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Composite 2019 Pre-Season Rankings

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
5 Year Member
Purdue is another team that could win the West ... or finish last.
Totally agree.

On paper, Nebraska could/should easily win the west. We have the talent and coaching to do so. But those long October and November weekends set in and players start taking a beating. Purdue managed to knock off Ohio State last year, if memory serves, which means that really, Illinois is about the only team in the west I feel confident in overlooking, if such a thing can be said (and it shouldn't).
 

wcbsas

All Legend
15 Year Member
I caught a minor error on that, actually. USA Today ranked Penn State #21, not #31. I fat-fingered the data. I'll correct it once I have more updates and future polls to add. That change will also cause Penn State and Auburn to flip spots on the Composite Rankings, but again, it's a minor fix.

To your point overall, though, USA Today is a bit bullish on both PSU and Wisky. I'm actually in that camp regarding the Badgers as I don't think they bring a lot back from 2018 other than their system of producing meatball O-Linemen. I'm not sure it will be enough to warrant a Top 15 ranking as some have projected though. They draw Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State from the East, so I fully expect Wisconsin to drop a couple of ugly losses this year.
Wisconsin scares me ... I think their offensive line could be better this year despite losing 3 guys to the NFL. Their incoming true freshman Graham Mertz could be the real deal ... Russell Wilson-esque ... he was in spring camp and despite all of the coach-speak is the likely starter headed into fall camp. There's a reason 3-year starter Alex Hornibrook grad transferred to Florida State!
 

Pops

I have squandered my resistance
10 Year Member
Let's talk Big Ten West for a minute.

Nebraska and Northwestern are almost a dead-heat, while Wisconsin has a bigger swing. Minnesota and Iowa, however, both have smaller swings (3 or 4 spots) and are both ranked below Nebraska in the composite numbers. A quick glance makes me think that Wisconsin is the front runner for the division, but that both of the NUs are within striking distance. I expect Iowa and Minnesota to both be bowl teams, but unless there's some secret weapon in Iowa City or Minneapolis, I would expect them to finish middle of the pack.

Projections would likely say:

1. Wisconsin
t2. Nebraska-Northwestern
4. Iowa
5. Minnesota
t-6. Illinois & Purdue
I'll take MN for #1
 

HuskerWeatherman

Husker Fan
15 Year Member
Wisconsin scares me ... I think their offensive line could be better this year despite losing 3 guys to the NFL. Their incoming true freshman Graham Mertz could be the real deal ... Russell Wilson-esque ... he was in spring camp and despite all of the coach-speak is the likely starter headed into fall camp. There's a reason 3-year starter Alex Hornibrook grad transferred to Florida State!
And you are the last person who would ever over-hype Wisconsin.

Wisconsin still has Jonathan Taylor -- top five in any preseason Heisman list -- and the most yards ever by a Wisconsin RB through his sophomore season.

Wisconsin may lose experience at QB -- but they are likely gaining a better player. And Mertz, as you said, may be the real deal. The Badgers haven't recruited a QB at his level in -- forever.

Wisconsin also returns the top four players in receiving yardage.

But they definitely have a tough schedule. They play Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State from the East. Travel to Nebraska. Travel to Minnesota (the Gophers handled the Badgers last season).
 

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
5 Year Member
Meanwhile, I'm not sold on Ohio State clenching the East.

They've been good for a long time, but last season you started to see cracks when they got absolutely CRUSHED by Purdue (29pt MOV!), then almost lost to a kinda-meh Nebraska team, and then again almost lost to Maryland. Yes, Maryland. They went to overtime and the Terps lost by a single point.

The rebounded by crushing Michigan (solid win) and Northwestern (okay win) and then hung on for a win over Washington in the Rose Bowl.

With the loss of Urban Meyer and a new QB, I'm not convinced they are an automatic lock for the Big Ten CCG. I'd say Michigan seems like a safer bet and I'm sure Harbaugh is itching for some revenge seeing how the Buckeyes are riding a 7-game winning streak over the Wolverines. And James Franklin somehow seems to always luck himself into 10+ win seasons despite being a mid-tier coach, IMO. I think the Buckeyes will have an uphill battle this season, and I'm hoping Nebraska can catch them off guard with an early season game. They'll probably be over confident and not settled into the rigor of Big Ten play. Let's be the trap game on OSU's schedule.
 
Meanwhile, I'm not sold on Ohio State clenching the East.

They've been good for a long time, but last season you started to see cracks when they got absolutely CRUSHED by Purdue (29pt MOV!), then almost lost to a kinda-meh Nebraska team, and then again almost lost to Maryland. Yes, Maryland. They went to overtime and the Terps lost by a single point.

The rebounded by crushing Michigan (solid win) and Northwestern (okay win) and then hung on for a win over Washington in the Rose Bowl.

With the loss of Urban Meyer and a new QB, I'm not convinced they are an automatic lock for the Big Ten CCG. I'd say Michigan seems like a safer bet and I'm sure Harbaugh is itching for some revenge seeing how the Buckeyes are riding a 7-game winning streak over the Wolverines. And James Franklin somehow seems to always luck himself into 10+ win seasons despite being a mid-tier coach, IMO. I think the Buckeyes will have an uphill battle this season, and I'm hoping Nebraska can catch them off guard with an early season game. They'll probably be over confident and not settled into the rigor of Big Ten play. Let's be the trap game on OSU's schedule.
I expect OSU to lose around 2-3 regular season games this year, but I wouldn't be shocked if they either finished undefeated in the regular season or dropped 5 games. The Nebraska game will play a significant role in predicting the rest of the season. The Buckeye fan base is nutso. They cannot imagine losing to Nebraska, so if that happens, Ryan Day is going to wish he was coaching at THE Oregon State University instead. I expect Michigan to finally beat them this year, but they also play a whole slate of games that create matchup problems for them. Every close game will be discussed like it's a loss, and every loss will be viewed by the fans as Armageddon. If Michigan is their third loss of the year, over half of the fans will want him fired.
 

Huskerthom

All Legend
5 Year Member
I expect OSU to lose around 2-3 regular season games this year, but I wouldn't be shocked if they either finished undefeated in the regular season or dropped 5 games. The Nebraska game will play a significant role in predicting the rest of the season. The Buckeye fan base is nutso. They cannot imagine losing to Nebraska, so if that happens, Ryan Day is going to wish he was coaching at THE Oregon State University instead. I expect Michigan to finally beat them this year, but they also play a whole slate of games that create matchup problems for them. Every close game will be discussed like it's a loss, and every loss will be viewed by the fans as Armageddon. If Michigan is their third loss of the year, over half of the fans will want him fired.
If they lose again to tOSU without Urb. That may get the Mich fans rumbling. If you can not beat tOSU you can not coach at MI.
 

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
5 Year Member
If they lose again to tOSU without Urb. That may get the Mich fans rumbling. If you can not beat tOSU you can not coach at MI.
It's reminiscent of how Osborne couldn't beat Oklahoma for a while. Many fans wanted him ran out of town on a rail. Good thing that didn't happen.
 

David3464

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
Totally agree.

On paper, Nebraska could/should easily win the west. We have the talent and coaching to do so. But those long October and November weekends set in and players start taking a beating. Purdue managed to knock off Ohio State last year, if memory serves, which means that really, Illinois is about the only team in the west I feel confident in overlooking, if such a thing can be said (and it shouldn't).
Nebraska should "easily win the West"? Based on what exactly? Finishing 4-8 each of the last two seasons and getting run over by Wisky, Purdue, Iowa, and Northwestern? I'm sorry, but the Huskers have proved absolutely ZERO to me that shows they can win the West this year based on anything I saw last year from the defense. Even the offense was pretty stoppable against the good defenses we played like Iowa, Wisky. I think alot of people have rose colored glasses on. I suggest re-watching how poorly the defense played against those teamsms..heck even how the offense looked. Then, tell me how much better the huskers are than those teams.
 

DuckTownHusker

Blackshirt Sith Lord
5 Year Member
Nebraska should "easily win the West"? Based on what exactly? Finishing 4-8 each of the last two seasons and getting run over by Wisky, Purdue, Iowa, and Northwestern? I'm sorry, but the Huskers have proved absolutely ZERO to me that shows they can win the West this year based on anything I saw last year from the defense. Even the offense was pretty stoppable against the good defenses we played like Iowa, Wisky. I think alot of people have rose colored glasses on. I suggest re-watching how poorly the defense played against those teamsms..heck even how the offense looked. Then, tell me how much better the huskers are than those teams.
Offense alone. Martinez is a top 3 returning player in the Big Ten, and that's based off numbers as a freshman, learning a new system after he hadn't played football in 1-2 years. I think we can easily put up 35ppg this year.
 
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