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Ivan Jamison

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The Nebraska Cornhuskers have the distinction of being the most successful winning program in all of college football over the last fifty odd years. Over the course of their 119 year history as a football power, the Cornhuskers have managed to become one of only seven programs to achieve the 800 victory mark, with only three Division 1 teams winning more games. They have also won a total of five national titles, including three within the last 25 years. Remarkably, all three of those titles were achieved during the coaching tenure of Tom Osborne, the legendary Cornhusker coach who led the team from 1973 until his retirement in 1997.

The philosophy of coaching

When most people think of Tom Osborne, their first thought runs to the so-called “option” offense”. True Nebraska fans who know the history of the Osborne years are well aware that the option was not something Osborne originally wanted to implement. The reality is that the first seven years of the Osborne era saw the team utilizing an I-formation, and the switch to the option was only made after Osborne had seen firsthand just how much success the Sooners’ option offense had against his Nebraska defenses during the previous decade. Osborne was never wed to any particular coaching philosophy except that of winning and that fluidity of style was the key to his teams’ success during his career. The Cornhuskers’ opponents during the next two decades proved to be as frustrated with the Nebraska option offense as his teams had been with that of the Oklahoma wishbone attack. Of course, Osborne had an eye for picking just the right quarterbacks for his option system, but his success as a quarterback extended beyond that position and encompassed his ability to ensure that the team functioned as a unit.

Success breeds success

Osborne’s time at Nebraska resulted in the school remaining one of the nation’s top football programs. For two and a half decades, the Cornhuskers under Osborne’s tutelage consistently won nine or more games in every season, along with thirteen championships in the Big Eight and Twelve Conferences. His 255 win, 49 loss record remains one of the most lop-sided of any coach in history. He also managed to become the fastest coach to ever reach the 250 win mark, as his teams managed a 60-win and 3-loss record over the last few years of his tenure. It is also worthy of note that Osborne’s teams only spent three entire weeks not being ranked in the AP top 25 poll.

Of course, his 1994 and 1995 undefeated seasons elevated Nebraska to the status of football dynasty. Both years resulted in National Titles. The combination of Osborne’s creative coaching style, his teams’ devastatingly efficient option attack, and his often brutal defense made the Cornhuskers one of the most consistently powerful teams ever to don football jerseys. Osborne became such a potent force with the University of Nebraska that he is still with the school, having returned to serve as athletic director.

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Ivan Jamison is a big sports fan. You can check out his Nebraska CornHuskers Watch or his St. Louis Cardinals Watch or his New York Yankees Watch
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MLA Style Citation:
Jamison, Ivan "Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Success of Coach Osborne." Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Success of Coach Osborne. 02 Aug. 2011 16 Jul. 2018 <>.
APA Style Citation:
Jamison, Ivan (2011, August 02). Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Success of Coach Osborne. Retrieved July 16, 2018, from
Chicago Style Citation:
Jamison, Ivan "Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Success of Coach Osborne." Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Success of Coach Osborne
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