The Associated Press’ initial preseason poll is out and Nebraska now claims a No. 8 ranking coupled with their No. 9 ranking from the coaches. One writer, Joe Giglio of the Raleigh News and Observer, ranked the Cornhuskers as high as No. 3. Another, Tom Hart of Nebraska’s future home on the Big Ten Network, gave Nebraska their lowest ranking in his poll at No. 17.
What does all of this mean to the Cornhuskers?
One could easily make the argument that it shows that Nebraska is finally getting similar respect to their glory years. They are a top ten team in both polls and after last year’s punishing defensive performance, the Cornhuskers are once again becoming a household name.
If you’re firm in your idea that Nebraska’s offense is still going to be horrible and their defense a little less stout due to losses suffered to the NFL, you’re probably siding closer with Mr. Hart.
On the other hand, if you believe that offensive coordinator Shawn Watson and the Pelinis have an even better product overall, that No. 3 ranking may look about right.
Personally, I discussed this with friends of various teams and concluded that a ranking between sixth and ninth was appropriate for where I saw Nebraska’s talent level. I like to wipe the slate clean when it comes to “preseason” rankings and not take past bowl performance into account, unlike some voters.
Still, how I like to rank, or how any Tom, Dick or Harry likes to rank, is all meaningless in the eyes of the Nebraska Cornhuskers and one Bo Pelini.
Pelini never lets his team look at any team as a cupcake, which is hard to do when you’re facing a team that went 0-12 last season in your home opener. I wouldn’t be interested in being the first defender chuckling at Western Kentucky with a 7-0 lead. Even worse, I’d hate to be on the sideline if the Hilltoppers pull off a fantastic drive and score first!
If Pelini and his team can let the early rankings roll off of their backs along with high expectations for this year, so much the better for them. As a guy who likes to pass these numbers back and forth with fellow fans and analysts, I like where both the press and coaches have the Cornhuskers.
After all, I thought of it first, right?