Sunday, August 22, 2010

Huskers #8 in the Preseason AP Poll: Just Right, Too High, or "Ridiculous"

I have to say I'm not surprised that Nebraska starts the season ranked eighth in the AP writers poll. Not sure I agree with it, but it's in line with what others have been saying all preseason. I'm still keeping the Huskers at 12th on my preseason BlogPoll unless someone can talk me into moving them up or down.

Yesterday, on the CBS Preseason Football Preview special, Gary Danielsen gave his picks for the BCS title game, announcing it as "two Big Ten teams":  Ohio State vs. Nebraska. (Still not completely used to that idea yet...)  As you might expect, that got quite a response from AJ the HuskerH8er on Twitter:
you don't find these ridiculous expectations at least a tiny bit concerning?
Premature? Yes. Excessive?  Perhaps.  Ridiculous?  Not really... in fact, I'd argue that AJ's probably in a very small minority in the college football world on this one.  (Remember he's predicting 7-5 for Nebraska in 2010...)  Which brough about another response:
most 8th ranked teams have at leastsome sort of QB option to justify it. Maybe a pac10 xfer will come save u?
Last year, a team started the season ranked fifth in the country with a quarterback who had only thrown 20 passes in his career, with two touchdowns and one interception.  But hey, why let a little facts get in the way of a good Sam Keller reference. (Though truth be told, if I were a Missouri fan, I'd want to relieve 2007 over and over and over again as well...)

But speaking of quarterback play, Steve Sipple reported today that the buzz he's hearing suggests that Taylor Martinez is having a strong preseason practice and could very well be the starting quarterback for the Western Kentucky game. I think I still give the edge to Zac Lee early in the season, but I anticipate Martinez getting some playing time early and often, and making a strong bid to take over the starting job as the season evolves. Maybe it happens earlier than I expect.

In any event, people are putting too much emphasis on the quarterback question. As long as the offensive line continues to develop (and doesn't encounter any more season-ending injuries), I think the Husker offense will be fine in 2010. Not 1983 or 1995 dominant, but simply average. I think the Husker defense will be strong enough to put Nebraska in position to win every game in 2010...and that's going to be good enough to put them in position to make their case in December and January.

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