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Colorado at Nebraska Preview – “T.I.P.S.” for the Buffs’ trip to Lincoln

 

It’s been eight years since Colorado and Nebraska last played each other. In 2010, the Buffs and Cornhuskers closed out the season as lame duck members of the Big 12 with a Thanksgiving weekend battle in Lincoln.

Since then, neither team has won a conference championship in their new league, though both have won division titles.

Nebraska finished the 2017 season with a 4-8 record; Colorado came in at 5-7.

Yet the old rivalry will be a featured matchup this weekend, taking the 1:30 p.m. (MT) time slot on ABC.

Respect for tradition? A nod to the bitter history between Colorado and Nebraska?

Nope.

Colorado is on the national stage this weekend for one reason, and one reason only.

Scott Frost.

Over 80,000 were on hand for the Nebraska Spring Game, with over 90,000 in their seats for the Akron game last Saturday night for a game which never came to pass.

The storyline on ESPN GameDay this Saturday morning will be the return of Scott Frost. The pregame intro by the ABC announcers will be about the return of Scott Frost.

It will be up to the Buffs to turn the national narrative back to the black-and-gold.

 

This week’s “T.I.P.S.” for CU at Nebraska … Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MT, ABC

 

T – Talent 

Nebraska will enter the 2018 season with a lineup of quarterbacks who have never started a collegiate game. What’s even scarier – if you are a Nebraska fan – the Cornhuskers will play the 2018 season with exactly one scholarship quarterback.

Tristan Gebbia, a red-shirt freshman, is not that scholarship quarterback. Gebbia was beaten out for the starting job by true freshman Adrian Martinez. Rather than stick around to be the primary backup, Gebbia left school and enrolled at Oregon State.

This leaves Scott Frost with Adrian Martinez, backed up by … sophomore walk-on Andrew Bunch. Behind Andrew Bunch? True freshman walk-on Matt Masker.

“I think Matt Masker’s taken a live football snap more recently than anyone we have,” Frost quipped. That’s actually almost a true statement. Starter Adrian Martinez missed his entire senior season of high school rehabbing a shoulder injury … but he did play in the Under Armour All-America game.

While CU may not have game tape on Martinez (other than from his junior year in high school, and whatever Nebraska was willing to divulge in their generic Spring Game), it would be a safe bet that the Buff defensive coaches will try and throw stunts, blitzes and never-seen-before pressures on the new Cornhusker signal-caller.

The rest of the Nebraska offense is in fairly decent shape.

The top rushers and receivers from 2017 are back, including one of the Big Ten’s best 1-2 wideout combos in Stanley Morgan and J.D. Spielman.

These aren’t Tom Osborne’s Huskers on offense, though. At least not yet.

Nebraska ran for just 107.5 yards per game last season, and is still lacking an elite back (junior college transfer Greg Bell may be the answer here). The offensive line returns four starters, but, as CU fans have learned, experience doesn’t necessarily translate to improved play.

The Nebraska defense last year was awful … almost as bad as Colorado’s defense.

The Cornhuskers gave up 436.2 yards per game (CU gave up 450.6). The defense gave up 5.57 yards per rush, with the opposition gaining over five yards on almost half (46.8%) of all carries (second-worst percentage in the FBS).

Seven starters return, including the entire defensive line. But, of course, it is to be determined if that is good news or bad news. The secondary has some talented starters, but the depth is thin, and may prove a liability by season’s end.

Nebraska fifth-year seniors will be playing for their third defense coordinator, though the base 3-4 defense remains. Coordinator Erik Chinander’s “no fear of failure, let it loose” approach is in marked contrast to the bend-but-don’t-break approach the Cornhuskers played under last year.

The Cornhuskers’ focus will be to try and force turnovers (under Chinander last season, UCF was second in the nation in takeaways, with 32)

Translation: Nebraska will try and use pressure – and 90,000 rabid fans – to try and rattle the CU offense. “You really can’t (prepare),” said CU quarterback Steven Montez, “but the crowd noise doesn’t really effect you too much once you get locked in. You know it is loud, but in your mind and in your ears, you don’t really hear it too much.”

If Montez & Co. can stay focused, there should be some opportunities for some big plays as the Nebraska defense sells out trying to make big plays of their own.

 

I – Intangibles

The renewal of the Colorado/Nebraska rivalry is huge for Buff fans.

For the players? … Not so much.

Most of the players on both sides of the ball were in elementary school the last time the two teams played.

Mention: “Sal is dead. Go Big Red” to current player, and you’ll get a blank stare.

Left guard Brett Tonz has never played against the Huskers, but said being a sports fan and a Buff have given him and his teammates some knowledge of the history.

“I don’t know as much as some of the older Colorado football players and alums,” said Tonz. “But I’ve definitely been a huge sports guy, and I kind of kept up with the rivalries in college football and the pros. I know kind of the bad blood and what it really means. This game, it means a lot.”

Said linebacker Nate Landman: “I was talking to Coach Hagan (running backs coach Darian Hagan) today and he said he never lost to them, so hopefully we are going to keep that tradition up. I’m excited. It’s going to be a big game with a huge crowd. I’m excited.”

I’m not even convinced that the game means as much to Nebraska fans as it does to Buff fans. Ask a Cornhusker fanatic if he would rather have a win this year over Colorado or over Wisconsin, my guess would be that the answer would be the Badgers.

Ask a Buff fan if he would rather have a win over Nebraska or a win over Washington?

I’m going with Nebraska as the answer you would receive.

 

P – Preparation/Schedule 

The shoe is on the other foot.

Last week, Mike MacIntyre, as he had the year before, bemoaned the fact that Colorado State had the opportunity to play a game before the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

“That gives them a big advantage, at least at the beginning of the game for sure,” MacIntyre said of the Rams getting a game in before the Buffs. “We’re going to have to find a way get the tempo of the game … Hopefully we’ll be able to come out of the gates fast, but that gives them a huge advantage, to me. I’m concerned about that.”

Okay, now the Buffs have the benefit of playing a game before the opposition. Nebraska’s game against Akron was cancelled due to thunderstorms, making the Colorado game the Nebraska season-opener.

So, a clear “huge advantage” for the Buffs … right, coach?

“They haven’t played a game yet so that gives us a little bit of an advantage having played already,” Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre said on Monday. “The other side of it, though, is we’ve never seen them play (for this staff) at Nebraska. All (the film) we’ve watched is Central Florida film and (Nebraska’s) spring game. I was hoping to get a little film on them. They got a little film on us with different things we’re doing.”

I do believe the Buffs gained an advantage in the Cornhuskers losing Akron as an opening game opponent.

My beef with playing CSU as the first game of the season has always been that it gives the Rams a month to prepare for their Super Bowl game against the Buffs, an advantage which is mitigated when they play a “Week Zero” game.

Nebraska hasn’t been game-planning for Colorado for the past month. While certainly some film work this summer went into getting the team ready for the Buffs, the focus the past few weeks had to be on Akron.

Last year, Akron did not win a game out of conference, and lost to Penn State 52-0 and Florida Atlantic 50-3. Just the sort of opponent you would like to have a as a first-year head coach with a first-year quarterback.

Colorado certainly ups the ante for the Cornhuskers as they game plan for the first game of the Scott Frost era in Lincoln.

 

S – Statistics

Let’s enjoy these while we can, shall we?

After CU’s 45-13 domination of Colorado State, the Buffs are ranked highly in a number of significant categories:

– 1st in the Pac-12 (and 21st nationally) in passing offense (338.0 ypg.);
– 1st in the Pac-12 (and 16th nationally) in total offense (596.0 ypg.);
– 3rd in the Pac-12 in both rushing offense (258.8 ypg.) and scoring offense (45.0 ppg.);
– 3rd in the Pac-12 (and 34th nationally) in rushing defense (103.0 ypg.);
– 4th in the Pac-12 (and 25th nationally) in scoring defense (13.0 ppg.)

In addition, Steven Montez is first in the nation in completion percentage (22-of-25, 88.0%) and third in the nation in passing efficiency. Laviska Shenault is second in the nation in all-pupose yardage (216.0 ypg.) and fourth in the nation in receptions (11.0 rpg.).

Also, while not entirely relevant, the stats below are worth noting for Buff fans trying to fend off rabid Husker fans with whom they may be forced to deal this week:

Nebraska 2017 national rankings:

– 119th in rushing offense (107.5 ypg.);
– 114th in rushing defense (214.8 ypg.);
– 100th in total defense (436.2 ypg.);
– 115th in scoring defense (36.4 ppg.);
– 128th in tackles for loss (3.7 per game);
– 118th in sacks (14 all season);
– 115th in turnovers gained (12 all season).

Food for thought as Buff fans try and remember that Nebraska went 4-8 last season … and didn’t look particularly good getting there.

Prediction …

Can Scott Frost make that much of a difference?

Can Frost turn around the Nebraska program, and lead the Cornhuskers to their first conference title since 1999?

The Husker Nation clearly believes so.

Pundits agree, but don’t see it happening right away. Nebraska’s five road games in 2018 are: Michigan; Wisconsin; Northwestern; Ohio State; and Iowa … not a formula for a trip to the Big Ten title game.

Still, prognosticators are bullish on Frost:

Athlon (ranking Frost as the No. 1 of 21 new hires): “There are no guarantees in the world of college football, but will be a significant surprise if Frost does not return Nebraska to national prominence”.

Lindy’s: “If there are 100 rankings of college football coaching hires out there, then there are 100 with Frost and Nebraska right at the very top. This is a once-in-a-lifetime hire”.

Street and Smith’s: “Frost is a dynamic personality who flipped UCF from winless to undefeated in two seasons. If he has the same impact in Lincoln, then it won’t be long until the Huskers are competing for Big Ten titles”.

Colorado plays Nebraska in 2018 and 2019 (in Boulder), then again in 2023 (Boulder) and 2024 (Lincoln).

If the pundits are correct, then it behooves the Buffs to get the Cornhuskers while they are down, because they won’t be down long.

After watching the Buffs this past Friday, I believe that can happen.

Yes, Colorado State is down this year, but the Buffs made it look easy. How easy? “We obviously didn’t run very much of the offense,” said Steven Montez of the CU domination. “I thought that was fairly obvious”.

Last week, the watchword was patience: Could the Buffs handle the emotion of the moment? Could the Buffs take care of business early and not allow the Ram players to gain any confidence that the Hawai’i game was the anomaly?

Yes. And Yes.

This weekend, the watchword is poise.

Can the Buffs handle the crowd and the inevitable adversity which will come on Saturday afternoon? Can the Buffs prove that 2017 was their anomalous season, not the  2016 season?

Ten days ago, I would have said: Nebraska 34, Colorado 27 (adding yet another frustrating loss for the Buffs in the CU/Nebraska series). True freshman Adrian Martinez would have had a game under his belt, and be better acclimated to playing at the Power-Five conference level.

Now? … I’m going with the Buffs’ momentum from their opening win. I’m also figuring that even the great Scott Frost will be leery about what his true freshman quarterback can handle in his first game in almost two years. This will help keep the Nebraska offense in check, giving the Buffs their chance at national acclaim (and votes in next week’s Associated Press top 25 poll) …

Colorado 31, Nebraska 24.

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26 Replies to “CU at Nebraska Preview – “T.I.P.S.” for Buffs’ Trip to Lincoln”

  1. I am so freaking jacked for this game. I mean really, how often do you have an opportunity like this. The Buffs can 1. Beat the Red for the first time since 2007 2. spoil what fans call the second coming that is Frosty 3.completely ruin the first game under their new coach and 3. win in Lincoln. I can’t tell you how satisfying this win would be. Game of the year. Biggest game in 8 years.

    #saynotofrostedcornflakes #therealblackshirts

    31-21 Black and Gold
    Go Buffs!

  2. CU 31 Nebraska 21…CU hasn’t played well on the road in the past so I’m hesitant to get too excited about the game. Hoping that Landman and the rest of the defense will be flying around making plays. I think the game will be close but the Buffs will pull away in the 2nd half with a heavy dose of Laviska, KD, Winfree and McMillian.

    GO BUFFS!!!!

  3. Ode to Korn.
    Written Ocotber 2011
    Small update 9-6-2018
    First Published October 2011 in The BuffZone

    sittn’ in the morning sun

    I’ll be sittn’ cause in linkn I’m scum

    watching the korn trucks roll in

    and watch em roll away again, yeah

    sittn’ by the mountain of korn

    waiting for the granary horn

    ooh, I’m squatting on the edge of my seat

    watching the kreamers get beat

    I’m a loser kream fan yes I am,

    and the n proves with nowledge I can

    ooh, I’m just sitting on a mountain of korn

    watching my life fade away in the morn.

    Looks like nothings gonna change,

    I’m a kream boy with no nowledge in my brain

    I can’t do what Frosty tells me to do

    so I gues I’ll just be a loser again.

    living the big red lie

    Korn Holer academics can make one cry

    Kicked out of the AAU

    They say we are dumb and it’s true

    sittn’ in the morning smell

    I’ll be sittn’ cause linkn is hell

    watching the korn trucks roll in

    and watch em roll away again, yeah

    Hate em…………Really I do.

    Kornkob kornholers fans playing squat tag in the asparagus patch being enhanced with nowledge from Korkob Kommunity Kollege….. SKI KNEBRASKA

  4. The Nubs can’t stack the box because our receivers are too fast and talented for them to do that. So a solid dose of running backs should net a couple hundred yards on the ground and The Buffs win going away 35 to 14 GO BUFFS!

  5. So, golden-boy coach and a full stadium vs. the better, more experienced team ? Get real.
    Frostbite isnt playing, neither are the 90k screaming uglies.
    How does any pundit or fan base not see the obvious ? Between the lines, the Buffs are more experienced, faster and more disciplined. This is only close if the Buffs beat themselves.

  6. Just the fact of playin’ in Stinkin Linkin makes me shudder….. Put 10 pts for the KornKobs on the scoreboard before the players take the field. There’s sooooo much FakeSportsNews Prognostication, it almost makes me think of NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and MSNBC. How much is that worth ?… 10 Pts….13 Pts ? Who the hell knows…. but, it factors in. Little things. Full-house for the annual Spring Game. (Really?) Crazy fans who cli**x everytime they see a threshing machine and pee their pants going through the turnstiles at Memorial Stadium. Oh Sh**.

    I can almost see popcorn flying everywhere when NE completes a pass. Don’t know if my cardiologist would even want me watching this thing….. I’ve never been so stoked about the potential of a season for our Buffs since the M1 era. Would love to see a half-empty Memorial Stadium going into the 4th quarter.

    BUFFS 35 – KornKob Wipes 27

      1. VK you spell it the way you want…. have to admit, yours might sound more phonetic. I just tuk a stab at it. The first time I heard it was on KOA by Lou from Littleton….. now don’t tell me he heard it from you. 🙂 I always liked listening to Lou….. does anyone know what happened to him ?

  7. Does anyone else see parallels between Frost’s hiring and Hawkin’s? I’m not comparing the men or their abilities, just the circumstances.

    1. I see clear parrallels between:
      Osbo/Frosty and withered old man with a toy poodle
      Husker fans and a delusional doomsday cult
      The state of Nuh-braska and a used chamber pot
      Frosbo and the little kid crying in the 62-36 video

    2. Nope.

      The Difference.
      Frost brought his OC with him. And Frost was and OC.

      Hawkins was……………I don’t know what he was.

      Go Buffs.

      Note: Do you know where Hawkins OC is now?

  8. I watched the Auburn – UDub game last Sat. and it was in Atlanta (close enough to be real Auburn Country). The crowd was loud and crazy to start the game and Auburn came out all pumped up and it looked like they would run away with it as the players were really wired. Once all that dissipated by the end of the first Qtr or into the 2nd it became a ball game. UDub lost because either they had Lingering on conference call or a decibel of him calling the plays in the Red Zone.

    My point is that if CU hangs in there for the first half and doesn’t let the crowd etc get to them, they can compete in this game. They did it a couple years ago at Michigan until they lost Sefo and I think they are certainly capable of winning this thing it they just keep their heads about them. Also the coaches must work to be the steadying influence and not also panic.

    1. Ugh that Michigan game. Good point there.

      Thing is: Michigan was a legit title contender (so people thought) at the time, and CU came out and smacked them in the mouth and jumped out to a solid lead in the first half.

      Nebraska is hardly even a bowl game contender.

  9. I hate to bring this up but everybody seems to have forgotten how CSU tore Oregon State limb from limb in week 0 last year and then totally fell on their face when they played CU. I’m keeping in mind that the refs were extremely kind to the Buffs. CU had game 0 film on CSU vs OSU and it was great for one quarter. I have a good feeling about this game but I also feel that Nebraska will show a lot of improvement from last season to this season just like the Buffs did. I’m going with CU 35 NU 24. Go Buffs!

  10. Yo Stuart,

    Nice write up, as always. I’m hoping the Buffs take Bill McCartney to Lincoln with them for a fiery pregame talk. The guy is a an amazing motivational speaker.

    For those who think the Buffs have too much talent and experience to lose this game, look at the words of McCartney below:

    “We have to inspire them. The morale is to the physical as four as to one. It is four times as important your attitude, as it is your actual physical ability. If you think you can or can’t, you’re right. Big dreams create the magic that stirs men’s souls.”

    Frost is an outstanding young coach, and he has that rare ability to use his words to inspire his men. It’s an amazing gift, and not to be underestimated. Will he turn the Fuskers around in one week? No way. Will he have them playing full out and fired up? Absolutely.

    I think the Buff should win this one. They now have the guys on the sideline who inspire the players. It hasn’t always been that way since MacIntyre showed up, but I believe it’s far better this year than last.

    Hoping that the Buffs go out and show that 2017 was the anomaly and that 2016 was more like what we should expect this far into Mac II’s reign.

    Go Buffs!

    Mark
    Golden Buff

  11. R U kidding me? The cornhuskers are coming off a 4-8 season and rank near the bottom of all statistical categories during the 2017 season. They have a true freshman quarterback that hasn’t played a game since the end of his junior year in HIGH SCHOOL. Rob and CJ….you think The corn can stay within a touchdown of the Buffs. CU’s defense is for real. It all starts with the D- line and those guys are 100% better than last year. Throw in all world N. Landman and that stout backend to our defense and the Huskers will have a hard time finding 17 points. With that being said, watch Coach Chiav work his magic with the offense. I’m going with 48-17 score!! Go Buffs

  12. 99 to 0!

    Ok, it probably won’t be that much of a smack down, but I think the Buffs roll.

    I will be very interested to see how CU’s lines handle the corn fed boys. They’re bigger, in general, but probably not as agile as our Buffs. Can CU’s offensive line hold their own? I’m banking on it.

    I think the new-found speed on defense will be hard for Martinez to overcome.

    Can CU stop the run behind a big offensive line? I bet we’ll find out pretty quickly. And, I think the answer will be yes. The Buffs have big guys (280-320lbs) who can move and a couple 220lb guys who can fly.

    Will Chev et al try to run Travon and Kyle inside more (and Beau too)? They’ll probably have to do more inside runs, than the short passing stuff in the flat and jet sweeps we saw against CSU. Since Frost also runs that type of offense, working the edges, I’d expect NU’s defense to handle that better than CSU did.

    Meanwhile, with Montez’ new found ability to actually read defenses and react appropriately, I think he’ll be able to get them into the right plays more often than not and expose whatever holes NU’s defense leaves open.

    The narrative, however, will still be that Nebraska’s adjusting to their new culture, they’re improving, and on the right track, it’s a process, blah blah blah. Not how CU dominated. Again.

    It won’t be until we beat USC that the national media starts paying any attention. And? That’s actually a really good thing, for this team.

    Go Buffs.

  13. Frost is the factor, too many unknowns besides the inexperience of the QB position. The defense should thrive after the initial crowd factor they will face..
    CU 37 Neb 19

  14. I also feel that the Huskers not playing Akron flips this one in favor of the Buffs but not by much.

    CU 35 Neb 31

    The unknown with Nebraska’s O will catch the Buffs off guard a few times but it should not be enough to counteract the Buffs O against a bad D which will doesn’t get corrected overnight.

    Go Buffs!!!

  15. I just imagine that if the shoe was on the other foot, and CU was exactly where the Fuskers are with a freshman QB, new coach, blah, blah………there would be no chance of a home team win.
    Scooter Frost – aka Husker-Jesus – is just a coach. They have some talent, but not alot. Some depth, but it is thin. They have ALOT of work to do on that team.

    Any margin of victory this week is good for CU. They are the better team right now.
    Any loss – under the circumstances Corn-U is currently in – is unacceptable.

    They dont have Viska\Winfree…..or a junior QB…..or Landman…….or a deep secondary….or a RB who has played above JUCO.

    Buffs straight up by double digits. And it wont be that close. Chev wont want to pump the brakes, but MM will, keeping it a ‘respectable’ 14-17 point victory.

  16. I watched a little of the spring game and I think that our offense is going to shine. It is going to come down to our defense slowing their offense down. I am betting that it will. I don’t think we will be able to rattle the freshman qb but I think we will put enough pressure on him to keep his accuracy down and enough discipline and speed to limit their running game. 31-27.

  17. As we’ve learned too many times ourselves, you can’t turn around a terrible defense in a single offseason. Even the almost-legendary Jim Leavitt took a couple years to transform CU’s defense (and Oregon’s, for that matter). For a less-optimistic example, look at CSU’s new defensive staff.

    CU looked very good on offense, and they got away with showing only one interesting thing: that Laviska Shenault is almost unstoppable in space, and that the jet sweep is still a good play for an athlete of his caliber. This forces Nebraska to base their game plan around him, which allows Chev to unleash his other weapons.

    I think CU rolls on offense, and Nebraska’s own offense isn’t quite ready for big time yet. Besides, it’s not like Scott Frost’s offense is something totally unique that would take the Buffs by surprise. They’re not running the wishbone or something.

    Buffs 34 Huskers 17

  18. I am going to agree with the 31-24 Buff win, provided of they dont fall behind and 70 thousand shrieking farmers dont get under their skin

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