That’s one spot ahead of where Dienhart ranked Nebraska last week, behind Ohio State and Michigan, of course, and one spot ahead of Wisconsin.
The Badgers fell from No. 2 to No. 4 based on their road loss to Michigan. I don’t know that that would’ve been enough for me to vault Nebraska over Wisconsin. On one hand, the Badgers lost to the Wolverines by a touchdown while throwing three interceptions (Michigan threw one). On the other hand, Michigan missed three field goals, so that score could’ve looked more like it was expected to look.
So if you had to pick between Nebraska and Wisconsin right now, which are you taking? I still lean Wisconsin because I’ll always pick a really good defense over a really good offense. That said, Wisconsin has some things to work out behind center.
Over in the East, Maryland is Dienhart’s third-best team this week and it’s hard to make the argument for anyone else. The 4-0 Terps head to Penn State this weekend in what should be a fascinating game and maybe a really dangerous one for James Franklin should the Nittany Lions lose. If that were to happen, Franklin’s career record at Penn State falls to 17-15 and if Maryland looks ascendant that becomes a problem quickly in State College. A buzz-worthy Maryland program is probably the greatest challenge to a piece of the recruiting map typically dominated by the Nittany Lions.
TURMOIL IN TEXAS
Things are tenuous once again in Texas now that the Longhorns are 2-2 with back-to-back losses. An anonymous source at Texas told Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel that Charlie Strong’s job is far from safe:
A month later, Strong finds himself in a perilous situation for his future at Texas. A high-ranking Texas official said on Sunday night that Strong is “very close” to losing his job at the end of the season after back-to-back road losses to Cal and Oklahoma State. The official said that there will be no move made during the year on Strong. Part of that comes from the fact that there’s no logical candidate on the staff to take over the program. An announcement is also expected as soon as Monday that defensive coordinator Vance Bedford will be demoted after the Longhorns have given up 99 points the past two games. Strong is expected to take over play calling duties.
Strong is 13–16 overall in his third year in Austin. Texas officials are pleased with how he’s recruited and overhauled the program’s talent and culture in the wake of the lack of talent and discipline left behind at the end of Mack Brown’s tenure. But there are too many details in game management and special teams that the Longhorns have struggled with. Texas getting three extra points blocked in the first half at Oklahoma State on Saturday perpetuated the notion that the Longhorns have failed to pay attention to detail under Strong.
Of course this is all setting up for Texas to beat No. 20 Oklahoma in Dallas this Saturday, which means both fan bases can be angsty. Sooner fans will be ready to be done with Bob Stoops and Texas fans will have to be happy, though they probably won’t be happy about being happy because it might buy Strong some time.
Make sense? College football, everyone. It is a sport burdened with bringing unrealistic amounts of joy, but it’s so much better at inflicting anguish.
THE GRAB BAG
>>Penn State officials say they received an anonymous threat at Beaver Stadium prior to Saturday’s Minnesota-Penn State game. After a stadium sweep didn’t uncover anything, the game went on as scheduled.
>>Colorado is 4-1, back in the top 25 and business is booming for businesses affiliated with the Buffs.
>>Here’s a breakdown of the formations, plays and personnel Nebraska used in its win over Illinois from Husker Chalk Talk.
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.