Nebraska’s First Big Ten Schedule Brutal
Welcome to the Big Ten Nebraska. Say goodbye to soft schedules and patsies.
The Huskers have to get ready to play one, tough, brutal schedule starting in 2011.
Nebraska starts the season at home against Fresno State and Washington, before hitting the road at Wyoming.
NU will waste no time in getting an introduction into the Big Ten.
Nebraska starts conference play Oct. 1 at Wisconsin, returning home the following week to face Ohio State — which will likely be one of the most anticipated games in Husker history in Lincoln.
Nebraska then gets a bye on Oct. 15 before hitting the road at Minnesota on Oct. 22. NU then returns home for games against Michigan State and Northwestern.
The schedule remains brutal as Nebraska again hits the road on Nov. 12 at Penn State, then the following week at Michigan, before closing the regular season in Lincoln against Iowa.
You can’t argue with that last game for sure, as this has the potential to be a big rivalry game that will replace the traditional Nebraska/Colorado matchup.
“I think there’s a lot of competitive balance and they’ve preserved a lot of traditional rivalries,” Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said on the Big Ten Network Wednesday evening. “I think rivalries really occur naturally. I think this builds up over time. Usually it occurs when you play a lot of big games that are meaningful. Obviously one school that gets a lot of mention in Nebraska is Iowa.”
Nebraska will play Penn State every year as a cross-over game.
“We have a challenging schedule and we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Osborne said. “I thought whoa, what are we doing here? We certainly do have a lot of matchups with a lot of traditional schools.”
The Big Ten announced the conference’s new divisions Wednesday, putting Nebraska on the same side of the conference with Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. The other side includes Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Purdue.
Looks like a great competitive balance has been struck in splitting up the conference’s traditional powers into separate divisions.
The conference split is perfect, it keeps traditional rivalry games in place like Ohio State and Michigan, and geographically it makes sense.
There may be a move to a ninth conference game at some point, depending on how the schedule shakes out in 2011 and 2012.
In looking at the 2011 schedule for Nebraska, and it’s making the road to the national championship a bit rocky.
Having said that, the division sets up nicely for Nebraska in 2011. In the short term Nebraska will be a clear-cut favor to play in the first conference championship game in Indianapolis, although Iowa will be the one road block unless Michigan turns a corner in a hurry.
Simply put, this is why Nebraska made the jump to the Big Ten.
Put it down: attendance records will be set, legends will be made, and this first schedule clearly sets up what are likely to be huge rivalries down the road — Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Bring it on.