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Athlon Sports asks who has better shot at Top 25 finish; Michigan or Nebraska?

I love this time of year. The seasons are transitioning from spring to summer, and that means we continue to get closer and closer to the start of the college football season. It also means I am starting to get reacquainted with some college football friends in the media and blogosphere. Last week I appeared on my friend Allen Kenney’s Blatant Homerism podcast to discuss Penn State. It got my podcast juices flowing and I’m ready to get back to podcasting soon enough, so hang on subscribers! I also heard from my friends over at Athlon Sports recently with an invite to partake in a quick Big Ten roundtable.

Our subject this week focused on Michigan and Nebraska. These two once shared national championship honors before the BCS was ushered in to solve the controversy of split national titles, but now we are left wondering if either will manage to finish the season in the top 25. New coaches bring new reasons to be optimistic on different scales. I think one job is a bit more of a renovation project than the other, and the schedule is also more favorable for one over the other in my eyes.

Here’s what I had to say on this subject;

Michigan fans have every right to be excited about the future of the program with Jim Harbaugh taking control of the Wolverines, but expectations should be slightly scaled back in 2015. A schedule that opens on the road against Utah and includes BYU in non-conference play and later sees a late-season road game at Penn State followed by big, bad Ohio State the following week is not easy, and I did not even mention Michigan State visiting Ann Arbor. The Spartans have owned Michigan in the in-state rivalry lately, and they still seem to have the more well-rounded team heading into the new season.

Nebraska must play the Spartans as well, but Nebraska skips Ohio State this year. New head coach Mike Riley also has challenging non-conference match-ups against BYU and at Miami to deal with, but the schedule seems to be more favorable to the Huskers. Nebraska also has a solidified quarterback situation and a returning cast of receivers to keep the offense going while the defense brings back eight starters. Nebraska can afford a slow start more than Harbaugh and the Wolverines can this year.

Over the course of the summer I will dig a little deeper into the Big Ten as I start to preview the conference and other conferences heading into the 2015 season. For now, I hope you will check out the full roundtable discussion on Athlon Sports. Leave a comment over there on which team you think has a better shot at a top 25 finish in 2015, and let me know why you agree with me.

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About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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