What happens if Nebraska upsets both Wisconsin and Ohio State in the next two weeks? Will former Husker great Scott Frost be in Lincoln this weekend? How many wins will Husker basketball take into conference play this season?
Greg Smith, Jacob Padilla and Derek Peterson answer all that and more in this week's mailbag.
Do you feel the media is letting Darlington down for the holder of the year award this year? (@CoryHonold)
DP: So I’ll admit it. I googled “college football holder of the year” because I thought, well, maybe it might be an actual award now. I found the brilliant Michigan holder’s acceptance speech last year and now I’m officially kickstarting a #Darlington4HOTY campaign just to see what he can come up with.
JP: I’m going to deflect blame back onto the team and the coaches. Drew Brown has only gotten to attempt six field goals and 19 extra points, and Nebraska has not attempted a two-point conversion. The Huskers are not putting Darlington in a good position to showcase his abilities. #FreeDarlington #Darlington4HOTY
How many non-con wins do you think the basketball team will get this year? (@Dustin_Huber)
JP: Should-wins – Eastern Illinois, North Texas, North Dakota, UTSA, Delaware State, Stetson, Marist (if they lose to St. John’s), maybe one more in the Prlando Tournament
Toss-ups – St. John’s, UCF, Boston College
Would be an upset – West Virginia (if they beat St. John’s), Creighton (until they prove they can beat them), Kansas
St. John’s and Boston College are bad high-majors with a couple talented players. UCF is a quality mid-major with a giant human being in the middle in Tacko Fall. Nebraska can beat all three of them, but I wouldn’t expect them to sweep that group. I’ll predict 1-2 wins there and I think they win all six scheduled gimmes (no terrible December loss this year). I think Nebraska wins 1-2 in the Orlando Tournament. I don’t see them beating Creighton (sorry) or Kansas. So looking at that, I’d put the range at 7-10 out of 13 games (and I’ll take 8 or 9 as my guess).
What are chances Chris Jones plays Saturday? (@jewelzfive)
DP: Talking with Bob Diaco on Tuesday, he said the decision is up to Jones. If he wants to play, he’s been cleared and it looks as though Diaco will get him in there. Donte Williams says Jones needs to get in football shape still but I don’t know how much of that is coach speak. If this was another Illinois, I’d say Jones sits but seeing as this game is what it is, I would put it 50/50 Jones makes his debut.
GS: I think there is a strong chance that he plays. How much he plays and how effective he will be is another question. It’s not a question though that the emotional lift he gives the team just by being dressed is real though. That can’t be discounted. I don’t read much into Donte saying he hasn’t thought much about him because that’s coach speak and they aren’t going to say “yeah he’s really ahead of schedule and will play 43 snaps!”
JP: If it truly is up to Jones, I'd be surprised not to see him play. I think he would have tried to play the day after his surgery if there had been a game. The guy seems to love the game that much and is incredible confident in his abilities. However, I find it hard to think a guy who hasnt played football since the spring game will be able to make a significant difference in his first game back against a top-10 team. As for the morale boost, that's great to have but it will only last until Wisconsin punches the Huskers in the mouth. Then they'll have to just play football. Regardless of whether or not Jones plays or how much he plays if he does, it's great to get him back in the fold for the second half of the season.
If Nebraska is able to pull the upset of Wisconsin and Ohio State, where do they ended up ranked? (@IBeLionsBeats)
DP: First, if Nebraska upsets two top-10 teams in back-to-back weeks my 10-win prediction for the season is back on track and I will take full credit for the turnaround. You’re welcome, world. Second, looking at this realistically, I’ll offer two things I think will be a good indication of where Nebraska might fall if that happens.
When Mississippi State beat then-No. 12 LSU in week three, they jumped from unranked to No. 19 in the ensuing Coaches Poll. They were 2-0 entering the game, so there’s that, but it was a shock to the college football world nonetheless. Also, since 2010, there’s been an average of 4.29 teams with two losses or more ranked in the week eight edition of the Coaches Poll, Wisconsin in 2016 (a crazy year, there were nine such teams at week eight) was the only school in the top-15. Best guess would be in the 15-20 range.
GS: I’ll say they end up 18 if they pull off both of those upsets. Those wins are great but don’t wipe out a bad loss to NIU. In the teens feels about right.
Roster size. 105 for before school but is there a conference or NCAA rule limiting to 125 in season? (@CoryHonold)
DP: You are limited to 105 through the first day of class, or the first game, whichever comes first, but after that there’s no regulated size limit.
JP: For reference, Nebraska has 129 players currently listed on its roster by my count. The travel roster limit is 70 (though you didn't ask that question).
Is Scott Frost going to be at the celebration of the ‘97 team Saturday if his team's schedule permits? (@LeftCoastHusker)
DP: UCF plays the Bearcats in Cincinnati on Saturday at 7 p.m., the same time the Huskers play. Even if the Knights had a bye, I wouldn’t see Frost coming to Lincoln. Too much speculation for a coach having a really good season right now.
GS: There’s a better chance of me playing QB for Nebraska this weekend than Frost being here even if they had a bye. He’s too savvy to fuel that speculation. I’m curious how many highlights they have of him in the package they show.