Monday, August 10, 2009
Covers.com predicts Huskers will go 9-3
Covers.com predicts the Huskers will be 7-1 heading into the Oklahoma game on Nov. 7 with he loss will come at Virginia Tech. However, the Web site says the Nebraska "isn't quite ready to upset the Sooners, who have as much talent as anyone in the country," and also forecasts a loss the following week at Kansas.
So, will 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big 12 Conference be good enough to win the North Division? "It could be because Kansas has to play both Oklahoma and Texas and at Texas Tech," Covers.com writes. "Kansas could easily lose three games in the conference.
"Nebraska's odds to win the Big 12 North are +175 and that's a solid bet."
I agree with the Covers.com prediction for the most part, but as I wrote in a column back in May, saying Nebraska will be 9-3 requires the Huskers to go 3-1 in what I consider "swing games" at Missouri, at home against Texas Tech, at Baylor and at Kansas. That could be a tall order, especially with a first-year quarterback in Zac Lee. I'll stick with 8-4.
What's your prediction?
Friday, August 07, 2009
Huskers open at No. 22 in coaches' poll
The poll, which was released Friday morning, has defending national champion Florida No. 1 with 1,466 points and 53 first-place votes. Texas, Oklahoma, Southern California and Alabama round out the top five.
The Cornhuskers, who finished last season unranked in the coaches' poll, earned 236 points. Nebraska was 9-4 in 2008, winning six of its last seven games and capped the season with a 26-21 victory over Clemson on Jan. 1 in the Gator Bowl.
In his poll analysis of the Huskers, USA Today's Jack Carey wrote: "After a bounce-back season that included a win in the Gator Bowl, the Cornhuskers need to settle on a QB, likely from among junior Zac Lee, redshirt freshman Kody Spano and true freshman Cody Green. TE Mike McNeill, OL Jacob Hickman and RB Roy Helu Jr. return to the offense. Defense brings back standout DT Ndamukong Suh and DE Pierre Allen. K Alex Henery also is back.
Nebraska opens its season Sept. 5 against Florida Atlantic at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. Virginia Tech, which hosts the Cornhuskers on Sept. 19, is ranked No. 7.
The other Big 12 Conference school ranked was No. 11 Oklahoma State. Kansas (138 points) was at the top of the list of other teams receiving votes and was joined in that category by Texas Tech (114 points), Missouri (44 points) and Colorado (two points).
Thursday, August 06, 2009
TSN Today ranks Nebraska No. 29
"It appears Nebraska still doesn't have the horses to battle at the Big 12's highest level. Nobody in the North does," writes Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star and Sporting News Yearbooks. "But this team wound up tied for first in the division last season, losing out on the title-game appearance with the Missouri loss.
"Enough is here for the Huskers to contend for at least that position this season, and defense is where this team will hang its hat."
Also on the Web, CollegeFootballNews.com has the Cornhuskers ranked No. 38 in its preseason rankings. That just one slot ahead of No. 39 Colorado.
Monday, August 03, 2009
Vegas weights in on Nebraska's prospects
The odds on Nebraska to exceed or go “over” eight wins is -120, meaning that a winning $12 wager would be worth $10. The odds for the Huskers finishing under eight wins in the regular season is even money.
Looking ahead to 2010, the Web site has set Nebraska’s odds of making a BCS bowl at +7,500.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Gabbert likely to start at QB for Mizzou
With Blaine Gabbert favored to win the starting quarterback job at Missouri, the Cornhuskers will once again likely be facing a highly touted quarterback recruit who gave Nebraska a verbal commitment before later signing with another Big 12 Conference North Division school. While that fact might be salt in the wounds for NU, Gabbert’s Tiger teammates are clearly excited about his emergence.
“That guy has grown so much,” Missouri defensive lineman Jaron Baston said of Gabbert. “Since winter conditioning, right up until last Friday, which was our last summer workout, that guy has become a leader.
“He has taken over our team, he has taken over our offense and everybody believes in him.”
Gabbert is favored to earn the unenviable task of taking over the job vacated by record-setting quarterback Chase Daniel. The Ballwin, Mo., native appeared in four games last season as a true freshman, completing 5-of-13 pass attempts for 43 yards.
However, it’s what Gabbert has displayed in scrimmages and the Black & Gold spring game that has Missouri’s players talking him up.
“He has the talent to be another guy like Sam Bradford, who came out of nowhere and blew up,” Baston said of the Heisman-winning Oklahoma quarterback. “He has that talent. He has a strong arm, he’s accurate, he’s fast and he’s athletic.”
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Media picks Huskers to win North title
Nebraska has been chosen as the favorite to win the Big 12 North Division according to the league’s football preseason poll, voted on by media representatives who cover the conference.
The Huskers received 17 of 32 first-place votes and totaled 172 points, just in front of Kansas which was picked first on 12 ballots and received 164 points. Missouri was picked third in the division, followed by Colorado, Kansas State and Iowa State.
Texas and Oklahoma tied for first place in the South Division preseason poll, each receiving 174 points. The Longhorns had 17 first-place votes to 15 for Oklahoma. Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas A&M rounded out the South Division predictions.
Nebraska returns 13 starters from its 2008 team that finished 9-4 overall and captured a share of the Big 12 North Division title after being picked third in the preseason poll. The Huskers own a four-game winning streak heading into the 2009 campaign and were victors in six of their final seven games last fall.
This marks the first time since 2006 that Nebraska has been selected as the North favorite in the conference’s preseason media poll. That season the Huskers captured the North Division title and made their fourth trip to the Big 12 Championship Game. Nebraska has been picked to win the Big 12 North eight times in the 14-year history of the league and has made trips to the Big 12 title game in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2006.
The Preseason All-Big 12 Team will be released on Friday in advance of next week’s Big 12 Football Media Days in Irving, Texas. Nebraska will take part in the event Monday afternoon and will be represented by coach Bo Pelini, I-back Roy Helu Jr., offensive lineman Jacob Hickman and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll
1. Nebraska (17) 172
2. Kansas (12) 164
3. Missouri (3) 124
4. Colorado 100
5. Kansas State 81
6. Iowa State 33
1. Texas (17) 174
1. Oklahoma (15) 174
3. Oklahoma State 130
4. Texas Tech 89
5. Baylor 75
6. Texas A&M 33
First-place votes in parentheses
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Playing the scheduling game
It's interesting that while the Big 12 Conference does a decent job of avoiding the total patsies (the league was fifth with 19 percent of its non-conference games scheduled against I-AA teams), it isn't exactly fond of taking on the big boys, either. The Big 12 is last among BCS conferences when it comes to scheduling non-league games against fellow BCS schools (23 percent) and is first (58 percent) in scheduling non-conference games against non-BCS conference programs.
Also of note, TSN Today ranks Georgia as having the country's most difficult non-conference schedule. The Bulldogs play at Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech and host Arizona State and Tennessee Tech.
The rest of the top 10 for non-conference schedule strength: Virginia Tech, USC, Florida State, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.), Stanford, Illinois. Virginia Tech vs. Alabama at Atlanta is ranked by TSN Today as the best non-conference game, while the Nebraska-Hokies contest is No. 9.