Phil Steele Expects NU to be Slighted by AP Voters
Let's say your task is to come up with a preseason top 25. Among your choices of teams is a school that has won 9 or 10 games in each of the prior 6 seasons and has been ranked in the top 25 in one of the major polls each of the last five seasons. That team is coming off of a bowl victory over a ranked SEC school. That team also returns an all-conference running back (and Heisman candidate), an all-conference defensive end, and an all-conference kick returner. Wouldn't that team appear somewhere in your top 25?
Apparently that may not be the case when the AP voters make their preseason predictions. Phil Steele has gotten very good at predicting what the voters will do months in advance. He predicts that the AP will leave NU out of their top 25 and will place Georgia 11th.
Preseason ratings don't mean too terribly much but clearly there's a lack of respect. If your goal is to guess how teams will finish, wouldn't you want to pick a team that finished somewhere between 14 and 26 each of the prior five years?
Meanwhile, Wisconsin is likely to be ranked 17th despite an identical record to the Huskers a year ago and a worse record the year prior. This will be only the second year for the team under a new head coach. The team returns a pair of second-team all-conference players at running back and on the offensive line. Admittedly, the Badgers do get to host Nebraska and won't face Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, or Penn State this year. Meanwhile, NU must head to Michigan State for a night game.
When all is said and done, if the Husker tally 9 or 10 wins again against a fairly tough schedule, Ii seems likely they'll find themselves ranked at season's end.