Huskers will fall short of win total projections

Huskers will fall short of win total projections
Posted at 5:23 PM, May 17, 2016

I’m not normally a fan of “way too early” predictions, polls, or anything of the sort. However, the latest win total projections for Nebraska football’s 2016 season are too good not to discuss.


An online sports book released some early win total projections for the 2016 college football season with Nebraska coming in at 9.5. While most Nebraska fans are famously optimistic (during the offseason, that is), most would probably agree that number seems high coming off Mike Riley’s lackluster 2015 debut.


Even in Bo Pelini’s “at least nine wins a season” era, the Huskers fell under 9.5 mark four of his seven seasons. Looking at Nebraska’s schedule for the upcoming season, the Huskers would have to surprise quite a few college football pundits to make it over the nine win mark.


Here’s my prediction for Nebraska’s 2016 win total:


The season opens with games against Fresno State and Wyoming. Fresno State and Wyoming had five wins combined, so it should be safe to say the Huskers start 2-0.


Up next, the Huskers have a home game against the Oregon Ducks. Oregon had a disappointing campaign in 2015, finishing 9-4 with a loss to TCU in the Alamo Bowl after coming into the season ranked No. 7 in the nation.


There are a lot of question marks for the Ducks, including who the next starting quarterback will be and if they can improve their defense which ranked 117th in the nation last season. However, I think Oregon’s speed on offense outmatches the Husker’s depleted defensive line. Expect a high scoring showdown, but Oregon comes out on top. 2-1.


The Huskers head to Northwestern to open up conference play. The Huskers lost 30-28 to the Wildcats last season at home. Northwestern’s starting quarterback Clayton Thorson led the Huskies to a 10 win season last year and is back for more this season. The Huskers will want revenge, but won’t get it. 2-2.


Next is a home game against Illinois. Last year’s game against Illinois was one of the uglier football games I’ve seen in recent Husker history, topped only by last season’s Purdue game. I don’t expect that to be the case this season, especially at home. 3-2.


Coming off a bye-week, Nebraska heads to Indiana and then back home for a rematch of last year’s embarrassing loss to Purdue. Ryker Fyfe was under center against Purdue, and barring another Tommy Armstrong injury, that won’t be the case this year. Nebraska handles Indiana and Purdue. 5-2.


Week nine is when the Huskers schedule gets difficult. I mean really difficult. Nebraska travels to Wisconsin to play the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium for the first time since the “Melvin Gordon Massacre” in 2014. While there will be no Melvin Gordon, expect a raucous environment for the Huskers’ return to Madison. Wisconsin’s defense, which finished first in the Big Ten last season, holds the Huskers in check. 5-3.


Nebraska continues its road trip in Columbus to take on Ohio State. Do I need to justify this one? Barring a 2015 Michigan State-esque upset, the Huskers lose. 5-4.  


Home games against Maryland and Minnesota are next. While Minnesota poses a small threat to the Huskers, I think Nebraska wins both games handily. 7-4.


Nebraska closes out the season with a road game against Iowa. The Huskers should have been able to beat Iowa at home last season. However, Tommy Armstrong threw four interceptions, including one right in front of his own end zone on a screen pass. If the Huskers keep the ball on the ground, they could come out on top in this one. I don’t see that happening. 7-5.


With a young offensive line and defensive line that lacks depth following the departure of Vincent Valentine, Maliek Collins and Greg McMullen, the Huskers finish with seven wins.


Even with a scenario where the Huskers beat Oregon and Northwestern, Nebraska still falls short of 9.5 wins. As it is already evident, expectations are high for Mike Riley and his staff even outside of the state of Nebraska, but he isn’t phased.


“I’m excited about it. We want the expectations. We don’t want to be at Nebraska and not have those kind of things on top of us,” Riley said.

Well coach, you got what you asked for. As for my money, I’m putting it on the under.


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Twitter: @Tyler_Martin78



Tyler Martin is a Cross Platform Content Gatherer for Omaha Sports Insider/KMTV/AM 590 ESPN Omaha. Opinions are those of the writer.