In the midst of both college football and basketball offseasons, a couple of questions have surfaced in Husker Nation. Is Nebraska now a basketball state? Better yet, is the Nebraska basketball team really more championship-ready than the football team?
For as many who may be rolling their eyes at these questions, there are plenty who find them valid. After a big season for Nebraska basketball, it's not hard to see why.
Head coach Tim Miles led his team to a 19-13 overall record and 11-7 in the Big Ten. The team was ultimately invited to the NCAA men's basketball tournament for the first time since 1998.
As for the football team, head coach Bo Pelini finished with a 9-4 overall record and 5-3 in the Big Ten. While the team failed to make it to the Big Ten Championship Game, they did secure a 24-19 Gator Bowl win over Georgia.
But it's not how each team's season ended that has people talking. Instead, it's Bovada's recently released odds for both collegiate football and basketball national championships.
That's right. Bovada lists Nebraska basketball is listed at 66/1 (h/t Odds Shark) to win the 2015 national championship, while Nebraska football is listed at 75/1. These odds rank Nebraska 26th in college basketball, while the school ranks 27th in college football as of this point in time.
So does that really mean Miles and his team are more championship-ready than Pelini and his?
To start, the comparison can be very misleading. Comparing football to basketball is like comparing apples to oranges. Actually, it's more like comparing apples to bowling balls. There isn't a great way to put one sport's odds against another.
However, after a very successful season as Nebraska basketball's head coach, Miles has fans talking.
To put it in perspective, the collegiate basketball tournament is very different from the new collegiate football playoff. Nebraska basketball faces a 68-team playoff, where they would be required to win five games to win it all. And while the odds aren't necessarily in a lower-seed's favor, anything can happen.
For example, UConn was a No. 7 seed before earning its way to the national title game (becoming the first seventh-seeded team to do so) and taking home the coveted title. For Nebraska basketball, it's very possible Miles' coaching could be instrumental in helping his team get a higher seed next year and make a run at it.
As for Nebraska football, Pelini and his team could make the four-team playoff if they win the Big Ten Championship and manage to only have one loss.
That's where fans start to wonder. Through six seasons as head coach, Pelini hasn't been able to break the habit of losing four games per season. Fans are cautiously optimistic that the 2014 season will be different, though. Even the Big Ten Network's Gerry DiNardo thinks so.
As for Miles, he made a big jump between his first and second seasons coaching at Nebraska. That jump is what has led many to believe he's capable of taking his team even further much quicker than Pelini.
Honestly, it's all about perception. The odds of winning a national championship are difficult to compare from one sport to another. That doesn't mean fans can't have a little fun thinking about it, though.
Is Nebraska basketball really more championship-ready than Nebraska football? Time will tell.
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