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ESPN: First 2019 Way-Too-Early Top 25

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24. Nebraska Cornhuskers

2018 record: 4-8, 3-6 Big Ten

Returning starters: Seven offense, six defense, two special teams.

Key losses: WR Stanley Morgan Jr., RB Devine Ozigbo, LB Dedrick Young II, LB Luke Gifford, S Aaron Williams, S Tre Neal

 

Outlook: It was a painful yet rewarding first season for Scott Frost as coach of his alma mater. The Cornhuskers lost their first six games, but they won four of their last six and nearly beat Northwestern, Ohio State and Iowa on the road.

Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez gives the Cornhuskers plenty of hope for the future. He passed for 2,617 yards with 17 touchdowns, while running for 629 with eight scores. He'll miss leading receiver Morgan and leading rusher Ozigbo.

Defensively, Nebraska will lose four of its top five tacklers, including two linebackers and two safeties.

Next season, Nebraska plays Ohio State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa at home and doesn't play Michigan, Michigan State or Penn State in the regular season.

 

http://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/25695788/espn-college-football-way-too-early-top-25-2019

 

 

Opponents on the list include:

#21 Wisconsin

#19 Northwestern

#4 Ohio State

 

 

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How fast have things started to fall apart for Wisconsin.  This is such a big season for them to show that last year was not a trend. 

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It will be interesting to see if they continue to trend downwards the next few years or if this year was the exception. They do have an absolute stud coming in at QB who appears to have the potential to be the first true game changer they've had since Russell Wilson

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2 hours ago, teachercd said:

How fast have things started to fall apart for Wisconsin.  This is such a big season for them to show that last year was not a trend. 

 

But it was a trend, and that makes me smile.

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13 minutes ago, Redux said:

 

But it was a trend, and that makes me smile.

 

They couldn't have finished the season any better, and at one point they were on pace to sign one of the best classes in their history. I'm rooting for their downfall every bit as much as you are, I'm just not as sure that it's going to happen.

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2 hours ago, teachercd said:

How fast have things started to fall apart for Wisconsin.  This is such a big season for them to show that last year was not a trend. 

 

Things were never "in place" for them to begin with. They were pretenders for the last three seasons. They flew under the radar by not having difficult cross-divisional games. Last season finally broke that trend when they played two good teams from the East, Michigan & Penn State. Michigan blew them out, and they lost by 12 to Penn State.

That clip of Paul Chryst saying "F*** you, motherf*****" will be such a great meme around here very soon.

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2 minutes ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

They couldn't have finished the season any better,

 

Really??  they finished their finally 8 games at 4-4 getting blown out by an unranked Minnesota.  If they couldn't finish better.....well....that then supports the predictions of their downfall.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Undone said:

 

Things were never "in place" for them to begin with. They were pretenders for the last three seasons. They flew under the radar by not having difficult cross-divisional games. Last season finally broke that trend when they played two good teams from the East, Michigan & Penn State. Michigan blew them out, and they lost by 12 to Penn State.

That clip of Paul Chryst saying "F*** you, motherf*****" will be such a great meme around here very soon.

Yeah, they seemed to have live off weak schedules and a craptastic West. 

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1 hour ago, BigRedBuster said:

 

Really??  they finished their finally 8 games at 4-4 getting blown out by an unranked Minnesota.  If they couldn't finish better.....well....that then supports the predictions of their downfall.

 

 

 

I was talking about the bowl game.

8 games is more than half of the season, and wasn't what I was referring too.

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25 minutes ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

 

I was talking about the bowl game.

8 games is more than half of the season, and wasn't what I was referring too.

 

For the 2nd time they beat an overrated Miami in the cold air in a bowl game, same thing happened like 6 or 7 years ago.  Not impressed by their bowl win.

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51 minutes ago, Redux said:

 

For the 2nd time they beat an overrated Miami in the cold air in a bowl game, same thing happened like 6 or 7 years ago.  Not impressed by their bowl win.

 

Well, I was. It was sheer domination. If Nebraska were to beat Miami 35-3 at any point, the state would lose it's mind, and declare a return to glory was on the horizon.

 

Wisconsin definitely slipped this year. I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that the bowl game should that they still have some life.

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14 minutes ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

Wisconsin definitely slipped this year. I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that the bowl game should that they still have some life.

 

Oh, they definitely still have some life. 

I think an objective pre-season poll should have us ahead of Wisconsin in the 'top 35' (not that 'top 35' is actually a thing). And I'm probably going to catch flak for this but I think Iowa would objectively be the pre-season favorite to win the west. Totally serious.

But I think by the halfway point in the season we'll emerge as the leader in the West and will probably win our division in a tight three way race.

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3 minutes ago, Undone said:

 

Oh, they definitely still have some life. 

I think an objective pre-season poll should have us ahead of Wisconsin in the 'top 35' (not that 'top 35' is actually a thing). And I'm probably going to catch flak for this but I think Iowa would objectively be the pre-season favorite to win the west. Totally serious.

But I think by the halfway point in the season we'll emerge as the leader in the West and will probably win our division in a tight three way race.

 

I wouldn't argue with you on Iowa being the favorite. They would be my favorite at this point as well. I can't get on board with us being ranked ahead of them though.... Not quite.

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2 hours ago, Undone said:

 

Things were never "in place" for them to begin with. They were pretenders for the last three seasons. They flew under the radar by not having difficult cross-divisional games. Last season finally broke that trend when they played two good teams from the East, Michigan & Penn State. Michigan blew them out, and they lost by 12 to Penn State.

That clip of Paul Chryst saying "F*** you, motherf*****" will be such a great meme around here very soon.

 

 

Last year they were pretenders I guess for the first few weeks. But the two years before that I'd disagree. 2017 they benefitted from a very convenient schedule, but if it was that easy to just not screw up enough to go 13-1 you'd see a lot of other teams doing it. Their one loss was a respectable and good game against OSU. 2016 their three losses were all by a single score to the #6, #7 and #10 ranked teams, respectively. And they beat two top 15 teams. So I'd say they were a deservingly top 11-14 team. 

 

At any rate, a trend is defined by more data points than one. People thought 2012 would be the start of a trend as well. Personally I'd be glad to see Wisconsin keep up their level of success - boosts us that much more when we start being able to beat them.

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1 minute ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

 

I wouldn't argue with you on Iowa being the favorite. They would be my favorite at this point as well. I can't get on board with us being ranked ahead of them though.... Not quite.


Agreed. It pains me to say this but Ferentz has implemented a few spread-ish concepts in their offense, and their offense got better over the second half of the season. They strength program is undeniably great and both of those things combined gave us a pretty hard time when we played them.

I don't think their defense will have any answers for Martinez when we play them next year though.

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Just now, Undone said:


Agreed. It pains me to say this but Ferentz has implemented a few spread-ish concepts in their offense, and their offense got better over the second half of the season. They strength program is undeniably great and both of those things combined gave us a pretty hard time when we played them.

I don't think their defense will have any answers for Martinez when we play them next year though.

 

It's those zone running plays! They eat us alive with those.

 

I don't think anyone will have an answer for Martinez next year.... Maybe Clemson or Bama in the CFB Playoff?:dunno:lol:

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1 minute ago, Landlord said:

 

 

Last year they were pretenders I guess for the first few weeks. But the two years before that I'd disagree. 2017 they benefitted from a very convenient schedule, but if it was that easy to just not screw up enough to go 13-1 you'd see a lot of other teams doing it. Their one loss was a respectable and good game against OSU. 2016 their three losses were all by a single score to the #6, #7 and #10 ranked teams, respectively. And they beat two top 15 teams. So I'd say they were a deservingly top 11-14 team. 

 

At any rate, a trend is defined by more data points than one. People thought 2012 would be the start of a trend as well. Personally I'd be glad to see Wisconsin keep up their level of success - boosts us that much more when we start being able to beat them.

 

Good data there. I would just say though to anyone calling them a legit Top 10 team during that span that I'd disagree. I'd agree on "Top 15," and I think that's sort of your point in the bolded.

 

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7 minutes ago, Undone said:

 

Good data there. I would just say though to anyone calling them a legit Top 10 team during that span that I'd disagree. I'd agree on "Top 15," and I think that's sort of your point in the bolded.

 

 

 

Yeah I mean they've squandered some opportunities, and they're certainly not 'elite' in the sense that OSU/Bama/Clemson/et al are, but I'd give them good odds against anybody over those two years. They won't be able to take that next step until they get another gamechanging quarterback though.

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1 hour ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

 

Well, I was. It was sheer domination. If Nebraska were to beat Miami 35-3 at any point, the state would lose it's mind, and declare a return to glory was on the horizon.

 

Wisconsin definitely slipped this year. I'm not arguing that. I'm just saying that the bowl game should that they still have some life.

 

Had we played them in that same bowl game, we may have won by a similar score.  Miami wasn't motivated, and then they lost their coach.  Probably a connection.

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8 minutes ago, Redux said:

 

Had we played them in that same bowl game, we may have won by a similar score.  Miami wasn't motivated, and then they lost their coach.  Probably a connection.

 

We'll agree to disagree, my friend.

 

I do hope you're right, though!

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16 minutes ago, B.B. Hemingway said:

 

We'll agree to disagree, my friend.

 

I do hope you're right, though!

 

Oh I totes am, Miss Cleo told me so.

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10 most-hyped teams for 2019

 

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Nebraska was one of college football's hottest programs exiting the 2018 season and seemed to gain its footing under first-year Scott Frost after a disappointing 0-6 start. The overtime loss at Northwestern, a game that seemingly slipped away late, was the turning point. Nebraska won four of its final six games, the setbacks coming by five points at Ohio State and three at Iowa

 

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Not sure what everyone is on about with Wisconsin. We lose to them consistently but they’re not some national power. 13-1 was as much of an anomaly as 8-5. They’ve consistently won 10/11 games but occasionally win 9.

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On the debate about Nebraska placing in these rankings:

 

I plugged just the final 6 games into the Pythagorean win expectation formula. The result is .7287 or somewhere between 8-9 wins in a 12 game schedule. This matches the win ratio actually garnered during that stretch. 

 

This is the cutoff point for the bottom part of the rankings in any given year. So it’s fair to say had Nebraska played that way all season, they’d probably be ranked somewhere in the bottom 5.

 

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I don't know what next season will look like, but we are a few classes away from what Clemson and Bama have in talent.  To be completely honest, we are few classes away from winning any kind of Big 10 hardware, but even further away from Clemson and Bama.

 

Good news is that I think after last nights debacle, Saban won't remain king for much longer.  Dabo Swinney is a much more relateable coach and gives credit to his players more than himself.  Bama's kids don't look like they enjoy playing the game, while Clemson's look like college kids having a blast.  Something to be said for that.

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9 hours ago, Nebhawk said:

I don't know what next season will look like, but we are a few classes away from what Clemson and Bama have in talent.  To be completely honest, we are few classes away from winning any kind of Big 10 hardware, but even further away from Clemson and Bama.

 

Good news is that I think after last nights debacle, Saban won't remain king for much longer.  Dabo Swinney is a much more relateable coach and gives credit to his players more than himself.  Bama's kids don't look like they enjoy playing the game, while Clemson's look like college kids having a blast.  Something to be said for that.


Good post. By "classes" I assume you mean "tiers," right? If so, I agree. Especially athletically on defense. 

 

Beating both Wisconsin and Iowa in the same season is a bigger feat than most fans probably realize or care to admit. If it happens this season I will be a little bit surprised. Winning one of the two could still possibly put us in Indy.

 

At any rate, nice to see us in the pre-seaon rankings mix.

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18 hours ago, Moiraine said:

Not sure what everyone is on about with Wisconsin. We lose to them consistently but they’re not some national power. 13-1 was as much of an anomaly as 8-5. They’ve consistently won 10/11 games but occasionally win 9.

 

We almost beat them in Madison with one of the most head scratching inconsistent shoot ourselves in the foot teams in program history.  It just feels like the series is about to swing.

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11 hours ago, Nebhawk said:

I don't know what next season will look like, but we are a few classes away from what Clemson and Bama have in talent.

 

 

Both of those programs have a lot more talent than Nebraska has currently.  Alabama, has taken running out of their ears and this year's class is no different.  Out of 28 commits, only one is not a 4* or 5* player.  That's absolutely nuts.  However, when looking at Clemson.  Their class is much more pedestrian.  Yes, it's better than Nebraska's.  I'm not trying to say Nebraska's is equal to them.

 

But, they have 2 - 5*, 11 - 4* and 13 - 3*

 

Nebraska has  0 - 5*, 6 - 4* and 19 - 3*

 

I actually think we will end up with at least 8 - 4* commits.

 

Yes, Clemson's talent is better.  No question about it.  But, if we keep improving in recruiting, I think we can get to their level.

 

Interesting thing about Clemson's class.  We all probably agree we need to dominate in the trenches and that's a large part of how Clemson beat Alabama.  However, only 2 of their 13 4 or 5* players are linemen.  Meanwhile, I think we will end up with 2 4* linemen also.

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Aggravating to this Gophers fan - after our 3-1 finish with blowout wins over Purdue, Wisconsin, and GA Tech, that Nebraska is ranked higher than Minnesota.  That, my Cornhusker friends, is the lingering benefit of Nebraska's longtime reputation.

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@BigRedBuster What I always notice is that when you look at the recruiting rankings, there's a clear top tier in the B1G of Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. We've typically been at the top of the second tier in the conference, but it's a pretty noticeable gap. And while this year's class ain't bad, overall it's still in that '#25 class, give or take' range we've been in for ages and a long way from closing that gap with the top-tier teams. (Though having a class that's even this good after back-to-back 4-8 years is perhaps a feat in itself.)

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18 minutes ago, Toe said:

@BigRedBuster What I always notice is that when you look at the recruiting rankings, there's a clear top tier in the B1G of Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State. We've typically been at the top of the second tier in the conference, but it's a pretty noticeable gap. And while this year's class ain't bad, overall it's still in that '#25 class, give or take' range we've been in for ages and a long way from closing that gap with the top-tier teams. (Though having a class that's even this good after back-to-back 4-8 years is perhaps a feat in itself.)

 

Yes, typically, OSU, MI, and PSU are getting those top 10 ranked classes.  We are the next team in the 20-25 range.  We need to get closer to them.  I think we can if we start winning the west and playing in the CCG on a regular basis.

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13 minutes ago, Toe said:

And while this year's class ain't bad, overall it's still in that '#25 class, give or take' range we've been in for ages and a long way from closing that gap with the top-tier teams. (Though having a class that's even this good after back-to-back 4-8 years is perhaps a feat in itself.)

 

The feat will be getting such a class to respond on the field. The attrition rate has been so high the past few years that we aren’t hitting even normal levels of contribution. We may be hitting top 25 numbers on signing day, but we aren’t on Senior day.  That’s going to change, though, especially with this 2019 class. Some real go getters in this group. The coaches are very honest in their recruiting pitch, and while that may turn off some kids, I think we will get more out of the ones we do get.

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28 minutes ago, brophog said:

 

The feat will be getting such a class to respond on the field. The attrition rate has been so high the past few years that we aren’t hitting even normal levels of contribution. We may be hitting top 25 numbers on signing day, but we aren’t on Senior day.  That’s going to change, though, especially with this 2019 class. Some real go getters in this group. The coaches are very honest in their recruiting pitch, and while that may turn off some kids, I think we will get more out of the ones we do get.

 

I think the contribution % of a class is about normal at Nebraska.  Problem we have had over quite a while is that the top of our class doesn't contribute.  So, while we have a 20-25 ranked class, the guys who are contributing would probably make up more of a 40-50 ranked class.

 

I believe that will change under Frost and it's why I believe we will see a big improvement in the product on the field even though we haven't (yet) improved the rankings of our classes.

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19 hours ago, everybody knows my name said:

Aggravating to this Gophers fan - after our 3-1 finish with blowout wins over Purdue, Wisconsin, and GA Tech, that Nebraska is ranked higher than Minnesota.  That, my Cornhusker friends, is the lingering benefit of Nebraska's longtime reputation.

 

 

I think it has more to do with Nebraska's absolute beatdown of Minnesota in 2018.

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19 hours ago, everybody knows my name said:

Aggravating to this Gophers fan - after our 3-1 finish with blowout wins over Purdue, Wisconsin, and GA Tech, that Nebraska is ranked higher than Minnesota.  That, my Cornhusker friends, is the lingering benefit of Nebraska's longtime reputation.

It has to do with Nebraska beating Minny fairly easily and the fact Frost is in going into year 2 and Fleck is in year 0 (Version 3.0) or whatever he wants to call it.  Plus going 4-2 in  the final 6 games with the only 2 losses coming on the road to #3 OSU and Iowa.  Both very winnable games.  

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On 1/9/2019 at 2:13 PM, BigRedBuster said:

I think the contribution % of a class is about normal at Nebraska.

 

No way. The coaching changes have gutted whole classes, and too many walk-ons have been forced to play significant roles to compensate for that.

 

We are in total agreement on Frost, though. 

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5 minutes ago, brophog said:

 

No way. The coaching changes have gutted whole classes, and too many walk-ons have been forced to play significant roles to compensate for that.

 

We are in total agreement on Frost, though. 

Of course this coaching change has cause a huge turnover in players, which I find as a positive. 

 

The statement you quoted was meant to be about over the last 10+ years of our program floundering. 

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23 hours ago, swmohusker said:

It has to do with Nebraska beating Minny fairly easily and the fact Frost is in going into year 2 and Fleck is in year 0 (Version 3.0) or whatever he wants to call it.  Plus going 4-2 in  the final 6 games with the only 2 losses coming on the road to #3 OSU and Iowa.  Both very winnable games.  

 

A lot of it is UCF. That’s what gives a neutral observer the benefit of the doubt on those last 6 games. Some of that is the success they had under Frost, some of that is the continued success they had this past year. It paints the picture that he knows how to get there, even if he hasn’t yet at Nebraska.

 

Minnesota also finished 4-2 after losing 4 straight. It just doesn’t feel like it because while Frost continually tries to raise the bar, Fleck seems to lower expectations. It diminishes his accomplishments, which were rather significant during the last half of the season.

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30 minutes ago, brophog said:

 

A lot of it is UCF. That’s what gives a neutral observer the benefit of the doubt on those last 6 games. Some of that is the success they had under Frost, some of that is the continued success they had this past year. It paints the picture that he knows how to get there, even if he hasn’t yet at Nebraska.

 

Minnesota also finished 4-2 after losing 4 straight. It just doesn’t feel like it because while Frost continually tries to raise the bar, Fleck seems to lower expectations. It diminishes his accomplishments, which were rather significant during the last half of the season.

Maybe a little is UCF but if you look at what Frost brings to the table, you can see that forming in Lincoln.  You have a QB that is a Heisman caliber type QB that this offense can build around.  You have a running game that went from the laughing stock of the B1G to being towards to the top.  All things point to continued offensive improvement which is expected from a Frost led team.  While the defense was far from great, they also showed improvement without having the personnel to run that scheme.  Recruiting rankings also show that talent level should be trending up. 

 

Minny had a nice finish to their year, but I am not sure they have quite the identity formed to place them in the top 25.  They havent found a QB to take the reins of their program.  Right now I would much rather face the Fleck version of the Gophers than the Kill version.  We will see if this year Fleck can get over the hump, but I would bet on Nebraska over Minny right now.  

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We are finishing inside the top 15 at the end of 2019, mark it.  This team is about to make a big jump, our schedule is softer than it looks, and teams are again going to not look forward to playing us.

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Nebraska and Minnesota are going to be the two big surprises in the Big Ten next year.

 

I don't want to take anything away from Nebraska, or diminish them in any way.  Let me just point out that our defensive personnel were too good to give up 53 points to Nebraska in 2018.  Our pts given up in Big Ten games before firing DC Robb Smith: 42, 48, 30, 53, 31, 55.  Pts given up after replacing Smith with Joe Rossi: 10, 24, 15, 10.  Things will be different in 2019.

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