Coaches Rank Nebraska 22nd, That Might be Good Enough

It may not be a huge cause for celebration to hear that Nebraska was ranked 22nd by the Coaches preseason poll.  But then again, preseason polls are almost meaningless.  For example, only one of the top four teams just prior to the bowls a year ago (which would have been the likely participants in the college football playoff) were ranked inside the top ten prior to the season.  Florida State was 11th and both Auburn and Michigan State were unranked.  Similarly, Florida was ranked 23rd and both Notre Dame and Ohio State were unranked prior to the 2012 season.  If there was a playoff (and OSU was eligible), those teams all would have made it.  So how might the Huskers crash the party?

 

Tough Schedule
The schedule is plenty difficult.  That's both good and bad.  If the slate were too soft (say like Central Florida), the Huskers might not get in even as an undefeated team.  NU would be a lock going undefeated with the schedule that they have and would even have an outside chance of sneaking in with one loss.  

Home Cookin'
But of course, going 13-0 or 12-1 would be awfully difficult.  Oh yeah, there's that.  But taken one game at a time, it's less daunting.  Nebraska will be a comfortable favorite at home over Florida Atlantic, McNeese State, Illinois, Rutgers, and Purdue.  You give the Huskers the edge in the rematch against Minnesota and the night game coupled with inexperience at quarterback should give NU the edge versus Miami in Lincoln.  The Hurricanes are 0-3 all-time in Lincoln.  

East Lansing
Michigan State is a game where the Huskers could be considerable underdogs.  Nebraska outpassed and outrushed the Spartans a year ago but lost the game due to a minus five turnover ratio.  Win that battle and NU has every chance of escaping East Lansing with a victory.  Even with a loss here, the door would be open to make it to the playoffs.  Especially if the Huskers won a rematch on a neutral field.  

Evanston
Northwestern has played the Huskers tough but they are outgunned and their home field is not scary (in fact, the crowd could again be swelling with Huskers).  The Wildcats could be beaten up after three straight games versus Penn State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota - all teams that beat Northwestern the last time they played them.

Madison
The road trip to Wisconsin is a scary one.  The Badgers were an underacheiving bunch in 2013.  They had a schedule that screamed 10 or 11 wins and only one nine.  Who's to say that new coach Gary Andersen really has the goods.  His presence in Madison seems based entirely on one good season at Utah State.  Penn State went into Camp Randall and got a victory to end the season a year ago.  That's the same Nittany Lion team that the Huskers beat in State College that year.

Iowa City
Going to Iowa might seem daunting given the margin of defeat a year ago.  But the Huskers may have been done in by getting cute and sloppy play.  Turnovers and a botched punt on their own end of the field played a  huge role in that game.  It's not hard to picture Nebraska slugging out a victory on a cold day against the Hawkeyes just as they did in 2011 and 2012.

Indianapolis
Then comes either a rematch with the Spartans or a contest with Ohio State.  It's hard to imagine a victory over Ohio State with Braxton Miller at quarterback.  Perhaps Michigan State can take care of business in East Lansing and keep the Buckeyes out of the title game.  Or maybe an untimely injury or simply some sloppy play by OSU could deliver NU a victory.

Certainly, 12-1 or 13-0 is not the likeliest season for the Huskers.  But it's not impossible to picture either.  History tells us that we're likely to see teams in the top four at the end of the season currently ranked outside the top 10.  Why not Nebraska?

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Comments 32 comments so far

This is the make or break season for BOP.  If he loses 4 games again, he’s toast, and he should be if that happens.

Here we go, again!

NU Realista, you’re high. That’s all.

<starts rummaging through his posts from 6 months ago>
<dusts off the keyboard>
<cracks knuckles>
<sigh>
<Gets his Dolly Parton album selected on the I-Phone>

Why we will not go 13-0 or 12-1:
A)  Still too green @ the QB position.
B) Defense should be better, but also, still too much youth.
C)  Coaching has yet to prove they can put a prime time team on the field for an entire season.  In fact, the last 2 seasons we’ve nearly led the country in TOs, so how about start there.

Sparty had a proven veteran D last year and FSU was big time across the board.  Aub was the big surprise.

I’ll be happy with anything over 9 wins—I expect at least 10.  If we shock the world, all the better, but donthold your collective breath.

Really ecxited to see what RG does this year:  he could prove to be best all time DE @NE, sorta reminds me of Willie Harper, but better.

I hope he stays for a 3rd season, but Kiper or somebody already had him slotted as the #1 pick in the ‘15 draft.

catch Coach Pelini modeling the “ALL RED UNIFORM”, @ ESPN. Shut up 7turds, stoopid was the model for LIL’RED. Talk about a pussface.

T-Dogg,
Almost agree with your assessment, but…. While all the things you mention are valid obstacles to overcome, I am a little more optimistic than you. Think there are a lot of really talented players on this team, and if they can really come together as a team, limit the T/O’s, and remain relatively healthy, believe that with a little luck it is entirely possible for them to go 11-2 or even 12-1 and then go to a major bowl.
Would like for that to be 13-0 and for them to a win in a major bowl, but am not quite that optimistic - will wait for next year for that to happen. Certainly wish Gregory would stay and Moss return in ’15. Should that happen, think the Huskers would have a seasoned, talented and impressive defense, together with a seasoned, talented and impressive offense. Am certainly looking forward to the next few years. Of course it is entirely possible for the T/O problems and excessive injuries to continue and for the Huskers to not have a winning season, but do not see that happening. GBR

I wouldn’t say Pelini has a “puss face”, exactly.

Probably more along the lines of an overgrown rodent.

Yea, definitely.

Usually don’t think much of preseason rankings but glad to see NU in there at least.  Always optimistic heading into a new NU football season.  Hope things change like the TO and 4 loss syndrome.  Don’t know if the ole pacemaker can stand any more very bad losses (Iowa) or blowouts (Wisky)
GBR

I’ll go with T-Doggs assessment. Pelini’s teams have not been able to overcome the unexpected. Somewhere a key injury always seems to do in the Huskers. Maybe it doesn’t happen this year. But until they can prove they are capable of pulling it out the onus is their backs. I’ll wait till Oct before I get too optimistic.

I’ll wait until August 30 and see how we play against Florida Atlantic before I even begin to be optimistic.

Well then I’ll just wait until January to be optimistic!

Ball

I’m optimistic now but it’s tempered with the unknown. In Oct I’ll start to get excited if things are going good. By then we’ll know how good of team we really have. And if things are already ugly - well I won’t be bleeding too badly because I didn’t set out with unrealistic hopes. So my optimism is simply guarded now not non-existent.

Uhhmmm…my wait till January comment was a current optimism in disguise, because I’m assuming we’re still playing in January…

Folks, you will know after the Fresno and Miami games if BOP and crew have what it takes to win their division this fall.  It is no more complicated than that.

I love and hate pre-season polls.  I hate them because there are always some top 15 picks that will finish 5-7 and there will be teams picked 7th in their conference that will be undefeated heading into November.  But I love them because it gives us something to talk about with my favorite subject: college football.

We are talking about this kinda stuff on our forum about Ohio State.  OSU has questions about who is behind Braxton (he has missed games the previous 3 years), the OL lost 4 of 5 starters, the LB corps is riddled with questions, the back 7 of the defense got shredded in the passing game by anyone who could throw the ball 10 yards down the field last year, and no one knows if our true frosh PK can put a ball through the uprights in a game.  The back up QB question is something we hope we never have to find out, but history says that Brax will be out a game or two or three.  We have 4 and 5 star guys on the OL and a heckuva line coach, but no one knows if they will ever gel.  The back seven pass defense issues is being addressed by a new coordinator and press coverage scheme, and an influx of young talent, but we won’t know how that goes until we see it.  Same goes for the kicker.

With my limited knowledge, Nebraska needs competent QB play and some guys to step up in the defensive secondary.  If they get those questions answered positively, then the opportunity to win the West should be there for them, and they can take it from there.

The greatest thing about CFB is every team has major questions, and we get to see those questions get answered throughout the season.

Bottom line is if Nebraska wins their first 8 or 9 games, or even loses one, when November rolls around, they will be in consideration for the 4 team playoff with a chance to play themselves in.  You can’t ask for anything more than that.

The Lincoln Journal Star had an interesting article today revealing the contents of an interview with Beck. The thought the Husker coaching staff has come to is that things fell apart last year as the season progressed possibly because the offensive strategy became increasingly more complicated. As they opened the play book - fumbles, interceptions and missed assignments increased so this year they are going to try and keep it simple. Wonder what ‘simple’ means? ‘Winning’ may now be more important than ‘style’. Sounds good to me if they actually can do it.

Once again, our strength should could woild be in pounding the rock, at least 60-70% of the time:  we’re deep @ RB and OL AND we dont have Aaron Rogers back there slingin it.  RUN.  Of course, we fans say that every year….

We have real good rcvrs but 50/50 whether or not TA can get it to them. 

Our D has talent all around, but still too hreen.  Mitchell, Cooper, Santos, thats about it for veteran starters.

I think 10 Ws reg season could be considered success and a bowl W even better.

We’ll most likely drop at least 1 out of the Sparta, Wiscy, Lolwa trio, hopefully no more than that.  AND, I REALLY dont want to lose to Minny this year, in our own house.

See, Huskers have shown no signs of dimination in the B1G, most games nip and tuck and some stupid losses here and there.

SO, IF BOP’s Big Red wants to surprise us all and change character and start rolling teams up, GREAT!

I just dont see it.  This season will be a bunch of close games again.

Gage makes some good recap points from Beck’s apparent comments.  Folks can blame the players all they want when mistakes occur on the field.  However, the hidden “X” factor defined as “coaching” has a lot more to do with why mistakes happen on the field than fans are willing to admit.  The University pays millions of dollars combined to the coaching staff, and in return, we should be getting better overall coaching decisions than what we have received in return during BOP’s era.  Callahan crew was worse, and BOP is better, but not great.  For the money and results obtained, B’Bop and his group are overpaid.

BOP’s in it for the money.  He is now a multi-millionaire.  He refuses to leave after 6 years of 4 loss seasons.  If he had any dignity, he would resign, admit this is the best he can do and that just isn’t good enough for a university like NU.  Instead, he sticks around, takes $3 million plus a year now, and isn’t embarrassed enough to just leave???  That tells me all I need to know about the man.  He’s in it for the money, honey!!!  Sweet little bee hive he has.

Our D just took a major hit. Charles Jackson is out as starting Nickel this year with torn left knee ligaments. D*** IT!!! I hope Cockrell can step up and get things down, quickly.

Shame—but good thing we have some depth and time.

Actually only four programs have a had this many 9+ win seasons in a row.. There are some big names not on that list.. We aren’t paying Bo top 4 money.  Actually we are barely paying top 25 salary.. Which coincidentally is about where his teams finish.. Therefore we are probably pretty close to paying market value, looking at it from a business perspective.. His teams are consistently 9 plus win teams that’s the first step in building a top program.. If he keeps that up we will have a breakout year and walla , we are there. The crazy thing is the fact we have been winning 9+ games with a turnover ratio that is generally associated with a sub .500 record..  If we improve that it takes little more to have that break out season

Rose out(ACL), and Alexander suspended for ‘14.  Jackson already out(ACL).

Twauto22,
Interesting that there are only four other programs with 9+ wins for six consecutive seasons. Have read that for first-time coaches it is only Osborne, Switzer, Petersen and Pelini; for first-time coaches taking over teams with losing records, it is only Pelini; and for 9+ wins each of the last six years it has only been Saban and Pelini. By any chance is Spurrier the other coach you were referring to? Think he won 9+ each of his 12 years at Florida, but has only won 9+ in the last four of his nine years at South Carolina.
Your comment about ‘barely paying a top 25 salary.. Which coincidentally is about where his teams finish’ seems right in line with the About.com article on what they believe are the top 25 coaching jobs in college football. Only five B1G schools made the list, and Nebraska came in near the bottom at 23rd – lowest of the B1G entries, with Ohio State the highest at number 6.  Evidently a large, generally supportive fan base, great facilities and stadium count for much less than close proximity to the top recruiting areas (the South, Texas, and California). According to the article, football is now a game played in the sunshine and, in the BCS era (1998-2013), Ohio State is the only northern school to win a national title. The next farthest north was Tennessee.
Think the Husker coaching staff is probably about as good as any willing to come to Nebraska. I remember after Solich was fired, Urban Meyer stated he was not interested in a place where winning 10 games wasn’t good enough. The pseudo-fans clamoring for Pelini to be fired should also reflect on the fact Osborne almost left to coach at Colorado because he was sick and tired of continually hearing from those pseudo-fans who demanded he be fired because he could only win nine or more games each season, but no national title. Firmly believe this would not be a good time to change coaches. Think one of the reasons Pelini was willing to take this job was because Lincoln is a great place to bring up a family. Once those kids are grown, don’t know if there will be enough incentive for him to stay. I’m fairly certain he will not be willing to stay 25 years, like Osborne.

Urban Meyer is now at a place where 10 wins is not good enough.  He must have changed his mind.  :)

NU Realista
“Instead, he sticks around, takes $3 million plus a year now, and isn’t embarrassed enough to just leave???

That tells me all I need to know about the man.  He’s in it for the money, honey!!!”

———————-

From where I’m sitting, that means that he isn’t a quitter!
Then again, I am not a whiney d-bag… so you do what makes you happy, Realista.

Bill K. ~ since when is coaching college football an indicator that such folks are assured to be saints and flawless people?  Yah, I wouldn’t be a quitter, either, if I had a $3 million a year job and my boss accepted less than excellent performance ratings from me!!!  Buy a stupid cat and pretend you’re a changed man.  Whose the fool.  It isn’t BOP.  That’s clear.

Bill K,
Great things have been accomplished by those who demand (whining) excellence.

Probably some people (coaches) are not geared for the never ending struggle to have perfection. It’s got to be tough.

But face it. If you keep turning in less than perfect results year after year and you are still getting pay raises, there is not a lot of incentive to get better. You are sending the strong message that ‘Hey, we are perfectly content getting waxed year after year’.

It’s now become a mental problem with the people in charge at Nebraska. I think all of the people in charge were not around during the glory days and don’t realize how sweet being on top (or near the top) is.

It’s just a different way of running ‘business’ at Nebraska now and getting further and further away from what made them great years ago.

Made my day:
“Whose the fool”

I can’t wait for the season to begin. Pelini just got a ‘vote of confidence’ (aka: dead man walking) from the former warden at the University of Miami and current AD at Nebraska, so this will most definitely be a ‘highlight reel’ season for Pelini.

Just the thought of him snarling wildly and his nostrils at full dilation gives one goose nipples.

Yuk Yuk

Bill K. ~ ever play “whose ball?”  My more novel use of lettering is, of course, the product of an NU college degree!!!  Suppose that is why the players need tutoring at NU while the poor college schmuck has to borrow money up the proverbial ying yang and deliver pizza to pay the pig university its tenured salaries and billion dollar capital improvement projects to get a lousy degree in sociology!!!  College is a scam for students, and NU football in recent times has been a lesson in how to manipulate a fan base into believing corn fed bull crap.  ‘Whose’ the fool???

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