Archive for the ‘Predictions’ Category

Big 12 Media Picks Nebraska 1st

July 23, 2009

Nebraska received 17 of 32 first-place votes from the Big 12 media representatives. Article here.

It’s only July and I can already feel the hatred starting to build from the rest of the Big 12 North.

2009 Big 12 Football Media Preseason Poll

North Division
1. Nebraska (17) 172
2. Kansas (12) 164
3. Missouri (3) 124
4. Colorado 100
5. Kansas State 81
6. Iowa State 33
South Division
1. Texas (17) 174
1. Oklahoma (15) 174
3. Oklahoma State 130
4. Texas Tech 89
5. Baylor 75
6. Texas A&M 33

first-place votes in parentheses

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The 2010 Nebraska Cornhuskers: BCS Bound

May 1, 2009

It’s never too early to start thinking big. And in this case, I’m really early and I’m thinking really big. If you don’t think great things are headed to Lincoln in the 2010 season, then hear me out here. Bo Pelini will have his breakout season in only his third year as coach.
First, let’s look at what we will have coming back after the 2009 season.

Offense
Let’s start by telling you what I see in my crystal ball concerning Shawn Watson. Nebraska’s 12th ranked offense last season was done with a quarterback who didn’t possess arm strength or speed. The numbers are going to be improved for everyone over the next few seasons with a better QB for the system which will allow Watson to put his finishing touches on his spread? offense. Watson isn’t going anywhere to make a lateral coaching move as a coordinator (i.e. Alabama). Watson is sitting on a BCS head coaching opportunity that will come his way in a few years – just not yet. Therefore, I fully expect at least two more seasons with him at OC, but don’t hold your breath anytime after 2010. And trust me, I don’t want to think about the day we’ll have to go shopping for a new offensive coordinator quite yet.

At QB, Nebraska will have something it won’t have this season and that’s obviously experience. Whether Zac Lee emerges as the star people think he will does matter, but if he doesn’t, sitting right behind him will be Cody Green, Latravis Washington, or Kody Spano. Either way, we are clearly better off in 2010 than in 2009 at the most important position on the offense.

At RB, the Huskers should return both Roy Helu Jr. and Quentin Castille. I’m not really sure anyone could tell you exactly how Callahan plucked these two kids out of California and Texas, but regardless, they are both stars that will both play on Sunday. If Rex Burkhead doesn’t redshirt in 2009, he will be a utility special teams and offensive weapon that will be even better in 2010.

Nebraska will be loaded at the wide receiver position. If you think you can tell me a time when he had more talent at wide receiver, I’m all ears. Returning will be Niles Paul, Marcus Mendoza, Antonio Bell, Will Henry, Khiry Cooper, Brandon Kinnie, and Curenski Gilleylen. Loaded. In addition, Mike McNeill, Ben Cotton, Kyler Reed, Dreu Young, and Ryan Hill will all be back at the tight end position. Loaded there as well.

Since Jacob Hickman is the only senior offensive lineman that will see time this season, Marcel Jones, Mike Smith, Mike Caputo, Keith Williams, Ricky Henry, and D.J. Jones all will return in 2010. As I mentioned in my preview, Callahan’s lasting impression on the current program is a cupboard full of young, talented offensive lineman.

Defense

By no means will I try to downplay the loss of Ndamukong Suh, but look at what is waiting on the defensive line in 2010. Baker Steinkuhler, Pierre Allen, Josh Williams, Cameron Meredith, Jared Crick, and Terrence Moore will all see a good amount of playing time in 2009 and four of these could one day be all-conference.

Linebacker will be better for us in 2009 when compared to 2008, but by the 2010 season, these guys will be really good. And the best thing about Will Compton, Alonzo Whaley, Sean Fisher, Micah Kreikemeier, Eric Martin, Matthew May, Matt Holt, and Chris Williams: they’ll all be in Lincoln in 2011.

With Larry Asante and Ricky Thenarse both leaving after the 2009 season, PJ Smith, Courtney Osborne, Eric Hagg, and Dijon Washington will be the leading candidates to step in. I’m now convinced Hagg’s move to possibly strong safety this season is because of 2010. Asante and Thenarse are fine players, but I don’t see us dropping off much at all at safety without them. Anthony West, Prince Amukamara, Alfonzo Dennard, Dijon Gomes, Anthony Blue, Lance Thorell, Lazarri Middleton, and Andrew Green will all return at corner.

Don’t be shocked if punter/kicker Alex Henery is the first kicker taken in the 2011 NFL draft.

Schedule

Let’s break it down.
2010 Nebraska Football Schedule

Date Opponent Location Time (CT)
Sat, Sep 04 Western Kentucky Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Sep 11 Idaho Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Sep 18 Washington at Seattle, Wash. TBA
Sat, Sep 25 South Dakota State Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Oct 02 Kansas State * at Manhattan, Kan. TBA
Sat, Oct 16 Texas * Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Oct 23 Oklahoma State * at Stillwater, Okla. TBA
Sat, Oct 30 Missouri * Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Nov 06 Iowa State * at Ames, Iowa TBA
Sat, Nov 13 Kansas * Memorial Stadium TBA
Sat, Nov 20 Texas A&M * at College Station, Texas TBA
Fri, Nov 26 –
Sat, Nov 27
Colorado * Memorial Stadium TBA
* Conference Games

To win championships, talent does matter. However, you aren’t winning championships without a favorable schedule. Go ahead and ask the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs if they think they have a legitimate chance with their schedule this season.
The only non-conference game I am going to bother mentioning here is the Washington game. New head coach Steve Sarkisian will be in his second year and highly touted QB Jake Locker will be a senior when the Huskers travel there. The Huskies were 0-12 in 2008.
When Texas travels to Lincoln on October 16th, they to will be playing their 6th game. Texas plays the Red River Shootout on October 2nd and then have a bye week on the 9th. Nebraska is at Kansas State on October 2nd and also has a bye week on the 9th. Nebraska will be 5-0. More than likely, Garrett Gilbert will take over at QB by then for Colt McCoy at Texas. Gilbert will have already had a warm reception to Big 12 play from Bob Stoops and Oklahoma. Meeting up with Bo Pelini in Lincoln won’t be any easier.
The Huskers travel to Oklahoma State the following week on October 23rd, which will no doubt not be easy. However, QB Zac Robinson will have graduated and I’ll be extremely surprised if RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant are there in 2010. Hunter and Bryant both could be first round draft picks next year.
Missouri comes into town on October 30th. Blaine Gabbert, Derrick Washington, and Danario Alexander will be good in 2010. However, they won’t beat us in Lincoln this time around. Dave Steckel, huh? If Kansas couldn’t beat us in 2008 with Todd Reesing, they surely won’t beat us in 2010 without him. And finally, the last game on the schedule we will have to worry about will be @ Texas A&M. I’m not sure if Mike Sherman will still be coaching, but I’m pretty sure we will be a heavy favorite by then in that game. 12th man or not, we will be much better than Texas A&M.
I don’t see a game on the schedule we can’t win. Not one. And call me crazy, but I see no reason why we shouldn’t EXPECT a BCS berth. The Big 12 Championship game could even make or break a possible National Championship run. A rematch with Texas or possibly Oklahoma @ the Dallas Cowboys new stadium should be on the agenda that year. Nebraska is 2-0 in Big 12 Championship games in Texas.
It’s crazy to think about how everything has fallen into Bo Pelini’s lap in such a perfect way. Steve Pederson, Bill Callahan, and everyone else involved in the dark ages of Nebraska football from 2004-2007 have become a distant memory all of a sudden. In only three short years removed that era, Bo Pelini has a realistic chance to take Nebraska back to the top. I’m telling you, it’s time to get excited.
I can’t wait for the 2009 season. I really can’ t wait for the 2010 season.