Give Tim Miles credit. With the unveiling of the Nebraska non-conference schedule yesterday, he sure knows how to keep the right attitude.
“When I look at our schedule, I can’t help but think that we’re building a resume for an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament,” Nebraska Coach Tim Miles said. “I see great depth and quality among our opponents.
On one hand, Miles is very much correct. If Nebraska manages to go, say, 9-3 in the non-conference portion of their schedule and hovers around .500 in the Big Ten, there’s very much a chance that a postseason berth could come their way. It’s the kind of schedule you’d typically like to see for a team under a fifth year head coach.
The problem is, Nebraska isn’t exactly a “typical team” right now.
A rash of transfers and early departures has left the Huskers with a large amount of uncertainty heading into the 2016-17 season. While there appears to be quality talent on the roster, Miles and co. will be depending on several unproven commodities, and several players making large developmental jumps from the past season. Not to mention the contributions from several talented, but young incoming freshman.
Can the Huskers realize their true potential under Miles this year? Sure, they can. But its also far from a slam dunk.
While Miles could be right, and the Huskers could be set up for a return to the postseason, there’s also a chance that ten wins could be hard to find this year. Would it surprise anyone to see Nebraska go 6-6 in the non-conference with losses to Kansas, Creighton, Clemson, Dayton, UCLA, and another slip on a bad night?
With double plays against Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Northwestern and Iowa in the Big Ten, could four wins be tough to come by in conference play? There won’t many gimmes in the league this year for Nebraska.
What happens if, say at the end of the season, Nebraska is sitting at nine or ten wins? What does the conversation become surrounding this program?
While both scenarios seem a little far-fetched, and Nebraska could very easily end up somewhere in the middle, the Huskers feel like they’re set up for a boom or bust campaign this year.
Tim Miles knows his team’s potential better than anyone, is a good coach and still the right fit in Lincoln. Will there be a different tune being sung next March?
With what is in front of the Huskers, it feels like this season could be very telling.