This article has a Nebraska focus, but does rank all 42 non-conference games. A few (deserved) digs against the Cats and others. Surprisingly, a Northwestern game isn’t the worst of the bunch. (Thanks, Rutgers!)
I can’t imagine NU having an easier schedule going forward than this coming season Not only does NU have 3 winnable non conference games, but with USC and UCLA in the mix,the conference games will get even tougher
USC will be a big challenge similar to tOSU, UM, and PSU, but I think UCLA won’t be any harder than Io_a, Wisconsin, and MSU which we play straight up against.
Now our problem isn’t our opponents is consistency. If we have a QB and a defensive game plan we will do well otherwise we will resemble 80s era 'Cats.
I agree that QB and defense are key areas, but NU is not the only power 5 football school that is struggling to win in the NIL/Transfer Portal era. Success in women’s sports and men’s basketball are positives, though.
FWIW, Stanford seems to be figuring things out, a recent ESPN+ article tabbed their 2024 recruiting class as top-10 caliber.
My thinking is that with the 2 new entrants in the mix, we will have fewer games against the perennially weaker big 10 teams
As I’ve said before, until we see what happens after 2025, I don’t think we’ll really understand the Big Ten’s scheduling model.
My personal feeling is that if the ultimate goal is to make sure that every team has at least one home and one road game against every other team in a four year period, this is a 3-6-6 model sub silentio.
The real question is what teams will be able to succeed in a 16-team football conference. I think we can take Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Penn State as givens, UCLA, MSU, Iowa, and Wisconsin should be OK, Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Purdue and Maryland should have intermittent periods of success, and that leaves Northwestern, Indiana and Rutgers as the teams that need serious help finding a football identity.
The LJS article I posted a link to yesterday implied that Indiana’s coach is on the hot seat, I think Fitz is still a good 2 years away from the media labeling him that way, but no coach gets to rest on his laurels and past successes forever. But 2023 is probably the last ‘easy’ year in the Cats’ future.