Hot Reads: B1G Projections
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Hot Reads: B1G Projections

March 29, 2017

It was apparent the moment the final gun sounded on Nebraska’s 40-10 loss to Iowa last November that the offseason wasn’t going to be kind to the Huskers. A promising 7-0 start to Mike Riley’s second year ended with a 2-3 finish to the regular season, the point totals weren’t that of a nine-win team and, turning an eye towards 2017, Nebraska had a bunch of starters to replace.

That’s a classic recipe for middling offseason projections. Even though I knew that would be the case, I have to say it’s still a little bit shocking to see it actually transpiring. There have been a few times this offseason that I’ve looked at a projected record or conference rankings for 2017 and thought, “oof.”

I think that’s the best word. Knowing a stomach punch was in store for Nebraska doesn’t eliminate the feeling of watching said stomach punch.

The latest such incident comes courtesy of Michigan site MGoBlog, where one of its contributors extrapolated SB Nation’s S&P+ and ESPN’s FPI rankings to come up with projected standings and win probabilities for the Big Ten.

On the standings side, both extrapolations have the Huskers finishing fourth in the West Division. The FPI-based projection has Nebraska going 3-6 in conference play and 5-7 overall. It’s only a projection, but a season like that seems pretty damaging at this particular stage to Nebraska football. Making my own assumptions here, but a 5-7 record would mean the Huskers lost a game to one of these opponents — Arkansas State, Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue — as well as all six of the remaining games. Oof.

From a win-total perspective, here’s MGoBlog’s breakdown for the Huskers:

Next in the B1GW Bubble are the Cornhuskers, whose best chance to break back into the B1GCG again may have been last season. Both S&P+ and FPI numbers place them at a perfectly mediocre 6-6 record, with S&P+ tilting toward the over, and FPI, the under. As such, S&P+ gives the Huskers a 72% chance of reaching bowl eligibility and FPI, a 52% chance.

Oof again. Since January I’ve sort of had my internal win total for Nebraska set at 7.5. That’s the spot where I’m not sure if I’d go over or under and I wondered if that wasn’t a half-game too low.

It seems like most of the early simulations, however, are saying it’s too high. I guess the good news for Nebraska fans could be this: ESPN’s FPI was only the seventh-most accurate preseason predictor last year.

The potentially bad news? That’s seventh out of 21 outlets. FPI was the sixth-most accurate in 2015.

The Grab Bag

  • ICYMI: Here’s Jacob Padilla’s practice report from Tuesday and Mike Babcock’s game story from Nebraska baseball’s 11-1 win over Kansas State.
  • From one Stoops to another: Kentucky graduate transfer wide receiver Jeff Badet is headed to Oklahoma. Badet reportedly consider Nebraska early in the process.
  • Looks like LSU is working hard to expand beer sales at football games this season.
  • One-time Husker Drake Martinez is transferring from Michigan State.

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