Big Ten gives Nebraska no breaks in 2011 schedule
The Big Ten’s welcome gift to Nebraska looks more like a booby
The football schedule for 2011-12, the Cornhuskers’ first two
seasons in the Big Ten, pits Nebraska against a lineup no sane
coach would envy.
The Cornhuskers open the 2011 conference schedule at Wisconsin.
They come home to play Ohio State, then it’s off to Minnesota and
home games against Michigan State and Northwestern.
Here comes the big finish: at Penn State, at Michigan and home
against new border rival Iowa.
Conspicuously absent: Indiana, Illinois and Purdue, aka three of
the four Big Ten teams that did not make a bowl last season.
”The schedule will be challenging but also interesting for our
players, coaches and fans,” athletic director Tom Osborne
Osborne pointed out that Nebraska is not a voting member of the
Big Ten until next July, so he was not able to vote on the
He said he was allowed to give input.
Osborne surely couldn’t have asked for this.
”The scheduling process was difficult because the Big Ten is
attempting to preserve a large number of rivalry games and have as
many of those games as possible fall at approximately the same
point in the season as they have in the past,” Osborne said.
Nebraska was placed in a division with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan
State, Minnesota and Northwestern.
The Huskers’ annual crossover game will be against Penn
How tough is the schedule?
Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, like Nebraska, are among
the six programs that have won 800-plus games all-time.
Seven of the eight teams on the conference schedule appeared in
a bowl game in the 2009 season. The only team that didn’t go to a
bowl was Michigan, the winningest program in college football
Three of the 2011-12 opponents – Ohio State, Iowa and Penn State
– were ranked in the final Associated Press top 10 last year, with
This year Ohio State is No. 2, Iowa No. 9, Wisconsin No. 12 and
Penn State No. 19 in the preseason.
”I know the Big Ten Conference has made a great effort to
create divisions that are competitive and fair, while protecting
rivalries, and I am confident they have done that,” Nebraska coach
Bo Pelini said. ”I know it is exciting for our fans to think
about, but that is a year away. Our focus is completely on the task
at hand, which is Western Kentucky on Saturday night.”
For the sake of the volatile Pelini’s blood pressure, it’s
definitely better that he think about Western Kentucky rather than
what awaits a year from now.