College football is right around the corner, and for Scott Frost and Nebraska, that means another chance to get right is almost here.

Frost hasn’t had a great tenure at Nebraska so far, to say the least, which means this season will be pivotal for both his job and the overall psyche of the program.

What would lead to a dream season for the Cornhuskers, and what would be utterly disappointing?

Read on to find out.


Rahmir Johnson makes defenses pay all over the field

Sophomore running back Rahmir Johnson has the opportunity to be an all-around game-changer for the Huskers this season, and that’s putting it lightly.

Not only can he run the ball, but he’s athletic enough to slip out into the slot and be a receiving option. That’s a potent one-two punch, and that’s not even considering his abilities as a returner on special teams. He’s so important to Nebraska on that unit that his special teams coach, Bill Busch, gushed about him.

“He’s part of the core 4 of everything we do,” Busch recently told reporters. “He just says, ‘yes, sir,’ and does everything correctly. I just have so much respect for Rahmir Johnson, where he’s at and what we’ve asked him to do.”

If Johnson can make a huge impact for the Huskers in points on the board and in the field position game, that would be a dream scenario.

Omar Manning steps up in his senior season

At 6-4 and 225 pounds, Omar Manning, a senior leader in the wide receiver group, could be huge for the Huskers.

He’s coming off a season that saw him finish 3rd on the team in receiving yards with 380 and tied for 3rd in receiving touchdowns with 2.

If he can stay consistent and healthy, and become “the guy” for Nebraska downfield, that would go a long way for the Huskers as they look to replace the production from Samori Toure from last season (898 yards, 5 touchdowns).

Mark Whipple brings Pittsburgh’s explosive offense to Lincoln

Largely run by head coach Scott Frost in 2021, Nebraska’s offense ranked 6th in the Big Ten in points per game with 27.9. While that’s not the worst ranking and far better than Northwestern’s 16.6, nationally, Nebraska’s offense was underwhelming. The Huskers’ offense was ranked 71st in the FBS.

That should change now that Mark Whipple is calling the plays. Whipple was the man in charge of Pittsburgh’s offense last season. Sure, it probably helped that Kenny Pickett was under center, but Whipple deserves credit as well for leading Pitt to the 3rd most explosive offense in college football. Pitt scored 41.4 points per game in 2021.

If Whipple can bring even 75 percent of that offensive production to Lincoln, the Huskers will be in good shape.

Scott Frost finally beats Kirk Ferentz and Iowa

The Iowa-Nebraska rivalry has become a staple of the holidays. The teams have been meeting on the Friday after Thanksgiving for years now. It’s a rivalry so old, in fact, that the first meeting was the first time the Hawkeyes had ever played outside of the state of Iowa.

It’s a fun series, but it hasn’t been so fun since Frost took over in Lincoln. In fact, he hasn’t beaten Kirk Ferentz’s Hawkeyes yet.

Frost will get another chance – perhaps his last chance – to get a win over Iowa on Nov. 25. It would be a huge boost to not just Frost, but to the Nebraska program, to pull that off.

Scott Frost finally makes a bowl game

For as bad as Frost’s record has been against not just Iowa, but Big Ten opponents in general (10-25), perhaps the most damning part of his tenure in Nebraska has been the fact that he hasn’t even made a bowl game.

Becoming bowl eligible isn’t even that hard of a threshold to meet, mind you. You just have to be at least 6-6. There’s a ton of bowl games, most meaningless, but Nebraska hasn’t even made one of the random ones in Frost’s tenure.

One would imagine that Frost will be fired if he can’t finally make a bowl game. The dream scenario, though, is that the Huskers are not just bowl eligible but good bowl eligible this year.


Omar Manning can’t stay healthy or consistent

We discussed the importance of Manning as a senior wide receiver above. If he can be a big, explosive target in Whipple’s offense, Nebraska has a chance to turn some heads.

The issue for Manning is that he’s struggled with both health and consistency. Again, with replacing Samori Toure’s production from last season being so key for the Huskers, Manning not being able to step up would be a huge blow.

Nebraska continues to lose close games

There are few things more demoralizing to the confidence of a team than losing close games. To be in the hunt for a win and to see that win slip between your fingers can get real old real quick, and that’s exactly the fate the Huskers experienced many times last season.

The Huskers lost 23-16 to No. 3 Oklahoma on the road, followed by a 23-20 overtime loss to No. 20 Michigan State the very next week. They lost 32-29 to No. 9 Michigan at home, 35-28 to No. 15 Wisconsin at Camp Randall and 28-21 to Iowa at Memorial Stadium to end the season.

If those close losses to ranked teams were wins, imagine how much different the vibe would be around the Huskers right now?

It would be disastrous for the program to suffer a similar fate in 2022.

Casey Thompson disappoints

By all accounts, the starting quarterback job is Casey Thompson’s to lose. Thompson transferred from Texas, where he threw for 2,113 yards and 24 touchdowns (9 interceptions) with a 154.7 quarterback rating. Oh, he also rushed for 4 touchdowns.

He was a top 30 quarterback nationally in terms of touchdowns thrown and QBR. This despite a lingering thumb injury on his throwing hand.

With Texas jam-packed with elite quarterback recruits, Thompson saw opportunity at Nebraska, and he’s apparently been taking that opportunity this preseason.

Expectations should be high for him considering he’s got big-time college football experience, but imagine how much of a disappointment it would be if he doesn’t pan out.

The Huskers could, of course, turn to former FSU quarterback Chubba Purdy, but he was injured in the spring and only has 4 games of college experience under his belt.

Nebraska starts off flat in Dublin

The Huskers have an incredible opportunity to play at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, kicking off  “Week Zero” on Aug. 27.

Their opponent in the Aer Lingus College Football Series event is none other than fellow Big Ten school Northwestern.

Every win or loss counts in college football, but this one feels especially important.

The opening Saturday game will be broadcasted on FOX at 11:30 a.m. Central, so there will be plenty of college football-hungry eyes on this one.

The Wildcats finished dead last in the Big Ten West last season with a 1-8 conference record (3-9 overall), so they should be a very beatable opponent.

If Frost can’t win this highly-visible game to start the season, one wonders just how much pressure he’ll be under for the rest of the campaign. Losing and falling to 0-7 since October of last year could be demoralizing.

Scott Frost is bad enough to get canned

Scott Frost was supposed to be the guy to turn around Nebraska football. After 2 seasons of mediocrity under Mike Riley, Frost — who was born in Lincoln and played quarterback for the Huskers in the undefeated, national championship season of 1997 — was supposed to be the prodigal son coming home after an exciting, up-and-coming stint as head coach for UCF.

Sadly, Frost’s time in Lincoln as head coach has been anything but exciting or up-and-coming, and if this season goes poorly, there’s a chance he ends his time at Nebraska as a complete failure and disappointment.