LINCOLN — Nebraska barely missed being one of the coaches’ Top 25 preseason teams.
But the poll identifies every team that received a vote, and the Huskers got plenty. They’re No. 26 in the preseason rankings, released Thursday.
Seven Big Ten teams — including three from the West Division — made the Top 25, more than any other league. However, the highest-ranked team, No. 5 Ohio State, is just outside the top four, which would make the College Football Playoff.
Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma — the four teams from the 2018 playoff — are predicted to finish Nos. 1 through 4.
The Huskers, meanwhile, finished nine points behind Northwestern for the No. 25 spot. Nebraska’s 4-8 record last season was not a hurdle for the coaches as the Huskers starting quarterback Adrian Martinez and many of their top players on defense.
Michigan was No. 7, followed by No. 14 Penn State, No. 17 Wisconsin, No. 19 Iowa, No. 20 Michigan State and No. 25 Northwestern. Minnesota received a single vote for the poll.
Coach Scott Frost’s former program, Central Florida, came in at No. 17, tied with Wisconsin.
Frost has a vote in the coaches poll, but he said Thursday he didn’t put the Huskers in his Top 25.
“I hope that we are at the end of the year,” Frost said.
The coach listed reasons he thinks NU is trending up. There’s a “winning” feel and deep buy-in “to a degree that I haven’t seen very often” after the strong finish to last season.
Frost said the team can glean some confidence from the national prognostications. But the Huskers otherwise will shut out the noise and go to work, beginning with Friday’s first practice.
“Coming back to Nebraska, I expect to coach here for a long time with a lot of expectations,” Frost said. “We had to get it to that point first. We’re just kind of nearing that mile marker right now of having expectations. We haven’t done anything yet, so I kind of feel like some of the expectations are a little premature. But I’m also happy for our guys that they’ve done what it takes to get them to that point.”