There's a symmetry to Nebraska's updated S&P+ ranking. The Huskers, 1-6, checked in at 61st following their win over Minnesota on Saturday.
No team ranked ahead of Nebraska has more than four losses, a sort of dubious achievement but about the best one a 1-6 team can have, all things considered. You probably won't find any set of new power rankings this week with the Huskers higher.
There's a good reason for that. S&P+, designed and continually tweaked by Bill Connelly of SB Nation, is a predictive ranking. It is based on what has been, but it is ranking teams on what it projects will be.
Good predictive ratings are not résumé ratings, and they don’t give you bonus points for wins and losses. They simply compare expected output to actual output and adjust accordingly. That’s how a given team can win but plummet or lose and move up.
Nebraska has been sitting pretty good in these rankings since the season-opening loss to Colorado. (The Huskers are one spot ahead of the 5-2 Buffs in the latest set following Colorado's loss to Washington, and one spot behind 5-2 Troy.) Connelly noted last week that the Huskers' lack of wins while playing well (expected wins versus actual wins) was reaching near-historic levels.
The Huskers got an actual win this time and jumped eight spots in the rankings. That made Nebraska one of the 12 biggest positive movers of the week.
Overall, the six teams to beat Nebraska this season rank as follows in the latest set:
- Michigan – 4th
- Wisconsin – 13th
- Purdue – 26th
- Troy – 60th
- Colorado – 62nd
- Northwestern – 69th
The Huskers have two remaining opponents ranked in the top 25 of S&P+ following Week 8 (Bethune-Cookman is not ranked as a FCS school):
- Ohio State – 8th
- Iowa – 21st
- Michigan State – 42nd
- Illinois – 105th