Hail Varsity Mailbag
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Mailbag: Blackshirts, Campaign Slogans, Progress, and More

November 04, 2020

It’s time for another mailbag. Let’s get to it.

Not really a question…. but, come up with a presidential slogan for one position group. (@SipplesLostT) 

Erin Sorensen: I can’t think of anything good—I keep going to “Pancakes for everyone!” for the offensive line, but that’s dumb—so how about I’ll just give you one for Nebraska. If the entire football team ran for office, they can just use “Can’t Be Beat” and call it a day. 

Mike Babcock: Defensive line: “The Run Stops Here.” 

What would you predict the outcome of this Saturday’s game would be if I told you the Huskers will rush for at least 4.5 yards per attempt while only allowing 3.8 yards per attempt? (@Corn_Huskers)  

Brandon Vogel: Somewhere in the neighborhood of 24-21 or 21-17 in favor of Nebraska, assuming the Huskers weren’t -2 in turnovers or something. 

Greg Smith: I’d come in about 24-14 Nebraska in that case. 

MB: Brandon’s got the key, turnovers. Northwestern has forced seven in two games. If there’s a disparity in turnovers, it’s a toss-up. Northwestern’s rushing average against Iowa was only 2.4 yards per carry on 60 carries. And that was with the turnovers even at three.  

Does Nebraska wear the alternate uniforms this Saturday vs. Northwestern? Will they award the Blackshirts after they beat Northwestern this Saturday? (@Corn_Huskers)  

GS: No, I don’t think they wear the alternates this weekend. I do think there is a chance the Blackshirts are awarded after this week. A little extra juice for Penn State? 

ES: I agree with Greg that the Huskers are not wearing the alternates this weekend, so let me throw a wrench in this. Nebraska also has the home Blackshirt alternates. Do those also get worn this season? 

What are your Nebraska football game kickoff time preferences? Rank them from first to worst. (@Corn_Huskers) 

Jacob Padilla: If we’re talking about home games here, I’d probably go with afternoon/2:30 first, 11 a.m. second (I’m not a morning person and that’s an early start to the day if I want to get to the stadium a few hours before kickoff) and night games last. Primetime games make for very late nights with everything we have to do after the final horn. 

GS: I’d go with 11 a.m. games first. I’m an early riser anyway and like having the evening to watch games. Primetime is next for me because the atmosphere in stadium is the best for night games which offsets dealing with the very late night. I detest 2:30 kickoffs. It throws off my day to be honest because of the weird timing of everything.  

ES: From a pure working perspective, I like 11 a.m. kickoffs. I get to watch the late games that way. I’d go 7 p.m. after that, because then I have the morning. The worst is really 2:30 because it takes your whole day. You lose your morning and you don’t get done working until most of the late games are over. It’s nice to have a little time on either side of the day. 

MB: Easily, 11 a.m. first, 7 p.m. second and 2:30 p.m. a distant third. 

Derek Peterson: I prefer 2:30. I’m not up super early, I’m not out super late. Next would be 11 a.m., but only because I’m not a fan of night games.

Predict the next ranked team that Nebraska beats in football and basketball. (@dmhusker1) 

BV: Man, if Northwestern had received 13 more points in this week’s AP poll that would’ve been my answer. Not because I’m certain of victory over the Wildcats, but Nebraska will have a better shot this week than next week against Penn State, which probably isn’t jumping into the top 25 by then either. With the Wisconsin game off the table, what’s the next ranked team Nebraska will face? Might be Purdue, though that feels like a remote possibility, too. So, let’s go with Oklahoma . . . in 2021. 

MB: Maybe an East Division opponent in the plus-one game, IF it’s played and IF Nebraska plays reasonably well in its remaining six games (another IF as far as the number played). 

Who are the two that will replace Cam Taylor Britt and Deontai Williams on Saturday? (@CarnesRegg) 

JP: Sophomore Quinton Newsome and redshirt freshman Myles Farmer will likely start in the suspended defensive backs’ place on Saturday. They replaced Taylor-Britt and Williams after they got ejected and were the only two defensive backs off the bench who played outside of garbage time. Nebraska didn’t use any true nickel lineups against the Buckeyes, instead using JoJo Domann as the extra coverage player on passing downs, and I’d expect that to be the case against Northwestern as well.  

Will Omar Manning play this weekend? If so, give me an over/under for his yards. I’m guessing around 55. (@InDaWilderness) 

GS: Yes. I’ll take under 55 yards. 

MB: Lower, under 40 yards. 

Give us your predictions for all the B1G games this week. (@InDaWilderness) 

BV: Minnesota by 10 over Illinois, Indiana by 2 over Michigan, Iowa by 10 over Michigan State, Ohio State by 35 over Rutgers, Penn State by 28 over Maryland and Nebraska by 3 over Northwestern. 

DP: Michigan State (+6) covers against Iowa. Indiana (+3) covers against Michigan (double-digit win, I think). Nebraska (+3.5) covers with a go-ahead score late in the fourth or an overtime win. Minnesota (-7) covers against Illinois. Maryland (+25) covers against Penn State. Ohio State (-38) covers against Rutgers. 

How much longer will we have to hear “We’re right on the cusp … “? Do the coaches really think that or is it just coach speak? Do the Hail Varsity experts think that NU is “right on the cusp” of doing something good/not frittering away games with turnovers & penalties/winning? (@thawildbunch) 

JP: See, that’s the catch right there. Talent-wise, scheme-wise, physicality-wise, I think Nebraska’s pretty close to being good. But they haven’t been able to avoid hurting themselves with those costly turnovers, penalties or missed assignments/defensive breakdowns in key moments. How and when do they stop making those mistakes? That’s something Scott Frost is going to have to answer.  

GS: Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think they’ve been as forceful in saying they are on the cusp in previous years. I agree with the sentiment around the team that they are close. The team needs a momentum-building win in the worst way. 

MB: Cusp of doing something “good” I’d say is legit. But the issue is problem the definition of “good.” Does that mean a winning record? Does it mean a top 25 ranking? Does it mean winning the West Division? A winning record would be “good.” Anything beyond that, more doubtful.  

O/U there will be 1.5 new head football coaches in the B1G next year. Bonus points if you say for what teams. I’m taking the over with Iowa and Michigan (both feel weird saying, I know). Illinois could slip in there too. (@InDaWilderness) 

BV: Under, unless we get two resignations. Given the financial issues all of these schools are dealing with and that this is going to be a chaotic year in terms of on-field results, I still just don’t see a Big Ten school pulling the plug, paying a buyout (to the old coach, for the new coach or both) and trying to restart a program amid all of the uncertainty. 

ES: I’m taking the under too, for the reasons Brandon pointed out. The pandemic has truly changed how some things are going to work, at least for now. A lot of schools just don’t have the finances to fire a coach and pay the buyout. If a coach resigns? That’s a different story. 

What happens if the B1G has to choose between a 7-1 Purdue and a 6-0 Wisconsin that didn’t play each other? (@InDaWilderness) 

JP: In that situation, I believe Wisconsin would get the nod because of winning percentage; that’s the first determining criteria. Head-to-head would take precedence over winning percentage if two teams who played each other end up with the same number of losses but a different number of wins. 

MB: As Jacob points out, there wouldn’t be a choice. Wisconsin would win the division because it met the minimum standard, playing six games, and it would have the best winning percentage. 

How angry will Husker fans be if a 6-0 Wisconsin wins the west over a 7-1 Nebraska? (@RandallKolman) 

JP: They might legitimately break the Internet. 

GS: Wow someone likes chaos.  

ES: I don’t need to think about this right now. 

MB: The criteria are set.  

Would you agree that Nebraska and its staff mostly view this year as a wash, and a chance to essentially just get quality in-game reps and get better, and less about needing wins? Even watching the Ohio State game, it seemed like their biggest goal was getting experience. (@SheepishJohn) 

BVI’m not quite ready to go there yet—a win against Northwestern, for example, could be quite energizing—but hearing Frost call this a such a broken, messed up year,” felt like a pretty unguarded moment. It is, of course, a broken, messed up year on many fronts, football included, but if Nebraska’s 1-1 in a wide-open Big Ten West after this week, I think it might feel a little more like a typical season. Lose and the sentiment you’re describing—and I do agree that I detect hints of that as well—might become more apparent. 

MB: I would prefer Nebraska didn’t use “broken, messed up year” as an excuse for lack of success. If the Huskers play, regardless of the circumstances, the bottom line is winning. Every team is dealing with the “broken, messed up” context. Wisconsin might use that as some sort of excuse because of the loss of players to COVID. Right now, though, not Nebraska. Winning involves a mindset, too. 

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