LINCOLN, Neb. – On Tuesday, the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll will be thrown to the side in favor of the College Football Playoff rankings.
No longer will Nebraska’s status for the national title be put in the media’s or coaches’ hands: instead, a committee will decide. The initial College Football Playoff rankings will be released at 7 p.m. Tuesday (ESPN).
Nebraska (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) is No. 9 in the AP Top 25 and No. 10 in the Coaches Poll after having beaten Indiana (4-4), Northwestern (4-4) and Wyoming (6-2), which beat No. 13 Boise State last Saturday.
But will the committee buy into the Huskers?
History says not really.
Nebraska started out at No. 15 in the 2014 College Football Playoff ranking and was also 7-1. That season, Nebraska had wins over Miami, Northwestern and Rutgers and a loss at No. 10 Michigan State.
In 2016, Nebraska’s resume is comparable.
Northwestern and Indiana are primarily good wins because they both gave Ohio State a scare, and Wyoming just recently became a good win now that Craig Bohl has his Cowboys have upset a Top 25 team.
Nebraska still lacks a signature win, which the committee likes. In 2015, Florida, Stanford and Utah were all 7-1 and ranked Nos. 10, 11 and 12 because the committee saw 7-1 teams that had not proved themselves with a signature win.
Iowa (8-0) started out at No. 9 in the poll last year with wins over No. 19 Wisconsin and No. 20 Northwestern. Nebraska had been on the fast track to emulate Iowa’s success last year before losing to Wisconsin on Saturday.
So Nebraska will most likely be somewhere between Nos. 10-13 in the College Football Playoff rankings. It wouldn’t be shocking if Auburn (6-2) jumps Nebraska because its two losses are to No. 3 Clemson and No. 7 Texas A&M, plus the Tigers have wins over Arkansas and Ole Miss.
Florida could jump ahead of Nebraska, too. The Gators don’t have a big win yet, but they have won much more convincingly than the Huskers.
Regardless, Nebraska has a chance to dramatically jump in the rankings if it defeats No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus this weekend.