Nebraska Football: Where Will the 2010 Cornhuskers Fit in Husker History?
Admittedly, it’s a little early to say just where the 2010 edition of Nebraska football will fit in the history books.
Assuming the Cornhuskers win out, it would be an impressive season for not only Nebraska, but Bo Pelini’s finest since taking the head coaching job in 2008.
Where would 2010 rank? Let’s have a look.
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No. 10: 2010
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Better early than never when ranking the greats.
This is assuming that the 2010 Huskers win out, of course. If they can, they will have only one loss to their name, a Big 12 title and a BCS bowl win.
The latter two would be the first of head coach Bo Pelini’s career. The year has been defined by wunderkind Taylor Martinez.
The best part is that he's merely a freshman and the sky is the limit for his development.
No. 9: 1993
There’s nothing like controversy to make for a good national championship argument.
In the Orange Bowl, Florida State’s William Floyd’s fumble came as he crossed the goal line, and the touchdown call stood. The Seminoles won 18-16.
This may have cost Tom Osborne his first national championship.
The 1993 Cornhuskers spent the entire season in the top 10, defeating No. 16 Oklahoma and No. 20 Colorado before falling to the No. 1 team in the land.
No. 8: 1982
These Cornhuskers mirror 2010 to an extent.
An loss to a bitter rival (27-24 Penn State), a few narrow escapes (28-24 vs. No. 11 Oklahoma, 23-19 vs. Missouri) and some outright blowouts.
Nebraska capped the 1982 season with a one point win over Louisiana State in the Orange Bowl.
The No. 8 Nittany Lions were the fly in the ointment of a season that saw the Cornhuskers beat three top 20 teams.
Nebraska’s average margin of victory was an amazing 41-12.
No. 7: 1999
If you’re a fan of defense, this team’s for you.
The last Nebraska team to hold a Big 12 Championship had sophomore sensation Eric Crouch at the helm.
Helping him were some of the saltiest Blackshirts that defensive coordinator Charlie McBride ever produced.
The Cornhuskers would lose to No. 18 Texas in Austin, but would exact revenge on the then-No. 12 Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game.
These Cornhuskers also demolished No. 5 Kansas State 41-15 and toppled No. 21 Texas A&M 37-0 before holding off No. 6 Tennessee 31-21 in the Fiesta Bowl.
No. 6: 1983
The 1983 Cornhuskers were to offense what 1999 was to defense.
“The Triplets,” a group comprised of quarterback Turner Gill, eventual Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mike Rozier and wide receiver Irving Fryar, created lightning in a bottle.
Just how good was this offense? The average score for the Cornhuskers that year was 54-17.
The Cornhuskers broke the 40-point barrier nine times and scored 84 versus Minnesota.
Even more amazing, the entire 60-man travel squad had played before the end of the third quarter of the contest.
No. 5: 1970
Nebraska’s first national championship was a tremendous achievement for head coach Bob Devaney.
Devaney had to rebuild from the ground up after Bill Jennings was dismissed in 1961.
A perfect season was his team’s reward nine years later.
The Cornhuskers did tie with Southern California 21-21 back when ties were actually tolerated.
Much like in 1982, Nebraska defeated Louisiana State in the Orange Bowl to claim its title.
This time, there were no pesky Nittany Lions in the mix.
No. 4: 1994
Could Tom Osborne win the big one? This was the big question on everyone’s mind.
Osborne had been the head coach of Nebraska since 1973 when Bob Devaney retired and while the Cornhuskers enjoyed moderate success, they had no national championships to show for it.
They had come close, but enjoyed no cigars.
1994’s quarterback situation mirrors 2010 a bit. There was the flashy Tommie Frazier, reliable backup Brook Berringer and walk-on Matt Turman.
Turman was used versus Kansas State due to injuries much in the same way Cody Green was versus Iowa State was this year: Hand the ball off and let nature take its course.
Nebraska would eventually topple Miami in the Orange Bowl 24-17 for Osborne’s first championship and the school’s first since 1971.
In addition to defeating the No. 3 Hurricanes, Nebraska also defeated No. 2 Colorado, No. 16 Kansas State and No. 24 West Virginia.
No. 3: 1971
The second of Bob Devaney’s national championship seasons saw history-defining moments for Nebraska.
Specifically, the No. 1 Cornhuskers battled No. 2 Oklahoma in “The Game of the Century.”
Nebraska would prevail 35-31 in a game that is still celebrated to this day.
Oklahoma wasn’t the only team ranked No. 2 that Nebraska defeated in 1971.
Paul “Bear” Bryant and Alabama faced Nebraska for all of the marbles in the Orange Bowl, eventually falling 38-6.
There was no doubt that the Cornhuskers were No. 1 by far that year.
No. 2: 1997
Debate still swirls around this national championship year for Nebraska.
Soon-to-be Big Ten brother Michigan also claims the top spot after being voted No. 1 by the Associated Press' poll, but the coaches felt Tom Osborne’s bunch won that right after bludgeoning Peyton Manning and No. 3 Tennessee 42-17.
It’s amazing how much eventual NFL talent would be seen both on Nebraska’s roster and their opponents during the 1997 campaign.
With wins over No. 2 Washington, No. 14 Texas A&M and No. 17 Kansas State along with the Volunteers, it’s difficult to make a case against this team as the best during 1997.
No. 1: 1995
The best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.
Not just for the Cornhuskers, but in the history of college football. For reference, the above is what happened to the No. 2 team in the nation when facing the 1995 juggernaut.
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