For the second season in a row, the Hail Varsity Staff put out some season predictions concerning win totals, statistical leaders, over/unders and the likes. We got some right and we got some horribly wrong.
So let’s take a look back at those and see how Brandon Vogel, Erin Sorensen, Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and I all fared.
How many wins will Nebraska have in 2018?
I should have stuck to my guns and kept at 6-6. Darn. We were all over, though Erin was the closest. Though it’s worth adding everyone was hovering around 7-5 except Greg. He was all in on 8-4. No points, moving on.
The big four games this season are: at Michigan (Sept. 22), at Wisconsin (Oct. 6), at Ohio State (Nov. 3) and vs. Michigan State (Nov. 17). What will the Huskers’ record be against those four opponents?
BV: 1-3 (Michigan State; bonus: not an upset)
ES: 1-3 (Michigan)
GS: 1-3 (no pick)
JP: 1-3 (Michigan State)
DP: 1-3 (Michigan)
Actual: 1-3, Michigan State being the win
So we all get one point for correctly picking the record in the four games, with Brandon and Jacob each getting an extra point for correctly picking who the one win was for. Brandon gets a bonus point for not only calling his shot but effectively calling glass in the process by saying it wouldn’t be an upset.
How many games will the Huskers be favored in?
No points for anyone here. We could get technical and count the Akron game as a 13th game on the schedule, making it seven times the Huskers were favored but we came to a consensus as a staff to only count actual games played. Sorry Akron, maybe you should have taken those dorms after all.
Who will be the team's leading tackler?
BV: Luke Gifford
ES: Luke Gifford
GS: Dedrick Young III
JP: Luke Gifford
DP: Mohamed Barry
Actual: Mohamed Barry
Barry, a junior inside backer, finished first in both solo and total tackles. Young finished second, Gifford finished fourth behind safety Aaron Williams.
What I wrote on Barry: "He’s going to have a big season. Not sure how many times I’ve said that this offseason but here’s to another just because." Is this what being right feels like?
Which unit will have the better bounce-back year in 2018: the secondary or the offensive line?
Actual: Tough call, but secondary
Both units bounced back. Nebraska was able to run the ball much more effectively and protect the quarterback. The offense doesn't have the season it had without the improvement made up front. But, the secondary was great for Nebraska, and arguably had farther to climb. Nebraska had a corner (Dicaprio Bootle) lead the league in pass break-ups (15) and moved from worst last year to first as a team in that regard. The pass defense also ranked 102nd in S&P+ in 2017 and jumped to 54th this year. Where's that Oprah gif? Points for everyone.
Who will be the offensive MVP of the team?
BV: JD Spielman
ES: Stanley Morgan Jr.
GS: Adrian Martinez
JP: Adrian Martinez
DP: Greg Bell
Actual: Adrian Martinez
Stanley Morgan Jr. broke all kinds of records in his senior season so we'll give Erin a point here for this one (just because she also said Martinez would win Freshman of the Year and that's looking likely). Jacob and Greg get points for picking what now looks like the obvious answer. And I'm back to being completely wrong again. It was fun while it lasted.
Who will be the defensive MVP?
BV: Tre Neal
ES: Luke Gifford
GS: Luke Gifford
JP: Luke Gifford
DP: Ben Stille
Actual: Mohamed Barry
No one gets any points, though Brandon was the closest. Tre Neal likely runs away with this if not for Barry's breakout year. Neal's experience, leadership and level-headedness were invaluable this season as Nebraska navigated bumpy waters.
Who will be the biggest surprise?
BV: Ben Stille
ES: Devine Ozigbo
GS: Lamar Jackson
JP: Lamar Jackson
DP: Deontai Williams
Actual: Devine Ozigbo
Ozigbo hit 1,000 rushing yards this season, becoming Nebraska's first back to do so since 2014. No one expected him to do that entering this season. We're talking about a possible NFL Draft spot with Ozigbo. No one expected that either. Well, no one except Erin. Point for her.
OVER/UNDER: Quarterback Adrian Martinez records 2,500 total yards in his debut season.
Actual: Over (3,246 yards)
Yeah, Martinez shattered this. Not only did he lead all freshmen in total offense per game with 295.1 yards, he broke freshmen records at Nebraska. Martinez's 2,617 passing yards set a freshman program record and was eighth-most all-time for a Nebraska player. He set a program record for games with 300 yards of total offense (seven) and tied a program record for games with 400 yards of total offense (three). We all get points even though Greg was the only one who saw him shattering that mark.
OVER/UNDER: Stanley Morgan Jr. hits 1,000 yards receiving in his senior season.
Actual: Over (1,004 yards)
We all wanted him to do it, but Erin was the only one who saw it actually happening. Point to her. Perceived depth of options in the receiving game didn't pan out.
OVER/UNDER: A Nebraska running back gets 800 yards rushing in 2018.
Actual: Over (Ozigbo, 1,082 yards)
Jacob and I each get points. We don't need to talk about which guy we saw actually hitting the mark…
Nebraska had 14 sacks and 12 turnovers produced in 2017. The 2018 version of the Huskers will have at least 28 sacks and 18 turnovers.
BV: No on sacks, yes on takeaways
ES: No on sacks, yes on takeaways
GS: Yes on both
JP: Yes on both
DP: Yes on both
Actual: No on sacks (25), yes on takeaways (20)
Brandon and Erin each get points here, with Greg, Jacob and I each getting half a point. Scheme helped, but again, Nebraska had a much-improved defense this season.
Erin wins this season with seven points. Jacob finished with 6.5 points, Brandon with six, me with 5.5 and Greg with 4.5. I did not finish last this season and that's all that matters, moving up in the world.
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.