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Ranking the Teams on the Schedule

One Hit Wonder

Recruit
2 Year Member
On January 8th I posted my “way too early” schedule ranking in which I ranked the strength of each opponent on Nebraska’s schedule. Now that everyone has gone through spring ball and the transfer market has mostly played out, I am changing my rankings. This was my schedule rank on January 8th.

1) Ohio St
2) AT Minnesota
3) Iowa
4) Wisconsin
5) Northwestern
6) AT Purdue
7) N. Illinois
8) AT Maryland
9) Indiana
10) AT Colorado
11) AT Illinois
12 S. Alabama

Here are my updated rankings with some qualifying notes:

1​
Ohio St
Game 5​
After watching the Buckeye’s spring game, I’m not convinced Justin Fields is a great QB… yet. A lot of his throws were wild but the guy is fast and his legs will present problems for Nebraska’s D. There are other holes to fill on the offense but their D is stacked with a lot of talented depth. If Nebraska is 4-0 coming into this game, the hype will be off the charts.
2​
AT Minnesota
Game 7​
This game will be much tougher than most people realize. Return 17 of 22 starters. They figured out their defensive issues so the only possible problem could be a QB controversy. This will be Nebraska’s 7th straight game without a bye. It wouldn’t surprise me if Minnesota was undefeated coming into this game.
3​
Iowa
Game 12​
A short week after playing Maryland on the road. Iowa is a psychological hurdle for this team. Although Iowa lost 7 guys from the defense, they should still be a tough unit. They return all of their skill players minus the TEs. Ferentz knows how to game-plan for Nebraska and if he opens up his offense and they get loose, Nate Stanley (QB) can cause problems.
4​
Wisconsin
Game 10​
Wisconsin will be playing Iowa while Nebraska gets a bye before this game. Badgers need to replace 4 OL and a QB but that should be figured out by the time they roll into Lincoln. They return a LOT of depth on defense. Like Iowa, this is another psychological hurdle for Nebraska.
5​
Northwestern
Game 6​
Northwestern lost a lot of players on both sides of the ball but return a solid core of guys at the skill positions. The biggest shoes to fill will be QB Hunter Johnson (5-star Clemson transfer). Fitzgerald’s teams are always scrappy.
6​
AT Purdue
Game 9​
Purdue will need to rely heavily on their D as 10 starters and a lot of depth return. The O lost a lot and the health of QB (Sindelar) will be a huge, so finding 4 replacements at OL will be important.
7​
AT Maryland
Game 11​
By the time this game rolls around, we will know plenty about Maryland. They lose a ton of guys on both sides of the ball but they have some fairly talented and athletic players on the roster. The new head coach (Locksley) and OC (Montgomery) are former Saban/Alabama offensive coordinators and will bring a similar style of Alabama offense. This could be a trap game for Nebraska if they're not focused.
8​
Indiana
Game 8​
Nebraska has a bye-week before this game which is why it is ranked at #8. But the game worries me a little bit. Indiana returns a lot of depth on both sides of the ball.
9​
AT Colorado
Game 2​
The new head coach (Tucker) will have his work cut out for him. Colorado loses a lot of depth on D and the new DC (Summers) is a peculiar choice. The new OC (J. Johnson) employs a run-heavy scheme and employs a lot of Pistol which will be interesting since he has no RBs with experience on the roster.
10​
N. Illinois
Game 3​
Another team that returns a lot of depth on both sides of the ball. I was really high on N. Illinois but then I watched UAB dominate them in the bowl game and I started to smile. Nebraska’s O "should" rip this team to shreds.
11​
AT Illinois
Game 4​
Illinois has a lot of holes on offense – most notably – QB. The D returns a lot of depth but this team is missing something between its ears.
12​
S. Alabama
Game 1​
USA is a bad team and THEN lost at least 10 guys to transfer. Lots of holes on D as only 5 starters return. Some good skill players dot the offense but there is uncertainty at QB. I expect Cephus Johnson to be named the starter. A tall and athletic kid will be a good early test for Nebraska's D. This is an excellent opening game to build some confidence and get a lot of PT for the roster.
 

Huskerthom

All Legend
5 Year Member
I just do not get the woody some folks are getting over Minny. They finished strong. Like we did. However that does not mean much. The difference. We got steadily better which is to me a better sign than a sudden turn around. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
 

Hu5k3r

Red Shirt
2 Year Member
On January 8th I posted my “way too early” schedule ranking in which I ranked the strength of each opponent on Nebraska’s schedule. Now that everyone has gone through spring ball and the transfer market has mostly played out, I am changing my rankings. This was my schedule rank on January 8th.

1) Ohio St
2) AT Minnesota
3) Iowa
4) Wisconsin
5) Northwestern
6) AT Purdue
7) N. Illinois
8) AT Maryland
9) Indiana
10) AT Colorado
11) AT Illinois
12 S. Alabama

Here are my updated rankings with some qualifying notes:

1​
Ohio St
Game 5​
After watching the Buckeye’s spring game, I’m not convinced Justin Fields is a great QB… yet. A lot of his throws were wild but the guy is fast and his legs will present problems for Nebraska’s D. There are other holes to fill on the offense but their D is stacked with a lot of talented depth. If Nebraska is 4-0 coming into this game, the hype will be off the charts.
2​
AT Minnesota
Game 7​
This game will be much tougher than most people realize. Return 17 of 22 starters. They figured out their defensive issues so the only possible problem could be a QB controversy. This will be Nebraska’s 7th straight game without a bye. It wouldn’t surprise me if Minnesota was undefeated coming into this game.
3​
Iowa
Game 12​
A short week after playing Maryland on the road. Iowa is a psychological hurdle for this team. Although Iowa lost 7 guys from the defense, they should still be a tough unit. They return all of their skill players minus the TEs. Ferentz knows how to game-plan for Nebraska and if he opens up his offense and they get loose, Nate Stanley (QB) can cause problems.
4​
Wisconsin
Game 10​
Wisconsin will be playing Iowa while Nebraska gets a bye before this game. Badgers need to replace 4 OL and a QB but that should be figured out by the time they roll into Lincoln. They return a LOT of depth on defense. Like Iowa, this is another psychological hurdle for Nebraska.
5​
Northwestern
Game 6​
Northwestern lost a lot of players on both sides of the ball but return a solid core of guys at the skill positions. The biggest shoes to fill will be QB Hunter Johnson (5-star Clemson transfer). Fitzgerald’s teams are always scrappy.
6​
AT Purdue
Game 9​
Purdue will need to rely heavily on their D as 10 starters and a lot of depth return. The O lost a lot and the health of QB (Sindelar) will be a huge, so finding 4 replacements at OL will be important.
7​
AT Maryland
Game 11​
By the time this game rolls around, we will know plenty about Maryland. They lose a ton of guys on both sides of the ball but they have some fairly talented and athletic players on the roster. The new head coach (Locksley) and OC (Montgomery) are former Saban/Alabama offensive coordinators and will bring a similar style of Alabama offense. This could be a trap game for Nebraska if they're not focused.
8​
Indiana
Game 8​
Nebraska has a bye-week before this game which is why it is ranked at #8. But the game worries me a little bit. Indiana returns a lot of depth on both sides of the ball.
9​
AT Colorado
Game 2​
The new head coach (Tucker) will have his work cut out for him. Colorado loses a lot of depth on D and the new DC (Summers) is a peculiar choice. The new OC (J. Johnson) employs a run-heavy scheme and employs a lot of Pistol which will be interesting since he has no RBs with experience on the roster.
10​
N. Illinois
Game 3​
Another team that returns a lot of depth on both sides of the ball. I was really high on N. Illinois but then I watched UAB dominate them in the bowl game and I started to smile. Nebraska’s O "should" rip this team to shreds.
11​
AT Illinois
Game 4​
Illinois has a lot of holes on offense – most notably – QB. The D returns a lot of depth but this team is missing something between its ears.
12​
S. Alabama
Game 1​
USA is a bad team and THEN lost at least 10 guys to transfer. Lots of holes on D as only 5 starters return. Some good skill players dot the offense but there is uncertainty at QB. I expect Cephus Johnson to be named the starter. A tall and athletic kid will be a good early test for Nebraska's D. This is an excellent opening game to build some confidence and get a lot of PT for the roster.
you changed your avatar - much better!
 
Based upon your rankings, should be no reason to not be 'up' for the Ohio State game if the four 'weakest' teams on the schedule lead up to that home game with the Buckeyes.
I expect us to be undefeated, and I expect there to be controversy in Columbus. If ANYTHING doesn't look awesome, they will NOT give Ryan Day any time to get his feet under him. They have three mediocre non-con games, but they're not basement dwellers, and they have Indiana, who should be at least a bowl team this year. If they struggle in any way against ANY of those teams for a half or even a quarter, Day is going to be coming into Lincoln with the weight of the world riding on his shoulders.
 
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Greatest Fan of All

The Legend
10 Year Member
I just do not get the woody some folks are getting over Minny. They finished strong. Like we did. However that does not mean much. The difference. We got steadily better which is to me a better sign than a sudden turn around. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
We had a sudden turnaround last year...we did not get steadily better. We played steadily bad football for the first 6 games (including a few we could've won), then did a decent turnaround, playing "good" football the second half of the season. Minny will be a tough test for us this year, but we should win.
 
I'm re-using your rankings since I mostly agree with what you said, but I've flip-flopped a lot of teams. I'll put my changes or additional comments in red.

1​
Iowa
Game 12​
A short week after playing Maryland on the road. Iowa is a psychological hurdle for this team. Although Iowa lost 7 guys from the defense, they should still be a tough unit. They return all of their skill players minus the TEs. Ferentz knows how to game-plan for Nebraska and if he opens up his offense and they get loose, Nate Stanley (QB) can cause problems. They will have the best D-line in the conference, and it's going to create a lot of matchup problems for our O-line, so our whole offense will be slowed down. Add in a veteran QB, good O-line, and they're going to take the air out of the ball and jam it down our throats. If we have any key injuries, playing them so late in the season will allow them to gameplan how to attack us. A single LB or Safety being out could mean that we lose this game, which we would otherwise win. They're the most complete returning team on our schedule.
2​
Ohio State
Game 5​
After watching the Buckeye’s spring game, I’m not convinced Justin Fields is a great QB… yet. A lot of his throws were wild but the guy is fast and his legs will present problems for Nebraska’s D. There are other holes to fill on the offense but their D is stacked with a lot of talented depth. If Nebraska is 4-0 coming into this game, the hype will be off the charts. I absolutely agree on Fields. He has to prove it on the field until I'm a believer, and they don't have a backup plan. I think that the staff lost a lot more than they gained with the coaching changes, and that's apart from Urban retiring. I think that their offensive identity is going to shift overwhelmingly to throwing the ball, and that's going to hurt them a number of ways, starting with the fact that I don't think Fields is remotely as good as Haskins. They still have more talent on their roster than anyone else in the conference, and they have a solid program that's used to winning. That overcomes a lot.
3​
AT Minnesota
Game 7​
This game will be much tougher than most people realize. Return 17 of 22 starters. They figured out their defensive issues so the only possible problem could be a QB controversy. This will be Nebraska’s 7th straight game without a bye. It wouldn’t surprise me if Minnesota was undefeated coming into this game. I agree with all that you've said, but Iowa and Ohio State return too much talent for me to put them below Minnesota. I rewatched the Wisconsin game, and I think that Tanner Morgan is going to be their QB, and I think that he's going to be very efficient. It's a good thing that he's not as much of a run threat, but he throws well. If they have everybody healthy, this game will be decided by turnovers and field goals.
4​
Wisconsin
Game 10​
Wisconsin will be playing Iowa while Nebraska gets a bye before this game. Badgers need to replace 4 OL and a QB but that should be figured out by the time they roll into Lincoln. They return a LOT of depth on defense. Like Iowa, this is another psychological hurdle for Nebraska. I'm watching closely to see how good their O-line is, and I'm also curious what their depth looks like on both sides of the line. It was NOT a good sign for their depth that Williams was playing so much last year as a true freshman. However, the same as Ohio State, they have a solid program that is used to winning, and that overcomes a lot.
5​
AT Purdue
Game 9​
Purdue will need to rely heavily on their D as 10 starters and a lot of depth return. The O lost a lot and the health of QB (Sindelar) will be a huge, so finding 4 replacements at OL will be important. You didn't mention Rondale Moore. Until he goes pro, you can't talk about these guys without talking about what to do with him. The QB is good. I respect Brohm enough to believe that he'll put together a decent O-line and find some RBs. Apart from injuries, they should win 8-9 games this fall. I'm tempted to put them above Wisconsin, but tradition matters too much for that, right now.
6​
Indiana
Game 8​
Nebraska has a bye-week before this game which is why it is ranked at #8. But the game worries me a little bit. Indiana returns a lot of depth on both sides of the ball. Like you said, I'm glad for the bye before we play them because this should be at least a bowl-eligible team, possibly pushing for 8 wins. They return a very good veteran QB, and they have a lot more talent than most Nebraska fans realize (based on the comments that I've seen and heard). They took Michigan to the wire, and they were scaring OSU through the end of the 3rd quarter last year, but in both games their lack of depth took away their chances to win the games. I'd prefer playing them at the end of the year when they have as many banged up and missing players as possible. We should win, but this is a good team.
7​
Northwestern
Game 6​
Northwestern lost a lot of players on both sides of the ball but return a solid core of guys at the skill positions. The biggest shoes to fill will be QB Hunter Johnson (5-star Clemson transfer). Fitzgerald’s teams are always scrappy. I'd put them even lower except that we play them right after Ohio State. Northwestern is scrappy, but they won a lot of games in 2019 with smoke and mirrors, and that certainly includes ours. I don't expect it to be easy, but I'll be surprised if we don't beat them. If Northwestern wins 10 games again in 2019, Pat Fitzgerald should win every coaching award possible.
8​
AT Maryland
Game 11​
By the time this game rolls around, we will know plenty about Maryland. They lose a ton of guys on both sides of the ball but they have some fairly talented and athletic players on the roster. The new head coach (Locksley) and OC (Montgomery) are former Saban/Alabama offensive coordinators and will bring a similar style of Alabama offense. This could be a trap game for Nebraska if they're not focused. I have no idea where to put Maryland on this list. This has been the most volatile team in the B1G for the past two years. They twice beat Texas, even taking them to the woodshed in '17, yet they also got pommeled by Temple. They were a dropped pass on a 2-point conversion away from beating OSU in overtime, but they got thrashed by Penn State the following week. There was a lot of talent on this team a year ago, but all of the off-field controversy and distractions took a heavy toll. So much depends on how the new coaches put things together, and how the players respond to all that happened. Maryland could be good enough to beat Ohio State or Michigan or Penn State, but they could also lose to Rutgers. I wish this game was at Nebraska, but we should win. I've had this game ranked anywhere from our 10th hardest to our 6th hardest game, so I'm splitting the difference and going with it being the 8th hardest game.
9​
Illinois
Game 4​
Illinois has a lot of holes on offense – most notably – QB. The D returns a lot of depth but this team is missing something between its ears. If that QB transfer from USC works out, that will go a long way towards solidifying the offense. The defense has a ton of guys returning, and Lovie has a new DC. These guys have no reason to have underperformed for so long, and regression-towards-the-mean says that they need to start moving back up to .500. This team has bowl game potential, but they have to win a few conference games for that to happen. We play them the week before Ohio State, and I don't like that. If we look past them, they could beat us. I wouldn't bet on it, but I wouldn't be shocked either. I moved them up because I'm actually more concerned about this game than Colorado, but the two are very even in my eyes in terms of the threat they pose.
10​
Colorado
Game 2​
The new head coach (Tucker) will have his work cut out for him. Colorado loses a lot of depth on D and the new DC (Summers) is a peculiar choice. The new OC (J. Johnson) employs a run-heavy scheme and employs a lot of Pistol which will be interesting since he has no RBs with experience on the roster. I'll be very surprised if we don't win this game. Turnovers and injuries can make anything possible, but I think that this game is more likely to be Nebraska winning by blowout than Colorado winning again.
11​
N. Illinois
Game 3​
12​
S. Alabama
Game 1​
 
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One Hit Wonder

Recruit
2 Year Member
I just do not get the woody some folks are getting over Minny. They finished strong. Like we did. However that does not mean much. The difference. We got steadily better which is to me a better sign than a sudden turn around. The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long.
Minnesota finished strong and the results showed in the box score and in the win column. Nebraska - not so much.

It’s not about having a woody for Minnesota or any other team. It’s a realistic assessment by looking at the facts, the tangibles and intangibles of the game.

  • In 2018 Minnesota went 1-5 in their first 6 conference games and gave up 43.2 points per game.
  • Fleck fires his DC and Minnesota goes 3-1 the rest of the way while giving up 14.8 points per game.
  • In those 3 wins they curb stomped Purdue, Wisconsin (in Madison) and Georgia Tech.
  • Minnesota went 5-2 at home last year.
  • On offense Minnesota returns 9 starters and 9 back-ups.
  • Every offensive skill player returns for Minnesota.
  • On defense Minnesota returns 8 starters and 8 back-ups.
  • The game is AT Minnesota.
  • It will be Nebraska’s 7th straight game without a bye.
  • Nebraska plays Ohio St and Northwestern before going to Minnesota.
  • People don’t like him but Fleck is a good motivator and will have them fired up and will use last year’s loss to Nebraska and how the Nebraska team and fans treated the win as his rallying point.
Progress? Nebraska’s best win last year was against a weak Michigan St team that needed a late 4th quarter TD to beat Rutgers in East Lansing.
 
Illinois is the third best team from Illinois on our schedule. Hahaha
Might be, but I don't think so. I don't think Northern Illinois will be better, and Northwestern will be a .500 ball club unless their new QB instantly lights it up. Illinois vs Northwestern might end up being the game that each needs to get their 6th win. Then again, Illinois might just continue to crap it down their leg. We'll see.
 

Huskerthom

All Legend
5 Year Member
Minnesota finished strong and the results showed in the box score and in the win column. Nebraska - not so much.

It’s not about having a woody for Minnesota or any other team. It’s a realistic assessment by looking at the facts, the tangibles and intangibles of the game.

  • In 2018 Minnesota went 1-5 in their first 6 conference games and gave up 43.2 points per game.
  • Fleck fires his DC and Minnesota goes 3-1 the rest of the way while giving up 14.8 points per game.
  • In those 3 wins they curb stomped Purdue, Wisconsin (in Madison) and Georgia Tech.
  • Minnesota went 5-2 at home last year.
  • On offense Minnesota returns 9 starters and 9 back-ups.
  • Every offensive skill player returns for Minnesota.
  • On defense Minnesota returns 8 starters and 8 back-ups.
  • The game is AT Minnesota.
  • It will be Nebraska’s 7th straight game without a bye.
  • Nebraska plays Ohio St and Northwestern before going to Minnesota.
  • People don’t like him but Fleck is a good motivator and will have them fired up and will use last year’s loss to Nebraska and how the Nebraska team and fans treated the win as his rallying point.
Progress? Nebraska’s best win last year was against a weak Michigan St team that needed a late 4th quarter TD to beat Rutgers in East Lansing.
From the way you make it sound our best win was Minny. Like I said we will see.
 

Husker Country Doc

All American
15 Year Member
1) Ohio St
2) AT Minnesota
3) Iowa
4) Wisconsin
____________________________top line
5) Northwestern
6) AT Purdue
_____________________________Cut line
7) N. Illinois
8) AT Maryland
9) Indiana
10) AT Colorado
11) AT Illinois
12 S. Alabama

The 6 games below the cut line we should win.

NW and Purdue are toss ups.

tOSU, Minny, wisky, IA are probable losses.

That's 8-4. Could easily go either way.
 
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