday, "I'll have a skinny, quad, decaf, venti, latte, 180 degrees, 5 splendas, no foam". WTF? It takes the QB half the damn clock just to spit the freaking play out.

3. The Big 12 is not what it used to be. Mizzou is getting lotsa love for the first time in well, forever. OU looks to be the class of the conference. CU is horrible (even though they hung with FSU). UT has struggled mightily thus far, and there are a bunch of basketball schools bringing up the pack.

4. Like the NFL, isn't there a bunch of parity in CFB these days? Traditional powers are sucking and recruiting is more of a crap shoot than ever... see Ron Zook's current class and how he lured them to a program with that recent history.

Props though to NU's AD for agreeing to a home and home with USC... Michigan's gutless wonder AD would have never agreed to travel. He'll let anyone come to A2 but Martin won't return the favor.

After firing Solich, and his record wasn't bad -- he was just the unfortunate SOB to follow a legend and get drunk (hmmmm... not unlike a certain school many in this forum hold dear), perhaps Pederson is giving Callahan a lot slack to coach all his kids and get the offense in order??? (perhaps I'm being an idealist)

ross said...

Callahan was given the extension because of the recruiting tactics of other coaches. He kept facing kids telling him that other coaches are saying you won't be there long so I shouldn't go to Nebraska. They fire coaches in Nebraska that go 9-3. The consensus around the state right now is that Callahan needs to can the D-Coordinator and give up the play calling. Many of us hope he's smart enough to realize that if he gets canned at Nebraska, after what happened to him Oakland, his head coaching days are finished. Should he get canned he will leave the cupboard stocked with blue chips and you will see an Oklahoma like turnaround. If you remember when Stoops took over he had some great players that John Blake had recruited and he won a national title with them in two years. That is if they don't hire someone like Houston Nutt. I think you guys are in similar boat with the cupboard being stocked. If you guys lure the right guy you should be top 5 forever.

san francisco values said...

While Nebraska is not yet up to standard, they're better than they have been. A loss to USC isn't much of an indication of where the program is other than it isn't top 10. But that's the problem for 100 schools.

Temp430 said...

The tolerant Husker mood after the loss to No. 1 USC will change. By late October and losses to Missouri, A&M, and Texas they will be calling for Callahan's head. And if they loose to Iowa State it will get real shrill real fast.

Christopher A said...

I agree with sf values -

You can't get too down on yourself when the #1 team in the country thumps you. I'm in the unfortunate position to be a michigan alum living in Omaha so I get to hear all about how the 'skers are god's gift to football and all that and I watched the USC-neb game last week, well until I passed out. What struck me is that it looked exactly like the last two times we played USC. No matter what we did, they looked like they were not one, but two or three levels above us. Simple screens and draw plays would easily rack up 10-15 yards every play and our offensive line got no push. I'm not sure what it is in the water out there, but Carroll seems to do it year in and year out. I think a lot of the fans out here and upset and disappointed but the halfway smart ones realize it's probably not a good idea to use a #1 semi-nfl talent team as a barometer. Or at least as a measure by which to set expectations. That's my take.

KRY said...

I agree. And can't you say the same thing about Florida State? Ahh, how the mighty have fallen.

peter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.