Nebraska football really wanted to play football this fall. It got its wish, and arguably the toughest schedule in the entire Big Ten.
While there are questions about how fair it is to judge any coach on or near the hot seat, this could be a pivotal year for the program. The first few years of the Scott Frost era disappointed, and in normal circumstances, this could be a make-or-break-season for him at his alma mater. Now, he has to contend with a slate that pits his team against the two hardest crossover opponents possible. There were plenty of jokes, and even one report, about the Big Ten getting effectively punished for how it handled things after the Big Ten initially chose to postpone the season until the spring semester.
After a trip to Ohio State, Nebraska hosts Wisconsin on Oct. 31. Two weeks later, the Huskers host Penn State. A Nov. 28 trip to Iowa, and Dec. 12 home game against Minnesota round out a pretty brutal eight week slate.
After the schedule was released, Nebraska AD Bill Moos said he wasn't "singing the 'poor Nebraska' tune." He isn't a huge fan of how things were constructed by the league though. "I wasn't toasting champagne," he said after the release, per the Omaha World-Herald.
Moos wanted the league to "dissemble" the existing nine-game conference schedules. Instead, the Big Ten lopped a crossover game off. For Nebraska, that game would've been against Rutgers, the weakest Big Ten East opponent.
Now, the Huskers have five preseason Top 25 teams in eight weeks. Moos was also disappointed that the league didn't change rules so that only division games counted in those standings. He admits that his team is at a big disadvantage by landing the conference's two toughest teams as crossover games in the first four weeks of the short season.
“Lost out on that,” Moos said. “And then you look at when we’re playing who and where is a definite disadvantage to Nebraska. With a young team, opening up, at Columbus, against the No. 2 team in the nation — fans or no fans — is a giant task, especially when it’s the first post-COVID game. First time we’re on a charter aircraft, first time we’re in a hotel, first time everybody on the sidelines has masks on, first time with electronic whistles, everything’s going to be new. I didn’t feel that had to happen. And then we return to play No. 11.”
“I don’t want to come across as the champion complainer,” Moos said. “I’m going to protect my school and what is fair. I was outspoken on those items. At the end of the day, I was 0-for-3. I wasn’t just going to sit around and listen and get kicked around. I’ll never do that. They knew I wasn’t pleased. But the schedule’s in place, it is what it is, they won’t hear any more out of me. We’re going to strap the chin strap on and go out and win games.”
Any way you slice it, Nebraska football got a brutal draw, but as Huskers star Wan'Dale Robinson indicated on Twitter, there's nothing to do now but to go out and try and win some games.