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Hot Reads: Nebraska Cracks a Top 25, Just in Time

May 04, 2017

Nebraska made it. Into a preseason top 25, that is. I honestly didn’t think it would happen. It’s not that the Huskers are that far off — they’re not kicking around in the bottom 25, for example — just that their profile (overachieved slightly in previous season, lot to replace) so classically matches that of an unranked team.

But I guess I should have realized that eventually someone would take a flyer on the Huskers for the opportunity to say, “told you so.” Stewart Mandel of FOXSports.com is taking that shot. Nebraska showed up at No. 23 in his post-spring top 25:

The Huskers’ offense should be in capable hands with Tulane transfer QB Tanner Lee. He’ll have some nice targets to throw to in Stanley Morgan Jr. and De’Mornay Pierson-El, but the Huskers’ offensive line remains a concern. New coordinator Bob Diaco was so secretive about his 3-4 defense that the Huskers didn’t show it in the spring game. CBs Lamar Jackson and Chris Jones could become stout bookends.

It’s kind of a big jump for Nebraska. The Huskers weren’t listed in the top 30 in Mandel’s previous ranking (which, of course, were “way too early”). I guess he too liked what he saw from Lee this spring as its the one notable thing that may have changed during the Huskers’ spring. (I will still maintain that Nebraska’s ceiling in 2017 is set by its defense.)

Mississippi State also joined the top 25 from the ranks of the unranked. That meant two teams had to drop out, and they both happen to wear orange — Texas (previously 20th) and Tennessee (22nd).

I think you’ll find the Longhorns in whatever “real” top 25 you prefer at the end of the season. Texas has a pretty enviable setup in that this was always going to be Charlie Strong’s most talented roster, but instead of Strong getting to manipulate said roster, Tom Herman will. And if all Texas is missing this season is the touchy-feely stuff like camaraderie and purpose, I suspect Herman will amply provide that.

As for the Vols, if they, playing in the weaker SEC East, finish behind Mississippi State, playing in the nearly murderous (at least for the Bulldogs) SEC West, then maybe Tennessee should just go out and get Mississippi State Coach Dan Mullen.

Morrow to Marquette

Former Nebraska forward Ed Morrow Jr. has found a new hoops home. According to a report from ESPN, he will be joining Marquette to continue his hoops career.

Morrow, a 6-foot-7 forward, was one of the best available sit-out transfers. He averaged 9.4 points and 7.5 rebounds last season.

“Coach Wojo had something called the Ed Morrow Blueprint,” Morrow said. “The No. 1 thing that sold me was their staff. There’s a lot of knowledge and experience on that staff. Their situation is pretty unique. When I got to pick their brains, there was just so much stuff they said that I was looking for. Their role for me was just developing. Getting better. I see myself getting better there. I just feel more comfortable there.”

Best-available, huh? Not being snarky. Morrow’s departure clearly hurts Nebraska and Husker fans seemed to love him, but if a hard working, slightly undersized four (who wants to be a three) is among the top of the class it might say something about this group of transfers.

The Grab Bag

  • A Florida judge decided to issue Charlie Strong a strong rebuke from the bench during a preliminary hearing for one of Strong’s players at USF.
  • Nebraska’s 1962 Gotham Bowl win over Miami was the Game of the Year of the Day over at Football Study Hall yesterday.
  • Paul Myerberg of USA Today sizes up the conference races in college football this season.
  • Nebraska is given 15-to-1 odds to win the Big Ten in a new set of odds from CG Technology.

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