Big 12: Eddie Hinton

Tim's mailbag predicts how good Huskers, Aggies will be

August, 18, 2008
8/18/08
5:43
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

From Bellevue: Does 6-6 or a lofty 7-5 sound realistic for the re-tooled Cornhuskers?

Tim Griffin: Yes it does and maybe a step better, like 8-4 if Bo Pelini grabs some beginner's luck along the way and stays away from some defensive injuries that might cripple his program.

Pelini's arrival has been like a shot of adrenalin through the Nebraska program. I think it only continues once the season begins. I also expect Nebraska to absolutely mash the ball lot more than most people would think. I was talking to one of the most-respected Nebraska reporters over the weekend. He told me it wouldn't surprise him if the Cornhuskers ranked among the top 10 nationally in rushing. With backs like Lucky, Castille, Helu and Mendoza, it's a possibility.

To go 8-4, the Cornhuskers absolutely have to win their first three nonconference games. I'm thinking they could be ripe for an upset in one of those games and Pelini has to guard against that. But I really like their home schedule from there with games against Virginia Tech, Missouri, Kansas and Colorado. They will likely be underdogs for the first three. It wouldn't surprise me if they can claim at least one of those games and maybe two.

And if the Cornhuskers can finish strongly, they should finish at least 7-5 and maybe better. And a late winning streak might catapult them into a good bowl. Watch what the Gator Bowl does in terms of taking Notre Dame. If the Irish end up in Jacksonville for New Year's Day, don't be shocked to find the Cornhuskers finish up somewhere in Texas -- like San Antonio or El Paso -- for their bowl trip this season.

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