I didn't get to see who wrote this but, it is fantastic!
Tom Osborne's program at Nebraska was not "one of the best" in the nation. It was the best, period. The talking heads and teleprompter readers love to rattle off names like Michigan, Ohio State, and USC. Looking back at the last quarter of a century, nobody dominated college football like Nebraska. Osborne won three national titles in four seasons, and came within a single play of winning four straight. His Husker dynasty was without peer, and peaked with the absolute annihilation of Florida by a score of 62-14 in the national championship game. It remains the single most lopsided championship game in modern history. That Husker team is arguably the greatest of all time. Of course all the media stooges picked Florida and laughed about how the Gator speed would befuddle those hicks from Nebraska. Yes, speed was the difference in the game. Nebraska showed Florida speed that they could not have imagined. It was Osborne who fathered the concept of moving safeties to linebacker, and linebackers to the defensive line to achieve more team speed on defense. It was Osborne who developed an offensive playbook that dwarfed most of the so called "offensive" schools. Yes, Nebraska ran the ball, but they did it one hundred different ways, from a myriad of formations. The Nebraska running game was a beautiful thing to behold. It was under Osborne that Nebraska pioneered weight training and took it to the highest level possible. Their offensive linemen were magnificent. Many Nebraska players did not fare well in the NFL, in that there was little room for improvement or growth by the time they left. Osborne literally maxed out his players potentials, almost to the level of burnout. They were that good. It was Osborne who had the courage to go for two in a national championship game instead of settling for a tie. Osborne had another national title stolen from him at State College, PA in 1982, when an official connected to the Penn State program allowed a completion to a tight end who was three yards out of bounds. It remains one of the worst calls in history, second only to Colorado's five downs against Missouri. Under Osborne, players learned to tackle properly. His defenses in the mid 90's were suffocating and punishing.
Today, no program has fallen further than Nebraska, not even Notre Dame. This program went from being the very best, to among the very worst, all in about five seasons. Bill Callahan was never right for Nebraska, but neither was Frank Solich. The truth is that there is no way to replace Tom Osborne. Nobody else at any other school ever had anything close to what Tom had. Nobody understood how to run the option like Osborne, and option football is what Nebraska is about. The Huskers made their reputation on recruiting a ton of in state players, maximizing their skills, and sprinkling in some skill players from around the nation as needed. This meant they didn't recruit with only a stopwatch. They recruited heart and desire, which offset pure athleticism. Considering their recruiting base, Nebraska isn't geared to be a west coast, passing offense. They had something that was unique, and threw it away to be just another cookie cutter PAC-10 team that can't tackle nor has any stomach for toughness.
Nebraska will never reach the level of absolute dominance of the Osborne era ever again. The eighty five man rule changed football forever. We will no longer see one hundred Huskers dressed for a home game like in bygone days. We won't see Nebraska teams with dozens of redshirts and fifth year seniors. Those days are gone.
Where do they go from here? Who knows? One thing is certain. Bill Callahan isn't the answer, and has to follow Pederson out the door. Nebraska has lost their identity. Michigan, for all of their failures and ineptitude since 1948, has at least retained their identity as a slow, plodding, predictable team that can't stop a pass. It's who they are. Give them credit for being consistent. Nebraska doesn't have any idea who they are, and their first step is to reconnect with their past, and reclaim their identity. Losing in Lincoln should never happen, ever.
Finally, let's set the record straight on Osborne's "criminal" players. The media bashed Nebraska unmercifully for twenty years because they didn't fit their idea of what a college football team should be. They were a fanatical red state. They were conservative. They were disciplined. They were the left's worst nightmare, and nobody wanted them to win. Phillips and Peter became poster children for the media. In all of Osborne's tenure, if a handful of miscreants is all you can come up with, considering the hundreds who have passed through the program, it's pretty frigging good. Meanwhile the media conveniently looked the other way at Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, when they had scores of players outside the law. Yes, the media loved to hate on those crew cut, corn fed Nebraska players, and many still do.