It is the middle of July.
Baseball seasons are winding down and the heat of the summer is taking over. There is also a noticeable lull in the excitement of the upcoming University of Nebraska football season. That was bound to happen. We can’t stay highly excited and motivated all the time. We need a chance to catch our collective breaths before the Huskers kick it off against Akron on Sept. 1 in Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium.
There is almost a “business as usual” feeling surrounding the upcoming 2018 Nebraska football season. The new coaching staff is in place, led by the hometown hero in head coach Scott Frost, who is supposed to put Nebraska back into the top 10 the moment he first steps foot along the sideline for his first game at the helm.
The guys who are supposed to know better than anyone how the upcoming season will play out are picking Nebraska to win between five and seven games in 2018. Most publications are tempering the enthusiasm that Husker fans have been trying to flame up for the past several months by pointing out the obvious -- Nebraska will be playing many of the same players that made up a 4-8 team in 2017 and the daunting schedule the Huskers will face in 2018 has been listed by many as being the toughest in the country.
Of course, the huge difference between now and a year ago in Scott Frost himself. Mike Riley was a good man, but a less-than-average coach. Bill Callahan, Bo Pelini and Mike Riley have had success at some points in their careers, but they never did grasp the “Husker tradition … the Nebraska way of life.” Not only does Frost grasp it, he nurtures it, appreciates it, understands it and lives it.
This lull is giving us a chance to fully prepare for what is about to happen in Lincoln. None of us know what lies on the horizon and beyond when it comes to how this Scott Frost era will play out. Most Nebraska fans have been dreaming of conference title game showdowns and appearances in the NCAA playoffs. Those could very well be in the bright future of Nebraska football, but we shouldn’t be disappointed if it takes a year or five to fully turn things around and make the Huskers a national football power again.
The excitement level will begin rising again like a thermometer on a sweltering July afternoon. There is good reason for that optimism. The new offense will be exciting. If you watched any of the UCF games last season, the dizzying speed of that offense had defenses reeling and playing on their heels most of the time. And their version of an attacking 3-4 defense made Nebraska’s defense of a year ago look very vanilla. Once the right pieces are put in place, this will be an incredibly exciting team to watch, but even the most die-hard Husker football fans have to realize that it will take time. Heck, it has been 21 years since Nebraska last won a national title so a few more season to reach the zenith of college football once again should seem like not time at all.
Yes, let’s take a moment to catch our breath during this short lull before pre-season drills begin in Lincoln because the excitement that promises to be in the future of the once mighty UNL football program will be here before we know it.