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Reviewing Our 2018 Season Predictions for Nebraska Football

November 26, 2018

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?

BV: 8-4

ES: 6-6

GS: 8-4

JP: 7-5

DP: 7-5

Actual: 4-8

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?

BV: Seven

ES: Seven

GS: Eight

JP: Seven

DP: Seven

Actual: Six

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?

BV: Secondary

ES: Secondary

GS: Secondary

JP: Secondary

DP: Secondary

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.

BV: Over

ES: Over

GS: Over

JP: Over

DP: Over

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.

BV: Under

ES: Over

GS: Under

JP: Under

DP: Under

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.

BV: Under

ES: Under

GS: Under

JP: Over

DP: Over

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.

Final Tally

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.

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