How does a diehard college football fan reel in the offseason? There's the old, reliable way. It's the road you've driven 1,000 times. Turn off the GPS. Don't need it. Know every landmark and exactly where you are when you see them. This is the interstate, after all. It's impossible to get lost. First you'll hit signing day, then the start of spring practice, the spring game, the Hail Varsity Yearbook, conference media days, fan day, fall camp, first football Saturday of the season. See you when you get there.
In recent years, my route to a new season has been slower but more scenic. At least if you're into the scenes I'm into.
I find that I now know how to get home just via various data dumps between January and September. The traditional way includes the well-maintained, just-off-the-interstate attractions. (If you're in the area, you simply have to stop and see Spring Game. Worth the price of admission.) My new way includes more roadside kitsch and low-culture esoterica. In this land of the World's Largest Brick and Carhenge, you can spend too much time thinking about best-guesses; way-too-early top 25s and power rankings, national-title odds and 1,000-page PDFs. The Hail Varsity Yearbook. (Yes, I'm trying to brainwash you.)
Taking this second road will get you there just as good, but it might also make you prone to using meandering analogies to convey what should really be a simple point: I spent some time visiting College Football Win Totals on Monday.
Nebraska's over/under was set at eight wins by BetOnline.
That's an improvement over last year. The Huskers' drew a six from the sports books ahead of the 2018 season (with the juice on the under), and a little less than that from the predictive power rankings.
With a second-year quarterback, second-year in a new system and a seemingly more favorable schedule in 2019, eight feels like a good conversation starter. That's all an over/under is meant to be––a conversation you can have among friends. And then bet on.
The Huskers are one of five Big Ten teams to get a win total in this initial release. Ohio State led the way at 10 followed by Michigan (9.5), Penn State (8.5) and Wisconsin (8.5). Nebraska only faces two of those teams in the regular season––Buckeyes and Badgers––and no other nonconference team is on the list. (We'll get win totals for every team in the months ahead.) That said, it's hard to imagine Iowa is too far off the pace, if at all. Northwestern might be, but has won at least eight regular-season games the past two seasons.
Alabama and Clemson, of course, topped the list at 11 wins each. I'd take the over on Clemson if I had to, but there was only one number among the 25 released the sparked an immediate "buy!" or "sell!" from me. Give me the over on Tennessee at seven wins. I'd also strongly consider taking the under on Texas (9.5), the over on Boise State (8.5), the over on Miami (8.5) and the under on UCF (10).
Nebraska at eight? I'm going to continue thinking about that one on my offseason drive.
The Grab Bag
- There was football practice yesterday. Here’s proof: notebook, observations, leaders on the o-line, sights and sounds, Troy Walters and Scott Frost.
- Mario Verduzco on recruiting cubes.
- Nebraska basketball will have enough scholarship players to field a starting five on Wednesday, but the Huskers are cutting it close. (Big Ten Awards)
- Nate Fisher earns Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week.
- Future Huskers––football and hoops!––talk about their state basketball tournament experience.
Today’s Song of Today