It has been a good bad-news season for Nebraska. So far.
Never want to take those things for granted. A team is never out of bad-news season –– the part of the college football calendar when little good can happen, but plenty of bad (attrition, injuries, arrests, etc.) can –– until the actual season starts. But we're nearly halfway through July and things have been mostly quiet for Nebraska.
The attrition that was officially announced yesterday didn't come as much of a surprise. Those names had been floating for weeks. While there's been a good deal of attrition overall since the start of the year –– nine players have left the program since April –– everyone knew that was going to have to be the case with the Huskers over the scholarship limit following signing day.
The injury bug seems to have stayed away, too. Nothing major so far, unlike last July which brought news of Chris Jones' knee injury.
Other schools are having a more conventional bad-news season. Virginia Tech might be having the worst of it.
The Hokies entered Year 3 of the Justin Fuente era still on the rise. That's incredibly hard to do when a team wins 19 games out of the gate. Virginia Tech won 10 games in Fuente's first year against an expected-win total of 10.3 –– the Hokies were as good as their record suggested –– which included a 7-point loss to Clemson in the ACC title game. Year 2 brought a change to a freshman quarterback but the Hokies still won nine games, which was a little unlucky based on an expected-win total of 10.7.
Virginia Tech had some holes to fill on defense after four Hokies were drafted in April (and two more signed with NFL teams). But, based on being 10-wins-good the past two seasons with a good coach and more experienced quarterback, the Hokies still looked like a decent dark-horse pick in the ACC near the end of spring ball.
Then bad-news season started. Co-defensive coordinator Galen Scott admitted to using recruiting trips to pursue an extramarital affair and resigned. Wunderkind quarterback Josh Jackson's eligibility was briefly in question, but seems to have been resolved. More losses were coming, however. Three past or presumed starters in the secondary have also been lost to injury, ineligibility or dismissal this offseason, the latest news of which (Mook Reynolds dismissed) came yesterday.
Makes Nebraska's offseason feel pretty sedate by comparison. If the Huskers can keep it that way until August that's worth keeping in mind when considering the 2018 season. Nebraska's had plenty of attrition this year, but it hasn't lost the war of attrition that is the offseason.
What's that worth when the actual season rolls around? We'll see, but I don't think it's insignificant. Based just on the Cliff's Notes version of Virginia Tech's offseason, would you downgrade your expectations for the Hokies? I would, and those are the easy ones to notice.
It's harder to recognize the teams on the other side of the ledger, those that had good bad-news seasons. The Huskers are in that category.
The Grab Bag
- Alabama linebacker VanDarius Cowan, one of the top recruits in the 2017 class, was dismissed from the team on Monday.
- Here's Jim Harbaugh driving a Dodge Demon on the Michigan Stadium field. (Jot this date down. We may have just reached peak Harbaugh.)
- Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre is on USA Today's list of coaches on the hot seat.
- ICYMI: Greg Smith caught up with 3-star cornerback Logan Wilson to find out where the Huskers stand with the Dallas prospect.
Today's Song of Today