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The Monday After: Nebraska faces an existential crisis, Pac-12 issues visualized in Week 0

You by no means get a second probability to make a primary impression, and you will solely get so many probabilities to make the identical impression repeatedly. Nebraska coach Scott Frost appears to be working out of probabilities.

There are sometimes overreactions to the primary recreation of any season, but it surely’s arduous responsible Cornhuskers all over the place for the glazed seems of their eyes following a 30-22 loss to Illinois to open 2021. It was totally too acquainted to earlier seasons when Nebraska was presupposed to win a recreation however saved making expensive errors that in the end led to its failure. There have been turnovers, missed receivers, missed additional factors, penalties to increase or derail drives, and only for enjoyable, some mind-boggling clock administration late.

You possibly can forgive groups for having a nasty day, and contemplating Saturday was the primary time Nebraska gamers had been in a hostile street setting in entrance of followers since 2019, you’ll be able to perceive the doable affect it might need. At the least, you could possibly for those who hadn’t seen them do it in empty stadiums, too.

Make no mistake, there’s quite a lot of season left to go, and we regularly overreact to the primary recreation of the season for any staff, but it surely’s arduous to search out causes to be optimistic about Frost’s program. Simply have a look at what those that cowl Nebraska for a residing are saying following Saturday’s loss.

From the Omaha World-Herald‘s Dirk Chatelain:

I will admit, there have been occasions these previous 20 years when all of this felt like big-screen leisure. Once you watched a Husker loss, grabbed your favourite bat, fueled up with snark and sarcasm and whacked the piñata to take care of your (and your readers’) sanity.

Nebraska is Nebraska. Sometime they’re going to determine it out, proper?

However, man, I am 40 now. Swinging hurts my again. I ponder what Memorial Stadium will appear like in mid-October. Not within the fourth quarter after a 30-point deficit, however at kickoff.

This is the Lincoln Journal-Star‘s Steven Sipple:

My recommendation to Nebraska followers is to remain within the second.

Wait, that is not particularly interesting, both.

I’ve mentioned it earlier than: Far an excessive amount of about Nebraska soccer has develop into completely unappealing, which can assist clarify all these empty seats in Memorial Stadium this coming Saturday. The pandemic additionally will maintain down attendance. That’ll present some cowl from the plain: Frost’s program exams the persistence of even probably the most loyal Husker followers. The sloppiness is startling at occasions.

Lastly, The Athletic’s Mitch Sherman weighs in:

The Huskers flew dwelling Saturday as water rose inside the vessel that’s Frost’s soccer program.

This season could, in actual fact, find yourself resembling a film, because the coach steered.

“Titanic” involves thoughts.

You get the sense that that is extra of an existential disaster for Nebraska than concern over a soccer season or coach. Nebraska appears frightened of dropping its id and place within the college football universe, and it is arduous responsible it.

Frost was presupposed to be the savior of this system, the previous star player who knew the key recipe that made Nebraska soccer a nationwide powerhouse. As an alternative, we’re into his fourth season on the head of this system with the Huskers 12-21. His .364 win share in Lincoln is the sixth-worst of any Nebraska coach on the sector for no less than 10 video games.

If Frost is not the coach to show this program round, who the hell is? 

Redemption Story of the Week

Understandably, a lot of the eye on the season-opener between Illinois and Nebraska has been about Nebraska and what it means going ahead for this system. Nonetheless, there’s one other far happier aspect to the identical recreation, and whereas Nebraska is likely to be struggling, Illinois had a lot to really feel nice about.

Not solely did Bret Bielema win his first recreation at Illinois, maintaining his new-hire honeymoon going for no less than one other week, however there was additionally the story of Illini quarterback Artur Sitkowski. Sitkowski was pressured into responsibility when beginning QB Brandon Peters left the sport within the first half with a shoulder harm and carried out higher than most would’ve anticipated. I do know he exceeded mine.

Sitkowski, it’s possible you’ll recall, was the beginning QB at Rutgers throughout a disastrous 2018 season. It was a freshman season from hell as Sitkowski accomplished fewer than 50% of his passes and threw greater than 4 occasions as many interceptions (18) as he did touchdowns (4) with Rutgers ending the season 1-11. Final 12 months, Sitkowski misplaced his job to — paradoxically — Nebraska switch Noah Vedral earlier than deciding to go away New Jersey for greener pastures.

He selected Illinois, and early indications are it was a clever determination. Sitkowski accomplished 12 of his 15 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. He was on the helm of each scoring drive the Illini accomplished and did not flip the ball over as soon as. 

Unhealthy Visible of the Week

Hear, I get it: Saturday was hotter than hell, we’re nonetheless getting via a pandemic and visitors generally is a nightmare in Los Angeles. But when there’s a greater picture to point out one of many greatest issues the Pac-12 and new commissioner George Kliavkoff are going through, I do not know the place to search out it.

This isn’t the sort of crowd you are hoping to see for a season opener, and whereas these excuses listed above have some validity, it was sizzling everywhere in the nation on Saturday. Temperatures had been within the 90s in Champaign, Illinois, but roughly 40,000 followers confirmed for the sport. In Fresno, California, it was so sizzling that groups introduced additional cleats in case those they wore melted. The official attendance there was over 26,000. Even when that many individuals did not present up — and positively did not keep for the whole 45-0 blowout — it is much more than confirmed up on the Rose Bowl.

It is a disgrace, too, as a result of UCLA not solely performed nicely in its 44-10 win over Hawaii, but it surely seems like a staff poised to have its finest season since early within the Jim Mora period. Perhaps Chip Kelly is popping the Bruins round in any case.

Attention-grabbing Development of the Week

I hinted at it earlier when speaking about Nebraska, however I am not stunned to see dwelling groups accomplish that nicely in Week 0. In video games involving FBS colleges, dwelling groups went 4-1 with the lone loss being New Mexico State‘s 30-3 defeat at dwelling to UTEP. Whereas it is not a big pattern measurement, European soccer leagues, there was an early edge to dwelling groups to begin their seasons with some vital upsets being pulled off.

After spending the final 12 months taking part in in entrance of empty stadiums, I puzzled how gamers would react to being in entrance of individuals once more, particularly these taking part in in a hostile setting. Certain, Illinois was the one underdog to win final weekend, however I am unable to assist however consider being at dwelling performed a job. It’d’ve performed a job in how simply Fresno State, UCLA and San Jose State received — their common MOV was 36.7 factors — as nicely.

It is one thing to bear in mind as we head into the primary full weekend of the season.

Faux Excessive College of the Week

OK, so this is not school soccer, but it surely did occur this weekend, and it did amuse me. Apparently, one other community broadcast a highschool soccer recreation between Florida powerhouse IMG Academy and quite possibly a school that doesn’t exist.

School Soccer Playoff Projection of the Week

  1. UCLA
  2. Fresno State
  3. Illinois
  4. San Jose State

Till the subsequent Monday After!



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