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Nebraska Cornhuskers Football - Gimme Red 'Til I'm Dead!

Updated: 2018-03-22T13:45:53-05:00


The Strange Case of 2017 UCF Football


UCF had the record for a playoff selection. Did it deserve it though? At the center of the biggest controversy at the end the of the 2017 College Football Season was the University of Central Florida (UCF), coached by second year head coach Scott Frost. UCF, which had finished with an abysmal 0-12 record in 2015, ended the 2017 regular season at 12-0 and champions of the American Athletic Conference. When College Football Playoff (CFP) selections were announced UCF alone stood undefeated yet ranked only 12th in the CFP selection committee poll. 2017 Final CFP Rankings UCF was not selected to participate in the CFP despite finishing the regular season undefeated. The controversy created by choosing four other participants with one loss over UCF began almost immediately, and was not eased when UCF defeated Auburn in the Peach Bowl 34-27. Auburn was responsible for both losses by teams in the CFP Championship Game, having defeated both Georgia and Alabama during the regular season. This article presents a simple statistical algorithm to evaluate the strength of play of college football teams and, in so doing, attempts to provide a way to objectively answer the question of whether UCF should have been included in the 2017 CFP. It will not address the philosophical question of whether any team, regardless of conference, which finishes its regular season undefeated, should be granted an automatic bid to the CFP. That is a question unanswerable by analytics and should remain the sole domain of internet message boards and sports talk radio. The Only Statistics that Matter The list of statistics used to describe college football is long. The data set I used for this analysis had more than 120 different metrics baked in, and that doesn’t include any calculated statistics like yards per play or completion percentage. These statistics are useful, but at the most basic level, there are only two statistics that determine whether a team wins or loses: How many points the team scores and how many points the opponent scores. One way to measure how well a team scores points is to compare the number of points a drive results in to the expected number of points for a drive beginning at any point on the field. A drive can end in 7, 3, 0, or -2 points. (The actual number of missed point-after attempts is small enough to ignore in the computations.) Figure 2 shows the expected points for drives beginning x yards from the end zone since the 2008 season. Figure 2 - Expected Points based on Drive Start Spot Drive Point Efficiency Drive-Point Efficiency is a statistic that measures the average number of points scored per drive compared to the expected points of those drives. Figure 3 shows a typical offensive quarter for a team. Figure 3 - Typical Quarter The team scored 17 points on 5 drives. Based on the starting spots of those drives, the expected points were 14.9. DPE = (17-14.9) / 5 or .42. Offensive and defensive DPE are calculated the same way. Scale this up to 13 drives per game on offense and defense, and 12-14 games per year, and we have a solid metric for determining how efficiently a team converted scoring opportunities into points and prevented their opponent from scoring points. DPE does an excellent job of describing how efficiently a team maximizes its opportunities to score. But it is only half of the story. The other half is how many chances a team gets to be efficient. That is measured by average number of offensive and defensive drives per game. Consider Navy. Since 2008 Navy has been one of the most efficient teams on offense. Only Oregon at .90 was more efficient than Navy at .83. But Navy was also dead last in average number of drives per game. Navy had an average of 11.8 drive opportunities on offense per game. The FBS average was 13.8 per game. If Navy were just average in number of drives it would have an extra 1.7 points per game to work with on offense every game. The graphic below illustrates the relationship betw[...]

Recruiting Rumours in Huskerland


What have the voices in the cornfield been whispering? Good morning Husker Faithful! Recruiting information is a bit scattered at the moment, but that doesn’t mean everyone doesn’t need an update. Let’s see what wheat can be gleaned from the chaff, or perhaps what corn can be shelled from the cob, shall we? Recruit Interest This topic has been difficult to get a handle on. First of all, Fearless Leader Scott Frost uses the Oprah Winfrey method of offering prospects, only with offers, not cars. This isn’t Ole Miss, you know. There are currently 261 offers reported on 247, and the number is only going up. src="" style="border: 0; top: 0; left: 0; width: 100%; height: 100%; position: absolute;" allowfullscreen="" scrolling="no"> The staff has admitted they are behind on 2019 assessment and recruiting. In the whirlwind push to put together a viable class for 2018, 2019 recruiting was sacrificed. Additionally, the big recruiting events, the Junior Days and the Spring Game all happen in April. Recruiting will pick up, but is slow right now. One must wait for the soil temperature to rise before a crop will grow, recruiting or otherwise. Here is the scuttlebutt on some notable recruits: Five star Georgian Owen Pappoe is the top-rated outside linebacker in the nation. He has real, legitimate interest in the N, but all signs are pointing to in-state Georgia at this point. His commitment date is May 5, but he has repeatedly stated he is taking an official visit to Nebraska in the fall. The staff may have to play the long game here. Pappoe attends Grayson, an elite football school in the Atlanta suburbs. No less than seven recruits from Grayson have offers from Nebraska. High three star strongside defensive end Mosai Newsom recently completed an unofficial visit to the Lincoln campus. He has strong interest in Nebraska and is being recruited by most of the B1G west schools. He has confirmed a return visit for the Spring Game. This is a quality recruit who is poised for a breakout senior season. Look for his recruiting to take off in the fall. St. Louis continues to be a tough nut to crack. Five star athlete Isaiah Williams was trending N at one point, but Illinois appears to be the team to beat now. Something’s going on in Illinois. Illini head coach Lovie Smith hired the coach of St Louis high school football powerhouse Trinity Catholic Cory Patterson as a tight ends coach. All of a sudden a bunch of national recruits are trending Illinois. Former Husker commit Marquez Beason has committed there as well. I’m looking at this situation all squinty-eyed. It’s a long time until February for a school like Illinois to hold on to elite recruits. This one’s not done. The one area prospect the staff is making progress with is three star defensive back Bryce Childress. I don’t know if he is a game-changer type of player, but at least it’s a foot in the door. 500 mile radius dual threat quarterback Max Duggan has been viewed by some as a must-get recruit. However, everything is trending Gopher at this time. Maybe he’s afraid the Husker scarlet will clash with his carroty-orange hair. It’s a valid concern. This ship looks to have sailed. Or, rowed away, I guess. Skill players are still a point of emphasis for the 2019 class. Among the top receiver targets is California powerhouse Mater Dei’s Braedin Huffman-Dixon. This extremely talented pass catcher will be a hard pull from the West Coast, but has legitimate interest in Nebraska. Another top WR target from California, Calabasas player Mycah Pittman has Nebraska in his top ten. Pittman is leaning Florida, but his father is a former teammate of Coach Frost’s at Tampa Bay. It’s who you know! Four star Texan Darwin Barlow is among the top running back targets. What about the locals? Tight end recruit Chris Hickman will ultimately sign with Nebraska. Linebacker Nick Henrich, unfortunately, just isn’t feeli[...]

Nebraska Baseball Splits Series With Oral Roberts, Takes Wild Game Two, 11-10


The Nebraska Baseball team (12-9) jumped out to a large lead, and managed to hold off the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles on Wednesday, earning a series split with an 11-10 victory. The Huskers fell in game one Tuesday night 11-4. Nebraska jumped out to an early 5-0 lead with a run in the first and four more in the second. Zac Repinski scored in the first when he reached on a hit-by-pitch, advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches and scored when Angelo Altavilla hit into a double play. In the second, the Huskers used just two hits to score four times. Jesse Wilkening singled to start the inning and was followed by a Luke Roskam walk. Mike Addante walked to load the bases after Jaxon Hallmark and Zac Luckey struck out. Repinski drove in Wilkening with a walk before Mojo Hagge hit a two run single to right. A delayed steal allowed Repinski to score to stretch the lead to five. Nate Fisher pitched solid for the Huskers, giving up just a single run in the second. Oral Roberts managed to string together three two out hits to get on the board. Fisher would not face any more threats in his four innings of work on the afternoon. The Golden Eagles then plated seven runs in the next two innings to jump out to an 8-6 lead. A grand slam in the fifth was the big blow from the Huskers. Ethan Frazier and Paul Tillotson combined for the not so pretty inning. Max Schreiber came in for the sixth and gave up two runs to put the Golden Eagles ahead. An ill advised thrown from Scott Schreiber set the home team up for a big inning. Combined with a wild pitch, and Max struggling to throw strikes the Eagles pounced. After seeing their five run lead disappear, the Huskers responded with five unanswered of their own with three in the seventh and a pair in the eighth. Hagge was hit by a pitch to start the seventh, while Altavilla walked to put the tying runs on base. A sacrifice fly from Schreiber and a wild pitch got the Huskers to within one. After Wilkening got his third hit of the day, Roskam flied out to foul territory, allowing Altavilla to score and tie the game. Hallmark singled off the glove of the third baseman to push Wilkening to third, before a balk plated Jesse, giving the Huskers a 9-8 lead. In the eight, Joe Acker walked and Repinski singled to put more runners on base. A sac bunt, wild pitch, and a groundout scored both Acker and Repinski to give the Huskers a three run cushion. Oral Roberts came right back and scored two in the eighth and had the bases loaded after Zack Engelken walked back to back batters. Head Coach Darin Erstad called in Jake Hohensee who got a strikeout to end the threat. Hohensee then set down Oral Roberts in order in the ninth to preserve the Husker victory. Nebraska moved to 12-9 with the win. Oral Roberts falls to 12-7 with the loss. Oral Roberts is a good ball club and will be in the conversation for being a regional host. This win may not look impressive right now, but wait till the end of the season and we may savor this one a bit more than the other midweek victories. Nebraska has major issues in the bullpen and it will take time and bodies to fix the issue. Tillotson allowed the grand slam, but Frazier was the one who got in trouble with issuing free passes. Nebraska needs to get ahead of hitters and stay aggressive. When Hohensee did this in the ninth, the Golden Eagles looked complete lost. Nebraska now returns back to Lincoln to open up Big Ten Play. Nebraska welcomes the Minnesota Golden Gophers to Haymarket Park on Friday. Nebraska and Minnesota are scheduled for first pitch at 6:35 CST. [...]

Nebraska Basketball: The Waiting Game


It was a good season for the most part but there are factors from it that will hurt I’ve spent the last week trying to come up with a decent opening to this article. I have written and then deleted more than I would like to admit. The problem is most likely not the intro but the article itself. How do you write and article about this past season of Nebraska basketball? Overall, they were fine. They ended the season 22-11 and 13-5 in the Big Ten. A record that hasn’t been seen in this program since the Hayes administration (don’t look it up). They ended up 4th in the conference at the end of the season. For you following along at home, that is 4th out of 14 teams. A very good position. They also went 18-1 at home. Most teams do well at home but only losing one game is a huge accomplishment. That blemish on the record was a last second loss to Kansas. A team that is currently sitting in the Sweet Sixteen. Any other year this would be huge. People would be happy and extensions would be made. Unfortunately for Nebrasketball, their schedule was a tad weak and the Big Ten conference was a bit down. So far down that only 4 teams, not including Nebraska, made the NCAA Tournament. They finished the year with 22 wins and I believe it is safe to assume they barely got a sniff by the NCAA Tournament committee when it was all said and done. If this were a year ago, the Huskers would most likely have been dancing. They may have even secured a decent seed. But no, no tournament. Their prize for this season was a #5 seeding in the NIT. A placing that not only had them playing away from home but also against Mississippi State who they played and beat in an exhibition game in October. They did not even get the benefit of a home game in the NIT for their accomplishments throughout the season. Maybe we shouldn’t be complaining. Maybe, just maybe, this team really did get what they deserved. I mean, the only notable win they had all year was against Michigan. Another top team that is currently in the Sweet Sixteen. Other than that, who? Minnesota? The Golden Gophers were #15 in the nation when Nebraska beat them in Lincoln. In all honesty, that loss was the start of the downfall of Pitino’s season. Penn State might be considered a good win at the end. They are currently making a nice run in the NIT and are sitting in the semifinals. Something many folks thought Nebraska would be doing right now. A lot of this comes down to how they did on the road. They did not travel well, did they? Nebraska was 4-8 on the road this season and it really wasn’t even that pretty. Those four wins were against Wisconsin, Northwestern, Rutgers, & Minnesota. I’ll say it again, any other year and the wins on the road to Wisconsin and Minnesota would be huge. Heck, even a win against last years Northwestern team would be news. A Northwestern team that ended their NCAA Tournament losing streak. A streak that is currently owned by Nebraska. Here’s some other things to ponder with this team. To win and be good in any sport you need to excel in areas of game. Upper half or even upper quarter is where you want to be. Most teams in the tournament and especially those who are excelling do just that. Nebraska this year wasn’t ranking that high. Here’s a breakdown of where they were in the conference. I am going to just pick a few that have stood out to me. Scoring offense - 10th Scoring defense - 10th Scoring margin - 7th Field goal percentage - 12th 3 point field goal percentage - 9th Defensive rebounding - 13th Rebounding margin - 14th Assists - 12th Blocked shots - 2nd I threw the last one in there to keep you all from getting depressed. These are the stats from a team that finished 4th in the conference, did not get an NCAA Tournament bid, and got the short end of the stick in the NIT. How they even made it to 4th in the conference bewilders me looking at these numbers. I have come to the conclusion that while this team did do well a[...]

Frosted Flakes: Graduation Season Is Almost Upon Us


March Madness seems to cause an increase in a...certain procedure...among men, advice to young journalists, and gold falling from the sky There is not much Husker news out there right now. Baseball is...ummm...suffering from having many starting pitchers currently without elbows. Basketball season is done. I love track and field, but can’t find much news on that. We haven’t yet entered the full swing of spring practice for football. Basketball’s silly season isn’t here yet so we can’t speculate on who is leaving, staying, or considering either. Even football recruiting is hard to follow. AN OFFER FOR YOU! AN OFFER FOR YOU! AN OFFER FOR YOU! So, what do we get to talk about? Jill has a son about to graduate from high school. The first birdie is about to fly away from the nest. I am not that old. Really. I can’t possibly have another adult in the house. I was sad to send him off to kindergarten. It felt like I was giving him away to other people and I was somehow abdicating my responsibility. But he came back home every day and enthusiastically shared all sorts of details about school. That buffered the reality of him growing up for a while. Of course, the enthusiasm for sharing decreased each year. The next traumatic milestone? It was the drivers license. That was way worse than putting him on the bus to go to kindergarten. As a driver on that first day, he took his brothers with him to school. My entire genetic repository was huddled in one single vehicle driven by a 14 year old who thought he knew everything. I was terrified, but I gradually adjusted. Now, he is turning into a useful human being that I enjoy talking with and getting to know. I want him to hang around here for a while, but I have to release him to the world. I just hope I did enough that he wants to return once in a while. Frosted Flakes Huskers show ‘grit and a lot of heart’ at NCAA wrestling championships | Beatrice News ChannelMark Manning says you’re never too young to win, and that was the case for his Nebraska wrestling team this weekend. Huskers Pick Up 20th Win Over DePaul - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.comPosted By: Sports Courtesy: NU Media Relations Fullerton, Calif. --- The Nebraska softball team picked up its 20th win of the season with a 1-0 victory over DePaul (17-11) on S... Five Gymnasts Named to All-Big Ten Teams - Nebraska HuskersFive Nebraska women's gymnasts were named All-Big Ten, announced by the conference on Monday, March 19. Seniors Abbie Epperson and Grace Williams, juniors Sienna Crouse and Megan Schweihofer were named first team All-Big Ten, while sophomore Taylor Houchin was named second-team All-Big Ten for the 2018 season. Slugger/pitcher/winner Kaylan Jablonski hits three home runs and pitches complete game for Nebraska CornhuskersIt's cause for celebration when an NCAA softball player gets three home runs in a game. So what do we do when that same player also pitches a complete-game win? Nebraska's Kaylan Jablonski is forcing us to figure it out. Elsewhere In Sports Media Circus: Advice for journalists from sports media | SI.comProminent names in sports media and broadcasting give specific career advice to their younger selves for navigating the world of sports journalism. NFL linemen are getting rich, and they can thank college prospects - SBNation.comRetired NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz explains why teams are putting so much value on veteran offensive linemen. Get A Vasectomy To Get Off Work To Watch Basketball : NPRIt's March Madness, but college basketball games are inconveniently scheduled during work. Many urologists say they see a spike in vasectomy procedures in March. Then There’s This Dozens Of Gold Bars Reportedly Fell From An Airplane In Siberia : The Two-Way : NPRA "gold rush" started among residents after the treasure escaped the plane during takeoff, according to local media. There was apparently a hatch failure. The Incredi[...]

Husker Baseball Gamethread: Oral Roberts Game One



Nebraska heads to Oklahoma for a pivotal two game set

Nebraska (11-8) at Oral Roberts (11-6)

March 20, 2018

J.L. Johnson Stadium • Tulsa, Okla.

Tuesday, March 20 • 6:30 p.m. (CT)

Video Stream: ESPN3

Radio: Husker Sports Network

Mike Waldron (1-1) vs. Taylor Varnell (1-0)

After the worst opening homestand the Huskers have seen under Head Coach Darin Erstad, Nebraska heads out for a two game midweek series against Oral Roberts. Oral Roberts is a regional hosting quality team and if Nebraska could take two games from the Eagles, it would be huge for Nebraska.

Tonight, the Huskers hand the ball to Mike Waldron. Waldron pitched well last week against Northern Colorado in a midweek start, going into the fourth inning and giving up just one run while striking out five Bears.

Oral Roberts will start Taylor Varnell who is 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA Varnell is the midweek starter for the Eagles and sports 18 strikeouts in just 13 innings pitched.

Scouting the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles

Oral Roberts leads the all-time series against Nebraska, 20-15, dating back to the first meeting between the schools in 1972. The last meeting was in the 2008 NCAA Regionals when the Golden Eagles defeated Nebraska, 8-0. Oral Roberts is 11-6 this season and enters the week on a three-game winning streak after sweeping South Dakota State at home. The Golden Eagles went 5-1 in February, opening the season with a three-game sweep against Utah. ORU took one of three against then-No. 25 Dallas Baptist after a win in its lone game against then-No. 22 Wichita State.

Last season, Oral Roberts went 43-16 overall and finished first in the Summit with a 25-4 mark in conference play. The Golden Eagles qualified for the NCAA Tournament, where they went 1-2 in the Fayetteville Regional. Head Coach Ryan Folmar is in his sixth season at Oral Roberts and holds a 188-117 record at the school. He is assisted by Ryan Neill and Wes Davis.

Players to Watch

» #14 Spencer Henson (Sophomore INF): Leads the team in batting average (.383) and hits (23)

» #26 Riley Keizor (Sophomore C): Batting .345 with 20 hits, two doubles and two home runs

» #13 Noah Cummings (Senior OF): Team-high 16 RBIs and batting .273

Frosted Flakes: Never Sleep on the NCAA Tournament


All basketball, all weekend Going from the title of this article I am sure you are expecting me to go into depth on the games that took place the past few days in the NCAA Tournament. My situation as being the only regular contributor here at Corn Nation in regards to Nebrasketball should also warrant that. Unfortunately for you all, I missed just about every game and no it was not because of the holiday that bares my name. No green beer or whiskey was partaken by me this weekend. I slept on the tournament. This weekend was my town’s annual alumni basketball tournament. That mixed in with family obligations made it tough to watch many games. Though, I have no regrets. I am perfectly fine missing Virginia’s defeat from the Retrievers of the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Twitter gave me plenty of highlights the next morning when I woke up. Michigan’s last second winner? If it wasn’t for ESPN being on for a brief second Sunday morning I would probably have missed that bit of news until noon. As for my tournament, we did not win it. Most years we seem to either win the whole thing or come in second. I come from a fairly athletic class that excels on the hardcourt. That is, we seemed to until this year. Time seems to have started to catch up with us after 17 years of doing this. At this point I should go into a long diatribe over age and the troubles that come with it but I will spare you. It is not my thing. Yes, we were a step behind our usual pace but I would not hold that against us. It was frustrating not making it and realizing that time has caught up. I still enjoyed the entire experience even though we didn’t make the title game. We only do this once a year and for most of us this is the only time we get to see each other. It is a quick few games but it only takes a few minutes into them when all of a sudden it is as if no time has passed and we are all acting as if we had just seen each other the other weekend. Age and growing old has never really bothered me. Even with these doses of reality. If anything, it makes me want to work harder for next time. You can let it take you over and bring you down. If you look at age as a mountain then you will struggle with it. To me, that is waste of time and life is too short. A couple guys are now talking about hanging it up after this year, I just can’t. I still enjoy it and care about the outcome. I will say that I do not have a hardcore attitude about it as some do. There is no ego in me telling me I have to stay and no yearning for the past years. I just enjoy playing. I will have no problem letting go when the time comes. When I get bored with it, and I eventually will, that is when I will step off the hardcourt. Until then, I’m going to keep up my health and enjoy it while I still can. Why? Again, because I still enjoy it. I still walk away with a smile every year. Regardless of the outcome. Anyway, on with flakes... Cornhuskers Husker men gymnasts showing a lot of resolve in road competitions | Gymnastics | journalstar.comNebraska continues to cross off several droughts in men's gymnastics. Roskam's grand slam, bullpen lift Huskers to series split with Northwestern State | Baseball | journalstar.comBehind Luke Roskam's grand slam and solid bullpen innings, the Nebraska baseball team earned a split in its two-game series with Northwestern State with a 7-6 win Sunday on a Tim Miles set to meet with A.D. Bill Moos and present 'five-year plan' for Nebraska basketball | Men's Basketball | omaha.comNebraska basketball coach Tim Miles told The World-Herald on Thursday he is set to meet with Athletic Director Bill Moos early next week to discuss his vision for the program’s Husker men gymnasts showing a lot of resolve in road competitions | Gymnastics | journalstar.comNebraska continues to cross off several droughts in men's gymnastics. Jablonski, Mergele help Huske[...]