Nebraska Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
There were a lot of high-profile coaching hires in the last year. For my money, though, none is easier to root for than the return of Scott Frost to Nebraska. Don't get me wrong - he very likely won't be the most successful coach hired heading into this season. There is too much working against him at Nebraska. But when a star player turns into a star coach and then returns to his alma mater where he won a national title, that is a good story that is easy to get behind - especially when that alma mater hasn't exactly been in the limelight lately.
Frost may not get Nebraska back to the glory years under Tom Osborne - in fact, he almost certainly won't - but he is going to get all that he can out of this team, and he is going to be very fun to watch. I like Mike Riley, and I didn't hate that they hired him in Lincoln, but this is such a better fit for the program, and hope is higher than it has been in decades at Nebraska - and rightly so.
2017 in a Nutshell
It was exactly what it was - a season that is sure to get even a respected coach fired. It was ugly. A massive turnover in players and some changes in coaching heading into the season started things off on the wrong foot. But the team didn't win a game that was a challenge for them, and they often failed to put up a fight. Their four wins came against Arkansas State and Rutgers and at Illinois and Purdue. All four of those programs could fold tomorrow and no one would notice. Purdue is the only one moving in a positive direction at this point, and they still have a whole lot of work to do. And everything else was a loss. Blowout losses to three ranked teams - Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State. A hard-fought loss at Oregon followed by an unfortunate home loss to Northern Illinois. An overtime home loss to Northwestern and two bad blowouts late in the season to Minnesota and Iowa. It was one of those seasons that couldn't have ended soon enough.
Key Additions and Departures
Frost is the obvious highlight here. He took over a UCF team that had gone 0-12, went 6-7 in his first year, and went 13-0 in year two, prompting his school to claim an unofficial national title after not being invited to the FBS Playoff. It was one of the more remarkable coaching turnarounds in history, and it's not like he walked into a blueblood program loaded with talent. Frost can coach, and he brought the key pieces of his staff with him.
Frost had a big impact in recruiting when he arrived, too. He was hired early enough to have an impact, and he signed a higher caliber of players than Nebraska has been used to. It will take a while, but he will have talent to work with.
The team had just one player drafted this year - QB Tanner Lee went in the sixth round. They saw a few more players than normal transfer in and out, but that is not rare when there is a coaching change.
Biggest Area of Concern
The quarterbacks are raw. Lee is in the NFL - or at least he was drafted - and Patrick O'Brien transferred out. That leaves true freshman Adrian Martinez - a Frost recruit - along with redshirt freshman Tristan Gebbia, and raw sophomore Andrew Bunch, as his options. He seems reasonably comfortable in what he has because he didn't chase a transfer, but he will need someone to step up and figure out the game in a hurry or it could be a long year. Of course, even if the QB situation works out great, there are other issues we could have chosen here - the lack of talent, the brutal schedule, the incredibly tough conference, and so on.
Nebraska Schedule Analysis
There are some very tough games on the schedule. They play at Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State. They aren't winning any of those. And a road game at Northwestern and a home game against Michigan State are only a little easier. But if Frost can get his players on the same page early then there are some ins to be had. They open with three at home against Akron, Colorado and Troy, and all of those are manageable. Purdue, Minnesota, and Illinois at home are all games they can contend in as well. And they close out at Iowa against a Hawkeyes team that should again be solid but not great. There is a path to bowl eligibility.
2018-19 Nebraska Betting Odds and Trends
The Huskers are at +25000 to win the national title, so oddsmakers are not optimistic about this team in the short term. They are the ninth choice to win the Big Ten at +3300.
2018-19 Nebraska Predictions and College Football Picks
Frost will get more out of this team than a lot of coaches would, and he'll pull off a magic trick or three over his years in Lincoln. But it is going to be tough for now. I like his chances of making a bowl, but he won't accomplish much more than that.
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