It's mailbag time. So, no time to tarry.
Let's do it.
Where do you rank these in order of likelihood to happen first? Huskers win A) B1G football champ., B) NCAA b-ball tourney game, or C) CWS game.— Jason Snyder (@jasthis seasononsnyder00) November 14, 2017
I feel safe with this: 1. NCAA basketball tournament win; 2. Big Ten football championship win; 3. CWS win. Reasoning? There's clear urgency for Nebraska to reach the NCAA Tournament this season, as sixth-year head coach Tim Miles may have to reach the Dance in order to retain his job for the 2018-19 season. He surely understands that expectation.
What's more, he's got a decent roster with a talented junior class of James Palmer, Glynn Watson, Isaac Copeland and Jack McVeigh. Plus, Jordy Tshimanga and Isaiah Roby are sophomores. If the Huskers don't reach the Dance and win a game this season, next season would seem a decent bet for it to happen, new coach or not (taking into account, of course, the possibility of transfers).
As for football, with the right head coach (i.e., Scott Frost), it's conceivable that Nebraska could rise quickly in the manageable Big Ten West Division and put itself within an upset of winning all the marbles. Meanwhile, in baseball's postseason setup, a team has to clear several hurdles (regionals, super regionals) to even be in position for a CWS triumph. I'm a fan of Darin Erstad. I hope he can push his program forward in a big way in the next couple of seasons.
If Nebraska fired Mike Riley after the Penn State game, who in your opinion would be the interim head coach for the final game?— alanthebanker (@alanthebanker) November 14, 2017
It's a moot point because we now know unequivocally that Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos will retain Riley until the end of the regular season (Moos on Monday told ESPN that Riley "deserved" to finish out the season). In addition, Moos has said he thinks firing a coach during a season could contribute to athletes losing focus — a valid concern.
Even so, I'll entertain your question because I've had this conversation with several readers. Bottom line, I can't help but wonder if part of the reason Moos is retaining Riley through the Iowa game stems from knowing the Big Red fan base wants offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf and defensive coordinator Bob Diaco gone as much as it wants Riley gone.
Ponder Diaco a moment. Considering his propensity for making wild comments to media, it would be a significant managerial error to make him the interim. Remember, we're talking about a Power Five program that retains a strong sense of pride about its history and brand. A Husker athletic director has to be forever mindful of that brand. I've heard folks toss out John Parrella as a possibility for the interim role. Seriously? His only head coaching experience is at a high school in California. Before coming to Nebraska, he had never even coached as an assistant in the FBS.
In your career covering the Huskers. Biggest disappointment as a coach and player? most shocking loss?— Josh Jones (@ryanGBR32) November 14, 2017
I hesitate to single out a player (although, OK, I often wonder how good Richie Incognito could've gotten if not for the issues that ended his college career prematurely — he possessed the talent to be an All-American in multiple seasons). As for the coach part of your question, I'll let that be for now.
The most shocking loss was in 2007 against eighth-ranked Kansas. Stay with me on this. Kansas was favored because Nebraska was in a remarkable tailspin. Even so, I found it to be extremely difficult putting that game — the final score was 76-39! — into perspective that day. The Blackshirts surrendered 76 points to Kansas, a team that Nebraska dominated for years and years. I don't care how quickly and remarkably Bill Callahan's program was nose-diving, allowing 76 points was shocking.
Thing is, Kansas could've easily scored more that day. I remember thinking it felt like I was watching an Arena League game. I had an awful headache as I wrote that column — not because of a hangover but because I struggled to understand what the hell I was watching.
OK, that's enough for one day. Thanks for the great questions.