With two weeks left until the first game, it's time to start really thinking about this upcoming Husker football season. A couple of weeks ago, I looked at the Huskers by position, so now it's time to look at the schedule.
In my eye, the keys for the upcoming season are still Sam Keller and the defensive line. Injuries always can change the prospects for the season, and right now, the Huskers have a couple of issues. Marlon Lucky is recovering from a concussion and now projected all-conference offensive guard Matt Slauson has injured his shoulder. So, based on what we know today, here's my expectations for the season.
Nevada: 80% probability of a Husker win
Nevada's unique "pistol" offense will throw some new wrinkles at Nebraska. On the other hand, a quarterback getting his first collegiate start in Lincoln against the Blackshirts will be fortunate to escape Lincoln with just wrinkles.
Wake Forest: 55% probability of a Husker win
OK, raise your hand if you thought that Wake Forest was a year away from being ACC champions when they came to Lincoln in 2005. Liars! Was Wake a one-year fluke? This game is Wake Forest's chance to dispel their doubters.
USC: 20% probability of a Husker win
The preseason #1 team seems to be everybody's choice to win the BCS national title. USC's alumni association is so confident of victory that they are selling t-shirts ridiculing Bill Callahan's horrible game plan from last year. I don't think Callahan is going to make that same mistake this year in Lincoln, though that doesn't necessarily mean Sam Keller is going to throw the ball 60 times either.
Ball State: 98% probability of a Husker win
Yeah yeah yeah, we know they played Michigoon tough last year. Guess what: The Weasels were almost as overrated as Ohio State.
Iowa State: 90% probability of a Husker win
With the exception of 2005, NU-ISU games in Lincoln are big Husker victories. With some people predicting the Clones to finish in last place, there's no reason to expect otherwise.
Missouri: 51% probability of a Husker win
4 years ago, Nebraska turned the ball over three times inside their own ten yard line, and once time inside the twenty, gift wrapping a Tiger victory. 2 years ago, Kevin Cosgrove decided not to worry about Brad Smith. Good news for the Huskers: Brad Smith is in New York and Gary Pinkel is still in Columbia.
Oklahoma State: 55% probability of a Husker win
Nebraska collapsed down the stretch in Stillwater, getting outscored 41-7 after taking a 16-0 lead. Fortunately, this year the game is in Lincoln...
Texas A&M: 60% probability of a Husker win
If Colt McCoy hadn't been hurt last year, I doubt A&M beats Texas and I wonder if Dennis Franchione would still be head coach of the Aggies. Will Franchione's squad be after payback after letting Nebraska back into last year's game?
Texas: 30% probability of a Husker win
Nebraska woulda, coulda, shoulda won in Lincoln last year. This year, it's in Austin where Nebraska hasn't won. Of course, Nebraska hasn't beaten Texas in Lincoln either. Oh yes, and Texas is the favorite to win the Big XII as well.
Kansas: 55% probability of a Husker win
Kansas took the Huskers to overtime in Lincoln last year, and the Huskers might have been lucky to win. 2 years ago, the Huskers were blown out in Lawrence. If Nebraska's resurgence is true to form, this is a game they win.
Kansas State: 70% probability of a Husker win
Some Husker fans have been waiting for Josh Freeman's return to Lincoln for nearly two years. Ron Prince isn't winning a lot of friends outside the K-State program, but taking the Wildcats to a bowl last season was impressive.
Colorado: 60% probability of a Husker win
I have the Buffs finishing in last place in the North this season. That being said, nothing would make the Buffies season like defeating the Huskers.
So what does this translate to?
Most optimistic: 12-1, Big XII champions. Lose to USC or possibly Texas. Callahan earns coach of the year honors and a big contract extension.
Most pessimistic: 5-7. We learn why ASU revolted against Keller. By the end of the season, Patrick Witt or Zac Lee is starting at QB as NU builds for the future. Injuries to I-backs turn NU one-dimensional. Lack of depth on the defensive line strains the rest of the defense.
Most realistic: 10-3. Losses to USC and Texas, plus Big XII title game. Huskers play in Gator Bowl and end up ranked just shy of the top 10, continuing the progress from November 2005.