Category Archives: Big Ten Schedule
BY TODD NEELEY
I’m not totally buying into the hype.
Pundits have given Nebraska hardly a chance against Wisconsin in Madison Saturday, but in all the excited fog surrounding the game is a dose of reality.
There are plenty of reasons to believe the Huskers have a shot to beat Wisconsin.
Sorry to upset the Russell Wilson apple cart here, but tell me one time early in this 2011 season that the Badger quarterback has had so much as a hand in his face.
Yeah I didn’t think so.
Wilson will face a much more athletic, physical defense than he’s faced all season. Wisconsin has barely broken a sweat in going 4-0, but things will change with Nebraska coming to town.
The Badgers may not face a better, more physical, faster team this season unless they play in the national championship game.
The Blackshirts will need to come to play this week, but defending Wisconsin is not impossible.
Week in and week out the Nebraska defense was challenged by the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas A&M, Texas and Texas Tech.
Let’s face it, Nebraska hasn’t lived up to its standards in 2011 – they rank an embarrassing 52nd in the country in total defense. These are the kinds of numbers that once got Craig Bohl fired as defensive coordinator, and proof that Husker coaches are pounding on their
defenders in practice.
Bo Pelini has a history of making adjustments on defense, and usually has that unit peaking by midseason. The fact that Nebraska hasn’t played very well on that side of the ball yet means its best game is yet to come.
It would be a great week to put it all together.
Setting all the hype and history aside, Nebraska has a clear path to its first Big Ten win.
First, the Nebraska defensive line must get a push against a mammoth Wisconsin offensive line – one of the biggest at any level of football. This means Husker all-American Jared Crick has to somehow find a way to re-establish the line of scrimmage two to three yards in the Badger backfield, forcing Russell Wilson to run. The guy is a better passer than he is a runner.
If Nebraska can force Wisconsin into third and long, then the Huskers can bring the heat and get hits on Wilson.
Nebraska has to make the Wisconsin defense make decisions on the perimeter. The Badgers have to be made to choose between containing Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead – making the option the perfect play to run against what appears to be a good, but fairly slow defense.
Nebraska has a lot of speed at receiver and will need to take shots downfield and exploit holes in a Wisconsin zone defense.
NU has been outstanding on special teams with kicker/punter Brett Maher and kick returner Ameer Abdullah. Nebraska will need to win the field position battle to put pressure on the Wisconsin defense and these guys can make a huge difference.
The Huskers have to force at least two turnovers in this game. Simply put, Wisconsin hasn’t made mistakes and that will have to change. Conversely, Nebraska has to hold onto the ball – they laid the ball on the ground four times at Wyoming last week. What’s more, Nebraska has to not beat itself with dumb penalties.
If you watch Russell Wilson during his days at North Carolina State, he had plenty of games when he made knuckleheaded mistakes with the ball – proving defenses can get to him.
Finally, Nebraska can’t allow the Wisconsin offense to just pound away in the running game and control time of possession.
Though Husker fans are up in arms about Nebraska’s slow defensive start that may be the silver lining heading to Madison – this is a Nebraska team that hasn’t come close to reaching its potential on defense.
The Nebraska offense has improved significantly from game one – finally finding an identity that includes a power running game and a big-play quarterback. NU holds a speed advantage on both sides of the ball and Nebraska’s special teams have been special, Wisconsin’s not so much.
With all the talk about how NU is facing a balanced and disciplined team in a hostile environment, you’d swear Nebraska has yet to play in the kind of atmosphere it will see at Camp Randall Stadium.
Nebraska fans remember well playing at Virginia Tech, Texas A&M, Washington, Oklahoma, you name it. Kids come to Nebraska to play in the big games on a big stage with a lot on the line.
Wisconsin has been good, really good, but championships aren’t won by playing softies. So far the Badgers have been playing weekly scrimmages, but this week they face an opponent that will punch them in the mouth – win or lose.
Is Wisconsin ready for Nebraska?
Park Ridge, Ill. – The Big Ten announced today that conference football programs will move to a nine-game Big Ten schedule beginning with the 2017 season.
Three teams each from the Legends Division and Leaders Division will feature five conference home games during odd-numbered years, while the other three schools from each division will host five conference contests during even-numbered years. The 2017 schedule will include five conference home outings for Iowa, Michigan State and Nebraska from the Legends Division and Illinois, Indiana and Ohio State from the Leaders Division. The 2018 schedule will feature five Big Ten home games for Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern of the Legends Division and Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin of the Leaders Division.
The Big Ten will return to a full nine-game conference schedule for the first time since the 1983 and 1984 seasons. Eight of 10 conference schools played nine-game schedules during the 1981 and 1982 seasons, while two of 10 teams featured nine-game schedules from 1971-72 and 1977-80.
The 116th season of Big Ten football kicks off with prime time home games for the defending Big Ten co-Champions, with Wisconsin hosting UNLV on Thursday, Sept. 1, and Michigan State facing Youngstown State on Friday, Sept. 2. The conference’s remaining 10 teams open action on Saturday, Sept. 3, including Nebraska’s first official game as a member of the Big Ten. Conference play will begin on Saturday, Oct. 1, and will feature divisional play for the first time. The champions of each division will meet on Saturday, Dec. 3, in the inaugural Big Ten Football Championship Game to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and televised by FOX Sports. The winner of the title game will earn the Big Ten Championship and a chance to play in either the Rose Bowl Game or Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game.
The Big Ten Conference has announced its football schedules for the 2013 and 2014 seasons, giving Nebraska fans a road map of conference schedules for the next four seasons. The Big Ten announced its 2011 and 2012 conference schedules last fall.
In 2013 and 2014, Nebraska will continue to play the other five Legends Divisions schools each season—Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern, along with its permanent cross-division foe, Penn State. However, in 2013 and 2014, Illinois and Purdue rotate onto Nebraska’s schedule in place of Ohio State and Wisconsin, who Nebraska faces in 2011 and 2012. Nebraska also will not face Indiana in the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
Nebraska open’s 2013 Big Ten play with its first-ever conference meeting against Illinois on Oct. 5 in Lincoln, followed by a trip to Purdue on Oct. 12. Following an off-week, Nebraska resumes its schedule with its six permanent opponents, capped by a visit from Iowa on Thanksgiving weekend.
In 2014, the Huskers open Big Ten play at Northwestern, and will make their first Big Ten road trip to Illinois on Oct. 18. Purdue visits Memorial Stadium for the first time on Nov. 22, and the Huskers will close the year at Iowa.
The Big Ten Championship Games are set for Dec. 7, 2013 and Dec. 6, 2014. The sites for those games are yet to be determined.
In addition to the Big Ten schedules announced on Wednesday, Nebraska has three non-conference games scheduled for 2013 taking on Wyoming (Aug. 31) and UCLA (Sept. 14) in Lincoln, along with a trip to Southern Miss on Sept. 7. In 2014, Nebraska has scheduled non-conference games at Fresno State on Sept. 13 and at home against Miami on Sept. 20. The Huskers have one non-conference game to fill in 2013 and two for the 2014 schedule.
Nebraska will officially become a member of the Big Ten Conference on July 1, 2011. The Huskers will play their first conference game as a member of the Big Ten at Wisconsin on Oct. 1, with their Big Ten home opener set for Oct. 8 against Ohio State. The first Big Ten Championship Game will be played on Dec. 3, 2011 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
2013 Nebraska Football Schedule
One non-conference game TBD
Aug. 31 Wyoming
Sept. 7 at Southern Miss
Sept. 14 UCLA
Oct. 5 Illinois
Oct. 12 at Purdue
Oct. 19 BYE
Oct. 26 at Minnesota
Nov. 2 Northwestern
Nov. 9 at Michigan
Nov. 16 Michigan State
Nov. 23 at Penn State
Nov. 30 Iowa
2014 Nebraska Football Schedule
Two non-conference games TBD
Sept. 13 at Fresno State
Sept. 20 Miami
Oct. 4 at Northwestern
Oct. 11 Penn State
Oct. 18 at Illinois
Oct. 25 BYE
Nov. 1 Minnesota
Nov. 8 Michigan
Nov. 15 at Michigan State
Nov. 22 Purdue
Nov. 29 at Iowa