Pat Fitzgerald, post-victory.
Over the next few weeks, I plan on doing Q-and-A's with opposing bloggers about Northwestern's football season. The only problem is that the questions I ask are generally different from those normal people ask, and then one question about football.
Today: The gang from Corn Nation.
So, last year you came on the short-lived Sippin' on Purple podcast, and became the first and only opposing blogger to predict a 40-plus point victory for his team. Care to revisit that prediction?
Jon J: Thanks for reminding me. Clearly I was a year ahead of my time.
Salt Creek and Stadium: It was the bad juju of attempting to claim the ‘NU’. We’re more mature now - it’s all yours.
It's been a year. Thoughts on this whole "Big Ten" thing?
dpm917 - Well, it was something. I still think the cultural fit is a good one for Nebraska. I think a lot of people, underestimated the difficulty of the transition from the Big 12 to the Big Ten and aside from volleyball, Nebraska didn’t have the talent to overcome it. It was fun to see Nebraska in new venues playing new teams. I’m not sure how much longer the novelty will remain but I think there will be some until the football team has visited all the campuses, so at least another 5 years. That and until they go into someone’s house and knock them off a pedestal. That may or may not happen this year.
Salt Creek: Dpm917 hit it square on the head - we truly underestimated the difficulty of transitioning between leagues. It was a square of humble pie which our fanbase sorely needed.
Jon: We’re still in a state of ambiguity. We lost all our history of hatred and rivals and it will take a while to establish new ones. Other than Iowa, it’s confusing as to whom we’re supposed to target with angst. The stupidest thing is that it won’t be Northwestern. Despite NU beating us at most of the sports we played, Nebraska fans still won’t take the Wildcats seriously.
Nebraska fans sold out the Northwestern-Nebraska game at Ryan Field before single-game tickets went on sale by buying up season tickets and then buying extra tickets to the Nebraska game before the general public could. Simply put, what is wrong with you guys?
dpm917 - What’s wrong with us? You’re the one’s who didn’t sell enough season tickets. Kidding. Mostly. Ya’ll knew this was our reputation when you let us in. We’re just getting started, we’ve had a lot of practice at this sort of thing.
Salt Creek: We want to be Chicago’s Big Ten team.
Jon: Husker fans are everywhere and it’s difficult to get tickets to home games so why not invade other people’s stadiums?
Somewhere along the line, Nebraska fans thought it would be funny to agree with us that the "NU" moniker could go to whoever won in football. We didn't agree at the time, and still don't, since we think Nebraska will probably win more in football than not, but we're willing to negotiate. Ideas?
dpm917 - I’m bad at this game. I think NU and NU should both be able to use NU.
Salt Creek: Based on last year’s results, you guys can have the silly abbreviation if it means we can beat you at football. I’ve had enough of the bad juju around Nebraska football.
Jon: I’m with Salt. "NU" - you can have it, and we’ll start winning more often.
THE ONE QUESTION ABOUT FOOTBALL: How do you see Northwestern-Nebraska going this year? Did we just have some beginner's luck? Will Taylor Martinez once again be able to complete 75 percent of his passes with multiple touchdowns and no picks against Northwestern? Is your defense really good?
dpm917 - I thought last year Nebraska had the better team on paper and I think going into the season Nebraska has the better team on paper again. Since it sounds like Nebraska’s going to be the home team this year again, I think they’ll learn from their experience last year and not take a nap during the game.
I’ll say this for Taylor, he thinks he can complete 70% of his passes this year, so he thinks he can do it. I don’t really expect him to. Even the best passing QB’s at NU haven’t completed 70%. But if Northwestern decides to let Martinez beat him with his arm, he’s capable enough to do that.
The defense, eh, we’ll see. If it’s a situation where everyone gets a little better across the board, I think they can be a pretty salty unit. If we continue to see a lack of maturity and discipline, especially tackling at initial contact, it’s gonna be more of the mediocre same we’ve seen from the Huskers the past couple of seasons.
Salt Creek: I don’t think you guys will get the "Nebraska charity loss" game of the year (I’m leaning towards Minnesota). Taylor won’t have the same numbers but he’ll still have a good game. I think the addition of Kaczenski to coach the defensive line may allow Nebraska to find a way to stop mobile QBs like yours - not a guarantee here, but his defensive line did contain Robinson.
Jon: We win a revenge game by three touchdowns. Or five points. And no, you didn’t have beginner’s luck, you had a group of Nebraska coaches and players that didn’t take you seriously - possibly the stupidest mistake a team can make. That’s not going to happen this year.
Defense - I don’t think anyone knows whether the defense will be really good. It’s certainly a hope that the defensive line will be much improved instead of the sieve we saw last season, but there’s no guarantee on that.
Martinez - I’m betting he has a tremendous season, but Nebraska doesn’t win the Big Ten and tons of Husker fans blame him for it. It’s like he’s the sole personality responsible for all of our unanswered prayers.