Make it five consecutive seasons without a preseason ranking in the Amway Coaches Poll for Nebraska.
The preseason poll was released on Thursday and the Huskers just missed out on the top 25. Nebraska topped the receiving votes category with 152 points. Ohio State was the top-ranked Big Ten team at No. 5 followed by No. 7 Michigan, No. 14 Penn State, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 19 Iowa No. 20 Michigan State and No. 25 Northwestern.
Seven coaches from the Big Ten are on the 65-person Board of Coaches that votes in the poll, including Scott Frost.
The last time the Huskers appeared in a preseason poll—Associated Press or Coaches—was in 2014 when they opened at No. 22 in both. Nebraska last appeared in any Coaches poll in Week 15 of the 2016 season. The preseason AP poll will be released later this month.
The placement right outside of the top 25 in the Coaches poll is the latest data point in an offseason of ever-growing hype. The Huskers found their way onto early-offseason watch lists, earned pretty decent playoff odds, garnered Phil Steele’s nomination for the most improved team of 2019 and then were named as the Big Ten West favorite by cleveland.com.
Nebraska drawing attention from the coaches has a lot to do with the way it ended the 2018 season. Scott Frost’s debut campaign got off to a 0-6 start but closed the year 4-2 with a five-point loss on the road to the eventual Big Ten champ Ohio State and a three-point loss to Iowa.
From the first half of the year to the second half, the Huskers’ scoring offense improved from 23.3 points a game to 36.7 while the scoring defense went from 38.3 a game down to 24.2.
A points-per-play look at the scoring shows the exact same flip; the offense went from .316 points per play to 0.518 and the defense went from 0.507 to 0.330. The first offensive number over the entire year would have ranked Nebraska 102nd nationally, the second would have earned it the No. 12 spot, while the first defensive number would have ranked 114th and the second would have ranked 36th.
The offense got much more efficient (from 5.97 yards per play up to 6.61) and the defense started taking the ball away (six turnovers forced to 14). Nebraska looked promising.
The Huskers reported for fall camp Thursday morning. The season begins on Aug. 31 against South Alabama, an 11 a.m. kickoff inside Memorial Stadium.