Nebraska will start at No. 18 in both of the major college football polls. The Associated Press Top 25, released Saturday morning, has the Huskers in the same spot as they landed in the Coaches Poll. The two polls are surprisingly, almost eerily close — 19 teams are ranked in the same spot in both polls.
Ohio State, likewise, is a distant No. 2 to No. 1 Alabama. Michigan is No. 17, Northwestern is No. 22 and Wisconsin is No. 23. The Big Ten finished with five teams in the poll, just one behind the SEC. Michigan State is No. 26 in the poll, behind Oregon State, which rounded out the Top 25.
Husker non-conference opponent UCLA checks in at No. 21.
Alabama received all but two of the first-place votes. The Buckeyes got one, as did No. 5 Georgia
The full rankings:
2. Ohio State
6. South Carolina
7. Texas A&M
11. Florida State
13. Oklahoma State
14. Notre Dame
19. Boise State
25. Oregon State
Others Receiving Votes: Michigan State 95; Baylor 92; Virginia Tech 86; Miami (Fla.) 85; Arizona State 53; Kansas State 43; Fresno State 36; Vanderbilt 19; Washington 17; Northern Illinois 16; Ole Miss 11; Utah State 8; Georgia Tech 6; North Carolina 3; Arizona 3; Cincinnati 3; Penn State 2; Brigham Young 1
A few quick poll thoughts:
>> Like the Coaches Poll, there aren’t a ton of arguments to make about this poll. It seems like the right top ten, based on last year’s results and this year’s reasonable projections. A&M is the wild card — and probably would have been rated higher if Johnny Manziel’s NCAA eligibility issues were sunnier or non-existent.
>> Michigan is a slight favorite over Nebraska. I actually have the Wolverines finishing in a tie for third in the Legends Division — they’re nowhere near my Top 25 — but I can see the argument made for Wolverines making a sudden leap under quarterback Devin Gardner. I think that’s an optimistic argument, but I can see someone having it.
>> I can’t see Northwestern being ranked ahead of Nebraska, and that didn’t happen. Why is Nebraska a lock to be ahead of Northwestern before the season? Simple:
1. Nebraska beat Northwestern last year in Evanston.
2. Northwestern didn’t play any of the teams Nebraska lost to; Nebraska beat both of the other teams that beat Northwestern. Under no circumstances should Northwestern’s bowl opponent (Mississippi State) be confused with Nebraska’s bowl opponent (Georgia).
3. Northwestern visits Nebraska this year.
4. Nebraska’s recruiting rankings — according to every service — have been higher for the last five years.
5. Northwestern adds Ohio State and Wisconsin to the schedule; Nebraska drops those teams and adds Purdue and Illinois.
>> Texas — yes, NU fans’ favorite team to dislike — is ranked too low. The Longhorns are a top ten team.
>> Florida is ranked too high. The Gators have a really hard schedule and no great clarity on offense. UF may lose five games in the regular season.