Hot Reads: Is Eight the Number for Nebraska in 2019?
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Hot Reads: Is Eight the Number for Nebraska in 2019?

May 02, 2019

Have you made your record prediction yet for the Huskers' 2019 regular season? If not, don't worry, there's plenty of time. But we are moving into magazine season––well, it's always magazine season around here, but I mean football preview magazine season––and all of those will include a record prediction. People are starting to talk about it. In some cases, the win totals are even starting to trickle out. released a handful of win totals for college football last month. Nebraska's number was set at eight regular-season wins with a bit of a premium (-130) to pick the over. Wisconsin was the only other West team with a listed win total in that 22-team rollout. The Badgers over/under was set at 8.5 (-110/-110).

The win total I'm most interested in seeing this offseason is that from ESPN's Football Power Index. After being tabbed for 5.5 wins each of the past two seasons, it appears as though the Huskers are poised for a more palatable projection in 2019. ESPN has been a bit slow to release its full FPI rankings this offseason. Instead, we've gotten it in pieces.

Back in February I used one of those pieces to estimate what the line could be for each of Nebraska's game. It was just my estimate, based on FPI and a 2.5-point adjustment for the home team, and not the actual FPI projection. That's important to note.

But since we're talking win totals today and not point spreads, let's take that initial estimate a step further and convert those (estimated) point spreads into (estimated) win probabilities. Once you have win probabilities for all 12 games you can add them up and come up with a win total.

Here we go.

South Alabama -30 99%
at Colorado -5.5 65%
Northern Illinois -18.5 96%
at Illinois -4 75%
Ohio State +3.5 39%
Northwestern -7.5 73%
at Minnesota +4 38%
Indiana -6 66%
at Purdue -5.5 65%
Wisconsin +0.5 50%
at Maryland -5.5 65%
Iowa Pick 50%

In case you weren't adding those percentages up as you went along, they total . . . extended drumroll . . . 7.81 wins. Barring any big changes from the FPI 1.0 ratings, I'm guessing the projected record there will be pretty close to 8-4 when ESPN gets around to releasing it.

That probably doesn't strike you as any great revelation; 8-4 seems to be where people are naturally landing in the conversations I've had. At least one sports book put that out as the actual number. FPI looks like it'll be close to it, too.

I'm feeling pretty safe in saying that eight is probably the number. So, if you want to stand out among your friends when discussing the season ahead, pick something other than 8-4. Heck, given that people tend to favor their own teams 9-3 might not even be enough to make you stand out in a Husker crowd. If your goal is to be different and get attention, we're probably talking any prediction under eight or you've got to go to 10.

If you're goal is to be close to correct, however, the closer you stick to eight the better odds you should have.

The Grab Bag

  • Jacob Padilla looks at Huskers’ recent success in the NFL as undrafted free agents.
  • Nebraska basketball added to its roster again, welcoming Western Kentucky transfer Dalano Banton.
  • Greg Smith catches up with 3-star defensive back DJ Taylor, who recently received a Husker offer.
  • Talking linebacker depth, offensive expectations, walk-ons and more in this week’s Mailbag.

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