I saw my first commercial for The Masters last night. I enjoy watching that tournament, but I’m not a huge golf guy so I’m not that attached to it. “The tradition unlike any other” is mostly just the “tradition that comes after the Final Four” to me.
The college football version of this, at least for me, is the too-early-top-25. (“It’s TOO early, I tell ya!”) Clemson beats Alabama in one of the greatest championship games ever? Great. Now let’s talk about the 2017 season.
ESPN, SB Nation and USA Today all had rankings ready to go the moment the championship game ended. These rankings, which will continue to be updated through the offseason, won’t be very kind to Nebraska. The Huskers have to replace key players, the returning starters numbers will be low-ish and, unlike 2015, there’s no notion that Nebraska underachieved, which is always good for a little rankings bump. Mark Schlabach’s top 25 for ESPN didn’t have a “receiving votes” category, but the other two did. In those, Nebraska came in 30th in Paul Myerberg’s set for USA Today and, assuming SB Nation’s receiving-votes group was in order of votes, the Huskers were 33rd there.
So which teams are viewed as the top contenders next year? The usual suspects: Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, USC. Penn State is buzzy, of course, landing in the top-five at ESPN and SB Nation. Looks like it’ll be a long offseason of me selling Nittany Lions stock. They’ll be good. They have almost everyone back, and there’s almost no reason to predict a step back other than everyone is expecting a step forward from this year’s magical run and college football progression is rarely so linear.
In addition to Penn State and Ohio State, Wisconsin was the other Nebraska opponent to make all three rankings with the Badgers hanging right on the edge of the top 10. Oregon, Iowa and Northwestern all grabbed at least a couple of votes over at SB Nation.
Prefer predictions you can actually bet on? Westgate released 2017-18 national-title odds immediately after last night’s game. Nebraska came in at 200-1, sharing the same odds as Georgia Tech and Utah. Northwestern, Iowa and Minnesota were all in the next tier at 300-1. Michigan State (3-9 in 2015) was a step above at 100-1.
The Grab Bag
- Busy day on the site yesterday. New Huskers assistant Kayla Banwarth talked about her new job. Staff writer Jacob Padilla analyzed Nebraska’s loss to Northwestern and Nebrasketball’s latest addition, Georgetown transfer Isaac Copeland. (Latter two Premium)
- Brian Ferentz, Kirk’s son, is Iowa’s new offensive coordinator.
- Alabama had to defend 99 plays last night. A roundup of other interesting numbers from last night.
- Randy York counts down the Huskers’ 10 most memorable moments from 2016.
Today’s Song of Today