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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Nebraska Cornhuskers 2018 Spring Game is SOLD OUT and Will be Broadcast Live on the Big Ten Network

It's official as Husker football news:
the April 21, 2018 Nebraska Cornhuskers
Red-White 2018 Spring Game is sold out
and will be aired live on the Big Ten Network.

Nebraska's Memorial Stadium has a capacity of 87,091.
It is the first sold out Husker football Spring Game ever.
Quite a deal for a team scrimmage!

Local and nationwide interest in Nebraska football has skyrocketed since the start of a new University of Nebraska sports era with new Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos and his hiring of new football head coach Scott Frost and staff, together with their signing of a talented 2018 Class of recruits, plus a bevy of promising Nebraska in-state walk-ons. All these developments have led to excited optimism about the Big Red future.

More importantly, add to this the exceptional culture, football savvy and game modernity that was showcased by Frost and Staff at UCF and you have the unmistakable makings of a winner.

Big Red Rising

"Reasonable" Expectations for the 2018 Nebraska Football Season Based on the Scott Frost & Coaching Staff UCF Track Record

"Reasonable" Expectations for the 2018 Nebraska Football Season Based on the Scott Frost & Coaching Staff UCF Track Record

The buoyant optimism that currently marks Nebraska football expectations is surely justified, but just how good will the Huskers be in 2018? What improvement can "reasonably" be expected of the Cornhuskers?

To get a more objective handle on the answer to that question, we turned to our proven major predictive variable: which is team yards per play stats viz. NAYPPA (net average yards per play advantage -- read more here).

Scott Frost Coaching Staff Track Record at the Central Florida Knights:

Scott Frost and Staff inherited a 2015 UCF Knights team that went winless, posting a 0-12 won-loss record.

The 2015 Central Florida Knights scored 13.9 points per game and had 37.7 points per game scored against them, a negative difference of 23.8 points per game.

The 2015 Knights averaged 4.12 yards per play on offense and allowed 6.54 yards per play on defense, a negative net difference of minus 2.42 yards per play. Experience has shown that one-tenth of a yards per play difference can be equated to 1 scoreboard point, so we multiply minus 2.42 by 10 in our to equate that to ca. 24.2 scoreboard points, which in fact turns out to be a close approximation of the actual scoring difference of 23.8 points in 2015.

Now let us look at the development of these stats at UCF in 2016 and 2017, the years of the Scott and Staff UCF era, as compared to 2015:


YEAR..Won-Lost...Scoring...............Yards Per Play offense defense diff

2015...0-12.........13.9-37.7...diff -23.8...4.12ypp...6.54ypp... -2.42 ypp

Scott Frost hired as head coach by AD Danny White....for 2016 season

YEAR..Won-Lost...Scoring...............Yards Per Play offense defense diff

2016...6-7...........28.8-24.6...diff +4.2...4.68ypp...4.78ypp... -0.10 ypp
2017...13-0........48.2-25.3...diff +22.9..7.46ypp...5.74ypp... +1.72ypp

The NAYPPA improvement of 4.14 yards per play in two years is fabulous, equatable in our system (when multiplied by 10) to a net theoretical improvement of 41.4 points per game, i.e. about 6 touchdowns (plus PAT) PER GAME. In other words, the UCF 13-0 undefeated season was not "luck". The 2017 Knights were a championship quality team.


Now let us look at some stats of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Below are the ypp and scoring stats for the Huskers over the last 2 decades, in selected years:

1997 national champions. Scott Frost was the NU quarterback, and it was the last Tom Osborne NU football head coaching year, a year in which Nebraska coincidentally also played UCF (winning 38-24) in a season that started with a game against Akron, who will be the first opponent this coming 2018 season (see the 2018 schedule).

YEAR..Won-Lost...Scoring...............Yards Per Play offense defense diff
(diff= difference, ypp = yards per play)

1997...13-0.........47.1-16.4...diff +30.7....6.6ypp...4.3ypp... +2.3ypp
2003 ...10-3.........24.8-14.5...diff +10.3....4.9ypp...4.4ypp...  +0.5ypp
(head coach fired -- scoring diff 20 points less than 1997, ypp 18 points less)
2007 ...5-7..........33.4-37.9 ...diff  -4.5 .....6.3ypp ...6.1ypp... +0.2ypp
(head coach fired, 5-7 record)
2014 ...9-4.......... 37.8-26.4...diff +11.4.....6.22ypp...5.37ypp...+0.85ypp
(head coach fired, 9-4 record)
2016 ... 9-4.......... 26.5-23.9...diff +2.6...... 5.36ypp...5.53ypp...-0.17ypp
(the 2016 ypp stats indicate that the won-loss record did not tell the tale)
2017 ...4-8..........25.8-36.4....diff -10.6.....5.59ypp...6.34ypp...-0.75ypp
(head coach fired, 4-8 record)

The Husker NAYPPA, "net average yards per play advantage" of offense over defense, within two decades thus dropped a significant 3.05 yards per play, multiplied by 10 making the Huskers a theoretical 30.5 scoreboard points worse per game in 2017 than in 1997 and in fact the average scoring differential on the scoreboard was 41.3 points worse in 2017 than 1997. It must be noted here that the 2016 season may have given a more accurate scoreboard differential, while the 2017 team faded badly at the end, exacerbating the bad stats.

Scott Frost hired as head coach by AD Bill Moos....for 2018 season

2018 ... ???? what will be ????

If Scott Frost and his coaching staff have similar success at Nebraska as they did at UCF, it can be expected that the yards per play stats will improve considerably in 2018, quite apart from the won-loss record that emerges, where serendipity elements of schedule and fortune can play a large role.

The question is: what is a "reasonable" prediction for yards per play improvement as regards a Husker offense that in yards per play was "about average" in FBS in 2017 (67th out of 130 teams) and a defense that was "far below average" in yards per play in FBS in 2017 (112th out of 130 teams). Combine those two stats, and Nebraska ranked about 90th in FBS in 2017.

DEFENSE: If Scott Frost and his coaching staff can bring the defense at least back to "average" ... i.e. a defensive yards per play stat of ca. 5.6 yards per play, that would equate to one TD (plus PAT) per game. To improve by two TDs per game via defense alone, that stat of yards permitted to the opposite team would have to be reduced to ca. 4.9 yards per play.

OFFENSE: If Scott Frost and his coaching staff can bring the offense to "above average", and this is surely a conservative estimate, that would be an offensive yards per play stat of ca. 6.3 yards per play, equivalent to an improvement over 2017 of one TD (plus PAT) per game. To improve by two TDs per game via offense alone, yards per play would have to go to ca. 7.0 ypp.

We think that a conservative expectation for 2018 is an improvement of one TD per game via defense and one TD per game via offense, or a total improvement of 14 points per game over 2017 and a total NAYPPA improvement of 1.4. That might not look like much, but it would put the team rating and ranking near ca. 25th in the nation. Any improvement better than 1.4 NAYPPA in the 2018 season would put Nebraska in the Top 20. If the Huskers were to improve as much in 2018 as UCF did on average in their two years of Scott Frost head coaching, then they would catapult into the Top 10.

Nevertheless, a slower improvement over several years is the more realistic expectation. We shall see, and it should be great fun for Husker Nation.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Under Armour All-America Game MVP Maurice Washington Commits to Nebraska - Rivals Reports

College football recruiting is an important element for prediction of later team success on the football field, but the exact pre-college rankings of individual players is an educated guess at best, even if the totality of a team's recruited player class gives some idea as to the potential of that recruitment class.

A good example of the difficulty of individual ranking is the article reporting that All-American phenom Maurice Washington commits to Nebraska.

Maurice Washington's decision to become a Husker is a great feather in the cap of the University of Nebraska, who, in the short period under new football head coach Scott Frost and staff, after departing UCF, jumped incredibly from 89th to 21st place (or 22nd by the 247 sports composite, while Bleacher Report dropped the ball entirely) in the 2018 recruiting rankings.

Indeed, Maurice Washington was not even ranked among the top 250 recruitment players at Rivals, but came on to win the MVP at the Under Armour All-America game. Player rankings are by no means determinative of player potential. Thank goodness for that. There is plenty of room for development and for the input of coaching staffs to improve their teams.

Just consider that such a dominant force as Ndamukong Suh was only rated the 51st best prospect in the Class of 2005 and only the 6th best at his position. Of course, Suh turned out to be a singular talent as a lineman.

Player ratings and rankings provide a good general guide as to whether a school is recruiting players with good college football potential. However, some lower ranked or completely unheralded players will surface to greatness during their college careers while many top-ranked high school players will not necessarily live up to overly high expectations. College days are days of growth and development. Who can predict what they will bring?

We read that during the Tom Osborne head-coached years of Nebraska football, when the Cornhuskers perched atop the college football hierarchy, the Big Red never had a recruiting class that was ranked above 7th overall.

Obviously, there are many OTHER factors other than player pre-college ranking that come into play in determining college football champions -- as we saw in the undefeated UCF 2017 college football "championship" season.

Good luck to all, regardless of how many stars are pinned on chests before a college game has yet been played. The proof is always in the pudding. In the last analysis, performance on the field and not paper prognostications count.

We are looking forward to the 2018 Husker season, where we expect Scott Frost and staff to continue the strong modern offense-oriented game that they showcased at UCF, combined with a potentially greatly upgraded Class 2018 pass defense. If the Cornhuskers are destined to return to college football prominence, as seems to be the case under Scott Frost based on his first two months on the job, it will be interesting to see how long a full resurgence will take. Can the Big Red win 10 games in 2018? We now think it to be possible.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Maurice Washington, Under Armour All America Game MVP, Commits to Huskers

Running back Maurice Washington, MVP of the Under Armour All-America football game, has committed to the Huskers 2018 Class, giving the Cornhuskers, Scott Frost and staff, U of N, and the nationwide Nebraska fan base a resounding recruiting win of a potentially great future player heading into Frost's first season as Big Red head coach for a storied Nebraska football program ready to rise again to the top. Nebraska can surely look forward to exciting days ahead in Huskerland in the coming season.

Sky Earth Native America

Sky Earth Native America 1 :
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2 :
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.


    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically
    in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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