Commentary

Solving Nebraska's offensive woes

Cornhuskers need to find consistency on offense, sustain long drives

Originally Published: November 19, 2010
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Taylor MartinezJoe Nicholson/US PresswireTaylor Martinez has led a Nebraska offense that has been explosive but inconsistent.

The last time the Nebraska Cornhuskers went to a BCS bowl game, the result was less than stellar. After getting crushed by Miami in the BCS championship game at the end of the 2001 season, Nebraska's football program slipped into mediocrity for much of the last decade. Two coaching changes later, it appears Bo Pelini has Nebraska on the right trajectory, sparking a resurgence on the defensive side of the ball last season and adding in a fairly explosive offense this year. Standing at 9-1 and No. 8 in the BCS standings, Nebraska controls its own destiny in the Big 12 North and has its eyes on the league's automatic BCS bowl bid, if it can complete an undefeated stretch run.

But that run won't be easy. Our drive-based Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) ratings at Football Outsiders indicate that Nebraska will be favored in all of its remaining games, including the Big 12 championship, but that they have a 42 percent chance of winning all three games. Two weeks ago, FEI rated the Huskers No. 3 in the nation following back-to-back dominant offensive performances against Oklahoma State and Missouri and an exceptional offensive outburst against Kansas State on Oct. 7. But Nebraska has posted a few offensive clunkers lately, especially in the context of our opponent-adjusted stats. Like a pinball machine, Nebraska was ringing up points with reckless abandon at times this year but now seems to be misfiring. Will things click this weekend against Texas A&M?

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com