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A Hard Row to Hoe

treeplanter

Recruit
5 Year Member
Given the rebellious 'thorn in the side' identity that the Huskers have recently acquired for themselves in Chicago, it's no surprise that the B1G has saddled Nebraska with the two best teams from the East Division as crossover opponents for the upcoming 2020 season

I, for one, say bring on the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions!
Wouldn't want it any other way!

Of course, it's nothing new for the B1G to schedule against Nebraska while favoring certain other programs...
This is something that has been going on since day one

To wit:
We joined the conference in 2011 and, in becoming the 12th member, the conference was split into separate divisions for the very 1st time - the extremely cringe worthy and regrettably named Legends and Leaders Divisions were created

We found ourselves in the Legends Division alongside fellow heavyweight programs Michigan and Michigan St

The heavyweight programs assigned to the Leaders Division included Ohio St, Penn St, and Wisconsin

Between 2011 and 2013
Nebraska played Ohio St, Penn St, and Wisconsin 7 times in the regular season
Michigan played these teams just 4 times
Michigan St played these teams just 4 times

Not coincidentally, Michigan St managed to represent the Legends Division in 2 of the first 3 B1G Conference championship games - including the 2013 season when they managed to dodge all 3 of the heavies from the Leaders Division!

The B1G expanded, in 2014, to 14 teams with the addition of Rutgers and Maryland
This necessitated the restructuring of the divisions
The conference went, this time, with a straight east / west split

We, obviously, are in the West Division alongside the program that has thus far been the class of the division; Wisconsin

The preponderance of heavyweight programs, however, are situated in the East Division - Ohio St, Penn St, Michigan, Michigan St

Since 2014, we have played Ohio St, Penn St, Michigan, and Michigan St a total of 11 times
Wisconsin has faced these same opponents 10 times in the regular season

Certainly, an overall comparable number of times, however, upon closer examination of these games, there is no question that Nebraska has been tasked with the greater challenge!

Including the upcoming 2020 season
Nebraska will have played Ohio St, the 3rd winningest program since 2014, a total of 5 times
Wisconsin will have met Ohio St just 2 times

Including the upcoming 2020 season
Nebraska will have played Penn St, the 12th winningest program since 2014, a total of 2 times
Wisconsin will have played Penn St just 1 time

Granted, Wisconsin, including the upcoming season, will have played Michigan 5 times vs our 1 game with the Wolverines since 2014, but Michigan {tied for 17th best nationally} has not been winning at as high a rate as have Ohio St and Penn St!

As for Michigan St, {a program now trending down} we will have played them 3 times since 2014 {twice when they were ranked Top 10} whereas Wisconsin has played them just 2 times {and only once as a Top 10 opponent}

Whisky, to date, has represented the West Division in 4 of 6 B1G Conference championship games - including 2014 when they dodged all 4 of the heavies from the East Division and in 2017 when they played just 1 of the 4...

Just for craps and giggles, I decided to also take a look at Iowa
Nebraska and Iowa have been division mates from day one

Nebraska has played a total of 18 games against the heavyweight programs of the opposite division - which includes, at various times, Ohio St, Penn St, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan St

Iowa has played these same opponents as cross divisional regular season games just 14 times and sneaked into the 2015 B1G Conference championship game having not faced any of the East Division heavies
 
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HuskerWeatherman

Feral Cat
20 Year Member
At Ohio State and Penn State in Lincoln were both on our original schedule and the first revision. We lost out on Rutgers from the original. Oh well-- total snooze fest.

The Big Ten has gifted the players and fans with teams to get excited about playing. Spotlight games. We are blessed. Whining is for losers.
 

Elwood von Kiowa

Grad Assistant
5 Year Member
Both of the above viewpoints (posts 1 & 2) are valid. Actually, @treeplanter is just stating hard facts.

I've always been one to say "bring on the best." Of course, it's a lot easier to say that when you're coming off 60-3, than when you're coming off 3 straight losing seasons and trying to rebuild. As many have said, we could have a much better team this year, but our record may not show it.

Having said all that, I think this team is as prepared as it's been in at least 10 years. And much more unified. Through adversity we build strength.

Having said all that... I don't have a problem with NU playing a tougher schedule year in and year out than, say, Purdue or Illinois. Better for us in every way to play the big boys. But the B1G needs to reevaluate how they pick division champions. In-division records should be the first criteria. If they're going to look at overall conference W-L, they need to consider strength of schedule as well. Wisconsin has a much easier path to the CCG this year, even if we beat them.
 
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HuskerWeatherman

Feral Cat
20 Year Member
Tree is correct in that we have been "gifted" with some of the tougher schedules. And he (I am assuming Tree is a he -- lol) is consistently one of our better posters on laying out his thoughts and analysis. It only sucks because we suck; however. I do understand it would be nice to have an easier slate of games to build confidence. But as a fan, I get much more excited about playing Penn State than Rutgers. And I'm certain the players feel the same.
 
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BigRedOhio

Junior Varsity
10 Year Member
just wait till 2024
at Northwesternn
at Michigan
Osu
bye week
at Penn St
At some point, Ohio State has to have a down year. Not suggesting that is coming any time soon, but one would think the law of averages would bring a course correction at some point.
 

treeplanter

Recruit
5 Year Member
Tree is correct in that we have been "gifted" with some of the tougher schedules. And he (I am assuming Tree is a he -- lol) is consistently one of our better posters on laying out his thoughts and analysis. It only sucks because we suck; however. I do understand it would be nice to have an easier slate of games to build confidence. But as a fan, I get much more excited about playing Penn State than Rutgers. And I'm certain the players feel the same.
Thanks for the kind words and, yeah, I am a "he"

I'm with you 100% - it's all about the biggest games against the best possible competition!

One of the things I was most looking forward to, coming into the B1G, was the annual games that we were guaranteed against Michigan and Michigan St as division mates and the protected crossover game with Penn St

Then the conference had to go and mess it all up by adding Rutgers and Maryland...

Not only did the overall football profile of the B1G take a hit, but we lost the aforementioned games off our yearly slate

I don't mind trading Michigan St for Wisconsin, in fact, I'd prefer to play the Badgers over the Spartans, but losing annual games with Michigan for the likes of Illinois and Penn St for Purdue was a real slap in the face!
 

BigRedOhio

Junior Varsity
10 Year Member
Hard to say. I'm certain no team has been as consistently good for as long as Ohio State has been (with exception to the one season of Luke Fickell).
They have definitely been on a roll for nearly 30 years after the Earl Bruce era. Even John Cooper's teams were talented and won a lot of games (just couldn't win bowl games or beat Michigan). Nothing last forever, but they spare no expense and live in a good location for recruiting.
 

Lurker44

Red Shirt
Tree is correct in that we have been "gifted" with some of the tougher schedules. And he (I am assuming Tree is a he -- lol) is consistently one of our better posters on laying out his thoughts and analysis. It only sucks because we suck; however. I do understand it would be nice to have an easier slate of games to build confidence. But as a fan, I get much more excited about playing Penn State than Rutgers. And I'm certain the players feel the same.
I agree that it only sucks because of our recent lack of success. I don’t think anyone is saying they want an easy schedule, just more on par with the rest of the conference. The frustration is with the conference not that we play these teams. I for one am excited for these matchups and like all the pieces coming together for this years team. I also like that we play OSU first, we were going to play them anyway so might as well play them first. All this probably provides good motivation and excitement for the players.

Frost will have these guys ready and focused for OSU as good as possible. If we don’t win I don’t think we get blown out or they cover the 24.5 or whatever.
 
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