LINCOLN — The schedule is tough. Nebraska’s recent track record, even against Big Ten bottom-feeder Illinois, has not been good. And Husker football hasn’t had a winning record since 2016.
Nevertheless, NU Athletic Director Bill Moos believes eight or nine wins are “realistic” for coach Scott Frost’s crew in 2021.
“We’re going to have our work cut out for us, but we’ve got a lot better depth, we’ve got a lot better experience, we have a solid coaching staff that is primarily intact and a real good feel about being competitive in every game this fall,” Moos said during his monthly call-in on the Husker Sports Network. “It’d be great to get into that 8-9 wins, to start getting back into the picture of conference championships and talking about more postseason. And I think in Year 4, for Scott Frost, that’s a realistic expectation.”
The Huskers will have to “bring it” every game, Moos said, especially at home, where, under Frost, the team has not been good, just 8-9 since 2018. Those nine losses include several to underdogs such as Troy, Illinois and Minnesota.
“We have to — and this is important — protect our home field,” Moos said. “This has got to be the toughest place to play in the Big Ten. We have to have people fear it. That comes by how hard we play as a team, but also, again, our great fans who make the thrill at home in Memorial Stadium something that is unmatched anywhere.”
Moos said NU’s schedule is tougher than other years, with games against Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa. Moos added this line, too.
“We have not fared well against Illinois,” he said, referring to the 41-23 loss to the Illini last fall. Nebraska had a four-game winning streak against the Illini before that game.
“Probably the toughest schedule in college football,” Moos said.
Other notes from Moos’ chat:
Moos anticipated that NU would have Memorial Stadium at full capacity this fall amid falling numbers of COVID cases.
Nebraska has begun the work on its new outdoor track — the old one is where the new football facility will go — and Moos predicted that it would be “first class.” The new track is effectively across the street from the Devaney Center and will be much closer to the indoor track.
NU is “way overdue” for a new natatorium for the swim team. Conversations about a new swimming pool were shelved by the COVID pandemic, Moos said. Nebraska wants to build a golf practice facility, as well.
NU to break ground on facility
A little less than a year after the project was slated to begin, groundbreaking for NU’s massive North Stadium Expansion/football facility will commence Friday at 3:30 p.m., Nebraska announced Tuesday.
The COVID-19 pandemic — and some fundraising issues related to that — set the project back almost a year.
The NU Board of Regents recently approved a physical downsizing for the first phase of the project — which will still cost $155 million — and Moos told The World-Herald that the school had secured a major donation last month to get close to the fundraising finish line.
On his monthly call-in radio show, Moos elaborated on the fundraising figures. Of the $155 million, $80 million has been raised, and that can start the project. Should NU reach $100 million in private donations, Moos suggested the second phase can be finished along with the first. Moos praised donors who didn’t balk on pledges made before the COVID crisis hit and those who pledged money after COVID hit.
The project is scheduled to be finished in 2023.
Moos, Frost, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie Green and University of Nebraska President Ted Carter will be among the speakers at the event, which is open to the media but not the public because of COVID restrictions.