Irrelevant Magazine Considers Huskers Irrelevant
Sports Illustrated's has omitted Nebraska from its preseason top 25. That would be troubling if SI was considered a definitive source for predicting college football. Thankfully, it's not. That wasn't the only curious choice by the magazine, which may be deliberately provocative to sell magazines rather than seeking accuracy. Let's review their rankings top to bottom.
1. Alabama - Hardly a unique choice, they are most everyone's favorite at this point.
2. Stanford - Few have Stanford ranked so high, though several do place them in the top ten. Getting games against Washington, UCLA, Oregon, and Notre Dame all at home won't hurt. Games at Oregon State and at USC could trip up this team.
3. Texas A&M - This also puts SI on an island. They might have to beat Alabama at home or LSU on the road to get this high.
4. Ohio State - A lot of people are picking the Buckeyes second, as they'll likely be favored even in road games at Northwestern and at Michigan.
5. Oregon - Not much to quibble with here, though a new coaching regime could produce a noticeable dropoff.
6. South Carolina - Pretty much in line with what most see for the Gamecocks.
7. Louisville - A bit high relative to a lot of other pickers, but not crazy given how soft their schedule is.
8. Notre Dame - Also on the high side relative to others and given the change at quarterback. They needed luck to squeak out a number of victories last year, which has a lot of people picking them well outside the top 10.
9. Florida - A good team with a brutal schedule which has most picking them outside the top ten. They go at Miami, at LSU, at South Carolina, Jacksonville for Georgia and host Florida State.
10. Clemson - If they beat Georgia or Florida State at home or South Carolina on the road, they'll wind up higher which is why many are ranking them higher than this.
11. Texas - This team lost four games a year ago and nearly lost more. The schedule is manageable but SI seems to expect a lot of improvement.
12. Georgia - I suppose the four very tough games on their schedule push them down here, but the national consensus has been that this is a top ten team. This seems too low for a team that so nearly played for the national championship a year ago and brings back a star quarterback.
13. Florida State - This also seems too low for a team that may not lose more than two games. They go at Florida and at Clemson but probably win the other 10. They'd have to lose a bowl game to drop here.
14. LSU - Doesn't really compute, SI implies losses at Alabama, Georgia, vs. A&M, and Florida and 14th is probably too high for a 4-loss team.
15. Michigan State - Say what?! A team that went 7-6 a year ago is now going to win ten games? They clearly expect Notre Dame to beat the Spartans. So does that mean the Green men take at least three of four at Iowa, at Nebraska, at Northwestern, or hosting Michigan? In that case, they are in position to win the division but that also means another loss to Ohio State. This is way too kind to a tough team that's in for another tough year.
16. TCU - See #15. Another 7-6 team is now going to win 10. Don't bet on it.
17. Baylor - I'm seeing a theme here. At least the Bears managed to go 8-5 a year ago but most have this team in "others receiving votes" territory.
18. Michigan - The math here could make sense. Losses to Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Ohio State would do it but that means dropping two home games. Two losses to the Buckeyes probably is more likely.
19. Oklahoma - It takes this long to get to the Sooners? When's the last time they were the fourth best team in the Big 12? Does not compute.
20. Boise State - Sure why not. Probably at least two losses before bowl season.
21. UCLA - They drop games at Oregon and Stanford plus two more, but not at Nebraska. Maybe Arizona and USC?
22. Northwestern - Here's one others are placing in the "others receiving votes" territory. So they lose to Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan and somewhere else. But they are going to win at Wisconsin and at Nebraska, if not both places. Riiiiight.
23. Vanderbilt - Few people are seeing this as a ranked team for 2013. Four losses easy at South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Florida, and versus Georgia. But why stop there? The Commodores won't run the table against Ole Miss, Mizzou, Wake, Kentucky, at Tennessee, and a bowl game.
24. Northern Illinois - Another unranked team in the eyes of most predictors, despite the soft schedule, perhaps due to the coaching change.
25. Virginia Tech - Yet another 7-win team from last year appearing in the SI rankings.
Oklahoma State - A consensus top 15-20 team that crushed that TCU team last season. Maybe if they'd won only seven games last year they'd be ranked.
Nebraska - The Huskers have been ranked in the final AP poll each of the last four years and have won at least nine games every year under Bo Pelini. They've never lost to Michigan State and haven't lost in Lincoln to UCLA since Truman was president.
Wisconsin - Three straight Rose Bowls - check. A soft schedule - check. Won more than seven games last year - oops. Of course they can't be ranked.
USC - Probably a lock to lose at least 3 or 4 times, but maybe no more than that.
Miami - A popular pick among predictors that went 7-5 last year (no bowl opportunity) with a one-sided victory over Virginia Tech.
Oregon State - A 9-win team last year that beat Wisconsin and UCLA, and played toe to toe with Texas in a Texas bowl game.