There’s plenty on deck this upcoming week for the Nebraska Athletics.
Football plays Iowa on Friday. And then the period of tumultuousness will likely draw to a close at some point in the near future with a head coach.
Volleyball hosts two top-10 matches this weekend and has a shot at clinching a share of the Big Ten title if they beat Wisconsin.
Men’s basketball hits the road to Orlando for the ESPN Invitational and women’s basketball will go to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Clasico.
My observations from Tuesday’s marathon availability:
1. The week ahead for football
Interim head coach Mickey Joseph said Tuesday that he hasn’t had a conversation just yet with athletic director Trev Alberts regarding his future at Nebraska.
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“That’s probably over the weekend or next week sometime,” Joseph said, adding that he “will be on my couch until I get a phone call.”
But before any of that, Nebraska has one last game against Iowa on Friday.
If Iowa beats Nebraska, the Hawkeyes win the Big Ten West.
And for a team that hasn’t beaten their rival since 2014? They aren’t shying away from a chance to play spoilers.
“Yeah, we want to ruin their chances, man,” edge rusher Caleb Tannor said. “Shoot, that’s what we’re here for. We’re here to win. That’s what we’re here to do.”
2. Big Ten title in play this weekend for volleyball
A Big Ten title, or at least a share of it, is at stake this weekend for No. 5 Nebraska.
Nebraska hosts No. 3 Wisconsin (23-3) on Black Friday, and No. 9 Minnesota (18-8) on Saturday.
There are three potential scenarios. A quick rundown:
Nebraska is one game behind Wisconsin in Big Ten play. The Badgers are 17-1, and Nebraska is 16-2. So, for any potential hope of clinching a share of the title, Nebraska must beat Wisconsin on Friday. Since Ohio State lost two matches last week, the Buckeyes have dropped out of contention.
Scenario 1: Nebraska wins out, Ohio State beats Wisconsin: Big Ten champions at 18-2
Scenario 2: Nebraska wins out, Wisconsin beats Ohio State: co-Big Ten champions with Wisconsin at 18-2.
Scenario 3: Nebraska beats Wisconsin, but loses to Minnesota; Ohio State beats Wisconsin: co-Big Ten champions with Wisconsin at 17-3
The Huskers haven’t won a Big Ten title since 2017.
“This weekend has a chance to be pretty — some great, great volleyball, very intense. We’ve been working since January to get to this point where we’d have this opportunity to compete for a Big Ten championship,” coach John Cook said. “Team’s worked hard. Staff’s worked really hard. We just gotta go for it.”
3. Final season for Madi Kubik and Kenzie Knuckles
Fourth-year seniors Madi Kubik and Kenzie Knuckles could have played a fifth season in 2023 due to the COVID waiver, but both of them have decided to end their Husker playing careers once this season comes to a close.
“It was a tough decision, but I met with Coach (Cook) multiple times about it, and I have absolutely loved this program. It’s like a family to me,” Knuckles said. “And it’s so hard saying goodbye to it. But I just think that after four and a half years, I think that the time has come where it’s like, me and Madi, we got here together, we’re gonna leave together.”
Kubik added: “It’s been an awesome four years that I’ve got to compete here. I’ve absolutely loved my career. And I’m really excited for our younger players to get the opportunity to be leaders in the program and just encourage them and mentor them this season. It’s been really great, and I’m excited for the future.”
4. Update on Derrick Walker
Senior forward Derrick Walker remains “day-to-day with his medical condition,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s getting closer and hopefully we’ll get him back before too long.”
Walker played in Nebraska’s opening exhibition game against Chadron State but hasn’t suited up since.
A bonus: a cryptic post from Sam Haiby
Senior guard Sam Haiby posted an 11-second video to her social media pages early Tuesday afternoon.
The video — set to “Us. vs. Them” by Quavo and Takeoff — is a close-up of her face as she takes off a hood and stares into the camera before the video cuts to a black screen with “BACK 4 MORE” in all caps.
Haiby sustained a knee injury during preseason workouts and was originally determined to be out for the season. However, her medical team discovered during surgery in late October that the injury wasn’t as severe as originally thought.
It’s not clear as of now when Haiby will return to the floor.