Well, what started out as a 5.5-win projection for Nebraska in 2017 is down to four. That’s from the much-discussed ESPN FPI, and it’s 4.1 wins to be exact.
That initial number of 5.5 shocked a lot of people. It only took Nebraska three games to make that projection look too ambitious. Of course, these are just projections, but they do serve as sort of interesting mile markers for a season.
For that reason, let the record show that three games into 2017:
>>Nebraska ranks 61st nationally and 12th in the Big Ten in FPI.
>>The Huskers have the 37th toughest remaining schedule, which ranks second in the Big Ten West. Iowa ranks 36th.
>>The only remaining games FPI projects Nebraska to win are the next two: Rutgers (73.3 percent) and Illinois (61.7 percent). The Huskers are given a 10.6 percent chance of beating Wisconsin and a 5.3 percent chance of beating Ohio State. Not ideal when those are Nebraska’s two marquee home games.
>>This was interesting: FPI also does offense, defense and special teams efficiency rankings. Nebraska’s were 95th, 75th and 29th respectively, a pretty good indication of just how poorly the offense has been most of the time this season. Also, good job Caleb Lightbourn, Drew Brown, JD Spielman, et al.
The point here isn’t to twist the knife on what will likely already be a painful week. Just to note that whatever Nebraska’s 2017 season will or will not be starts from here. And this is how things looked in Week 3.
I don’t think there will be as much of an uproar over what FPI is saying about Nebraska this time. We put up a poll Saturday night asking for people’s updated win total with the Huskers at 1-2. Nearly 60 percent of the people who have responded so far have Nebraska at five or fewer wins.
And in case you're wondering where Penn State was projected near this time last year (seeing as how the Nittany Lions' run to the Big Ten title after a strained September has seemed to emerge as the hopeful Huskers' lifeline in recent days), when the Nittany Lions were 2-2 their projected win total dropped to 6.6.
The Grab Bag
- Nebraska returns to Dan Wolken's Misery Index: "Nebraska is stuck in a conference it doesn’t fit, stuck with a 64-year old coach whose best years are behind him and stuck with an athletics director who doesn’t want to embrace the job’s modern-day requirements of transparency and public relations."
- Mark Schlabach writes that the SEC is a shell of its former self.
- Pat Forde offers his read on the coaching situation at Nebraska right now.
- ICYMI: The HV crew offers some final takeaways from Nebraska-NIU.
Today's Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.