The Big Ten has released the 2014 conference football schedule, and what's most noticeable is the absence of Michigan and Ohio State on Nebraska's schedule. From the East division, the Huskers will play Michigan State on October 4th in East Lansing and Rutgers on October 25th in Lincoln. Aside from a non-conference game against Miami (Florida), it's a rather lackluster home schedule.
2014 Nebraska Football Schedule
Aug. 30 Florida Atlantic
Sept. 6 McNeese State
Sept. 13 at Fresno State
Sept. 20 Miami, Fla.
Sept. 27 Illinois
Oct. 4 at Michigan State
Oct. 11 BYE
Oct. 18 at Northwestern
Oct. 25 Rutgers
Nov. 1 Purdue
Nov. 8 BYE
Nov. 15 at Wisconsin
Nov. 22 Minnesota
Nov. 28 (Fri.) at Iowa
Dec. 6 Big Ten Championship Game
Open the season with a game against Carl Pelini's FAU team followed by 1-AA McNeese State. Then Miami, who's still searching to regain the mojo. Then conference home games against Illinois, Rutgers, Purdue, and Minnesota.
Color me not impressed.
The road games in conference are more interesting: Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Iowa. I'm curious why the Wisconsin game was backloaded into November, though. It's the biggest game of that weekend, but it probably would be a candidate for a primetime matchup, if it were played in October.
That might be the best situation to break in a new starting quarterback, if you are looking for an upside. In 2014, either Tommy Armstrong or Johnny Stanton will be taking over for Taylor Martinez. If the Huskers were looking to have a season where the schedule wasn't quite as difficult, 2014 fits the bill.
It's clear, though, that the Big Ten wants Nebraska or Wisconsin to play in the Big Ten championship game. Wisconsin drew the new teams as their East division opponents: Maryland and Rutgers. Jim Delaney threw Kirk Ferentz a huge break by giving Iowa games against Indiana and Maryland.
I'm not surprised that Nebraska drew Rutgers. The Michigan State matchup surprised me, though. I expected to see Ohio State or maybe Michigan in that spot, and that absence is disappointing. I suspect that since the 2015 schedule wasn't announced today, that season won't be a reversal of the 2014 schedule. If that's the case, look for a game against Ohio State or Michigan, and then one against either Maryland or Indiana. I don't expect to see any effort to get Penn State back on Nebraska's schedule until after the NCAA sanctions expire.
A lot of people are remarking about the Rutgers schedule; I'm not sure what people expected. Once they were placed in the East, everybody should have realized that they'd have to play Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State. Drawing both Nebraska and Wisconsin from the West is a tough draw, but it shouldn't have been unexpected.
So tell me, what are your thoughts about Nebraska's 2014 schedule?
So what do you think about Nebraska's schedule.