Overview: Nebraska is the only team in the nation that plays USC and Texas - USC early so we get to find out where we stand against the best.
We get Texas at home. We're on the road at Iowa State, where we haven't won since 2000, and Kansas State where we haven't won since 1996.
Louisiana Tech and Nicholls State
LaTech is getting $750,000, Nicholls State is getting $350,000 to come to Lincoln. Each home game generates $3.5M in ticket sales alone - what does that tell you about these games? Warm ups before the big one on September 16th. George Darlington comes home to a warm welcome as LaTech's defensive coordinator.
USC: a loss, but a close loss. Should be an excellent game. Our defense is too good and has plenty of depth on the line and linebacker positions - even with a questionable secondary; the game will be close.
Troy: Getting paid $700,00 to come to Lincoln. As long as Nebraska stays focused on one game at a time, Troy won't sneak up on us. They'll be focused enough to dispense Troy at home.
Kansas:home win - revenge after last year's spankings in football, basketball, and in the Big 12 title game in baseball. The defense won't be the run-stoppers they were last year, and Husker fans will provide plenty of home energy.
Iowa State:close road win. `Clones always play us well in Ames, even when they weren't that good, but they had their chance to take the Big 12 North the last two years and choked. Little engine that could? Sadly, they're the little engine that couldn't. That has to hurt and until they beat Nebraska AND win the Big 12 North, they'll stay where they are - hoping.
Kansas State:Nebraska win. Too much upheaval in the program, too many changes. Do people expect much from Ron Prince in his first year?
Texas:We'll win at home as the result of great defense against a freshman quarterback. Texas has had Nebraska's number, but I don't think we'll lose to both USC and Texas. By this time, I would expect that Texas is undefeated and feeling pretty good about themselves. A good time for deflation.
Oklahoma State: they're still searching for an identity. Les Miles had them going in the right direction, but he's long gone. I don't think the hangover has left them yet. Young team, even though we're on the road, I don't think they have the depth and experience to take us.
Missouri: no Brad Smith and much anger to release on them. Much anger. The last time Mizzou came to Lincoln, they were facing a down Nebraska team that smothered them with defense. This time they'll face an up Nebraska team that'll smother them... you get the point.
Texas A&M:this one bothers me and I'm going to say it's a loss. A&M has enough talent, but Coach Fran has been one of the most overrated coaches in the nation since going there. I'd say we'll lose at A&M unless they've already given up on their season, something that isn't out of the question. Kyle Field has historically been a tough place to play. Question is whether Fran is staying or going, and it may already be answered by the time this game is played.
Colorado:we beat them up there last year. We'll beat them up in Lincoln this year.
Big 12 Title game:
Nebraska against Texas Tech (more on this later). Tech wins. They get a BCS berth. We don't.
Bottom line: This leaves us with a loss against USC, one Big 12 loss in regular season, and another in the Big 12 title game - to finish at 10-3. A trip to a decent bowl. Not a bad season for Bill Callahan's third year.
The Big 12 North is Nebraska's for the taking. Whether we play Texas Tech, Texas or Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game, I don't see us taking the Big 12 title - not this season. Defense will hold us in every game we play this season, but if Zac Taylor goes down, it could get rough.