- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
It was a disappointing start to the season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers who fell 30-22 in week zero to the Illinois Fighting Illini. While disappointing, it serves as a reminder that Nebraska hasn’t been the same since leaving the Big 12.
After back-to-back 10 win seasons to close out their tenure in the Big 12 under Bo Pelini, the Cornhuskers have had just one 10 win season since. Since 2015, they’ve had only one winning season, a 9-4 season in Mike Riley’s second year after taking over for Pelini that ended with a loss in the Music City Bowl to a Joshua Dobbs-led Tennessee Volunteers squad.
They haven’t been to a bowl game since and are on their third coach since leaving the Big 12.
Under Scott Frost, the Cornhuskers have gone an embarrassing 9-18.
Though they have a shot to pick up their first win with a matchup against Fordham this week, the first weekend of college football was not kind to them.
Paul Myerburg put together his winners and losers from week zero of the 2021 season and Nebraska was prominently featured on the wrong side of this column.
It just keeps getting worse for a program that is two decades removed from last being part of the national conversation and now is known much more for self-inflicted disasters than playing a role in deciding the Big Ten championship. All the predictable missteps were evident against Illinois, including a punt return resulting in a safety, a dropped touchdown pass, a missed extra point, a roughing the passer penalty on an interception and a fumble returned by Illinois for a touchdown — and that was just in the first half. Embarrassing? Absolutely. But predictably so. – Myerburg
At some point they’ll have to do something with Frost, a coach that hasn’t been able to keep the Cornhuskers even an average team during his tenure.
The Cornhuskers could reverse Saturday’s result and get to six wins, which might be enough to regain some of the momentum and promise that once defined Frost’s tenure. How much you believe in that may depend on your answer to this: Does a team that loses to Illinois — showing all of the sloppiness and inconsistency you’ve come to expect — really have what it takes to navigate a schedule that includes Oklahoma, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa? And if the Cornhuskers fall short of bowl eligibility, how does new athletics director Trev Alberts sell another year of the status quo after another losing season? – Myerburg
It’s been a difficult fall for a team that was once considered one of the “blue bloods” of college football. From 1962 to 2001, Nebraska had just two seasons with fewer than nine wins on the year. From 1979 to 2001 they had just six seasons with fewer than 10 wins.
Nebraska ranks eighth all-time in wins in program history despite the lack of success they’ve had over the last decade. With just a few weeks until the Oklahoma Sooners play host to their former Big 8 and Big 12 rival, the 50th anniversary of the “Game of the Century” has lost a bit of its luster.
There’s no simple answer for a team that has become one of the worst programs in the Big 10. With Fordham and Buffalo on the schedule in coming weeks, it’s possible that Nebraska rides into Norman with a winning record and that would certainly help the environment surrounding the non-conference matchup. However, it’s just as likely that they struggle with a Buffalo team that went 6-1 last season.