An interesting fact was posted on Reddit in the Nebraska-Wisconsin post game thread. Nebraska has been tied or better with 14 seconds to play in every ballgame. I knew that fact in my head, but reading it is somehow different. Ahead or tied in every ballgame with less than a quarter of a minute to play.
It would be easy to write about how Nebraska is crumbling in the clutch. It would be easy to write about coaches who don’t know how to close out a game. It would be easy to be negative. It wouldn’t be honest.
I don’t believe coaches are stupid. I don’t believe players are stupid. I believe that games are fragile and there are times when balance can change with the slightest push.
The truth is, I don’t know how to feel about this season. At some point, it becomes routine. At some point, hair begins standing up on the back of your head in close games. At some point, you develop a sense of impending doom.
Last week Husker fans and media beat up on the team for pass that was called. This week, I expect they’ll beat up on the team for not throwing. Is either opinion wrong? Not exactly. Is either opinion right? Not exactly.
There are a handful of ways that the last two minutes of each game could have played out. It so happens that each way went the other way. Is it a sign of a systemic issue within the team? Is it a sign to come. I don’t think so in either case. One score ballgames in any sport are volatile by nature. One play swinging the game in mere seconds. There are systemic issues that Nebraska does need to resolve, and those issues certainly contribute to the current predicament, but each of those issues is also a problem that can be resolved.
However, the next time Nebraska finds itself with a lead late in the fourth quarter, I’ll feel that sense of impending doom. It won’t go away until Big Red ends triumphant. That feeling is here. It’s not going away just yet.
Moving beyond the past, let’s take a look at the rest of the season. Get a sense of what we might see later. My computer ratings should start being a bit more accurate at this point in the season so let’s take a look at how my reactive models do for predictions. Probably badly, but I find this interesting at times.
10-17-2015 #67 @Minnesota
I’ll start with a disclaimer, the model is reactive and not predictive. However, it is interesting that despite the differences in each teams current starts, that Nebraska is favored in all four situations yet all four are within one score. As described earlier, one score ballgames are tough to call. I’ll guess we’ll see on Saturday if any of these predictions are accurate.
Leaving the math alone, it looks like another close game. Mostly because neither team looks like they can consistently take advantage of the opposing team’s weaknesses. It will be strength against strength.
That’s it for this preview, and I didn’t even argue with myself as far as you know.