Nebraska Football: Coulda Been a Contendah?

Big Red NetworkSenior Writer IJuly 2, 2008

On Tuesday afternoon I was driving home from work listening to Kansas City sports talk radio.  Local sports talk personality Kevin Kietzman was discussing Big 12 recruiting with well-known college football analyst Jeremy Crabtree.  They were mainly covering the topic of in-state prospects.

It was obvious that they had quite an admiration for Gary Pinkel and his ability to lock up in-state recruits so quickly.  When turning towards the many wide receivers Missouri is trying to snatch up, they did, however, say something that quite intrigued me.

The name of the particular receiver was garbled in static as I crossed the Broadway Bridge, but they said he was not a lock, and in fact Nebraska had a good shot at him.  What happened next was amazing.

Nothing.  The topic did not lead to a complete tirade on the Husker's 2009 recruiting tactics so far.

No complaints about the lack of four- and five-star recruits Nebraska is trying to get.  No yelling about the lack of offers Bo Pelini is giving out.  No whining that they'd rather have one stars that work hard compared to a five star that has "bad work ethic."

The conversation actually went on into a civilized discussion about all the recruiting efforts of the Big 12 schools.

Now I'm not here to stir up the recruiting pot (I'm such a liar), but outside of the state, nobody sees a team recruiting effort imploding.  Nebraska is just like everyone else—they've got a shot at much of the really good talent out there.  There is so much time between now and 2009 signing day.

Of course, I look at Oklahoma and Texas and wish we could continually guarantee the same caliber of recruits that just walk through their doors year in and year out—but where would the fun be in that?

Nebraskans and Husker fans don't just judge a coach and team on a winning effort—they have to win the recruiting game as well.  I think it's worth about three games to us.

If Pelini goes 7-5 like the Hot Seat predicts, his record in the minds of fans will be different.  Knock recruiting out in the third round and fans see the contendah at 10-5, but be a bum and the people see 7-8.

I think he'll go about "2-1" in recruiting, and we should expect to see returns on the time invested in many of the players he has picked up.