Although some fans have already given up on the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season, players and coaches refuse to do the same. They acknowledge that they under-delivered in their first run within the confines of the B1G Ten. They also admit that they squandered some pretty wide-open opportunities to take control of a conference that, while clearly filled with parity, isn’t as great as it has been in years past.
But their pride won’t let these guys just quit.
There not may not be a national or Big Ten championship left to play for anymore, but there is still the peace of mind of knowing that you gave it 100 percent whenever you could. Despite the early-season defensive calamities and the late season offensive brain-freezes, Bo Pelini and company realize that it’s all just part of the roller coaster ride that is a given college football season.
"Up and down, but that's football," safety Austin Cassidy told reporters this week, as per Husker Extra. "I don't think you can look at one program in the last four years that has had way more success than we have had. There have been a couple of elite teams, and I can't say that we're there yet, but you have to start with the foundation, start with the base and that's what Coach Bo (Pelini) and his staff has built here. I think we are consistent in a lot of ways and I think there is nowhere but up.
"This game means a lot for us on a lot of different levels," Cassidy added. "It's going to determine probably where we end up going in the postseason, and so there's no time to reflect too much."
His head coach echoed these sentiments. To Pelini, the prospect of taking his foot off the gas just because the year hadn't turned out as expected was beyond ludicrous.
"Obviously, when you're an athlete, you compete to compete," Pelini said, looking ahead to this week’s showdown versus the Iowa Hawkeyes. "It isn't always about trophies. There is a lot that plays into it. When you go to compete, you go to compete. Trust me, both teams will be out there ready to play."
The year didn’t go according to plan for the Huskers, but there is still time to end it on as sweet a note as possible. A win is a win is a win, and though it can’t possibly clinch a berth in the conference championship game, a victory versus Iowa will go a long way in ridding Lincoln of the bitter taste in its mouth that has lingered over the last week.
Nebraska versus Iowa kicks off at 12:00 p.m. eastern time, Friday.