Every game is important right? Of course, some are more important than others. This power ranking list is as of the day this was published. If we learn that two-thirds of Oklahoma’s roster decided to enter the transfer portal as we inch closer to the beginning of the football season then these power rankings would obviously change.
What does it mean for a game to be more important than another? I think that depends on each individual.
For myself, how much does it hurt Nebraska if they lose this game? I can, in a sense, chalk it up to nerves. How nervous am I going to be going to be as each game approaches. Sometimes I’m nervous because it’s a game we should win but we might not. Maybe I’m nervous because it’s been almost a decade since we have beaten a division rival and we just need to finally break through after multiple close games.
This is a completely subjective list.
What say you?
#12 - Fordham - September 4th
Fun fact. Fordham’s home field, Coffey Field, holds 7,000 fans. It’s in the Bronx. I think that should provide some perspective if you actually needed it. We all know what this game is intended to be. It’s a great check for Fordham and it should be a game where Nebraska can get right and get their reserves some experience playing at Memorial Stadium.
When was the last game that Nebraska football had a nice relaxing Saturday where the 3rd and 4th stringers got into the game? Maybe Fresno State in 2016?
The last full season Fordham played they went 4-8 so as far as Patriot League teams go I am not sure they would be considered to be in the top-half of that league.
#11 - at Oklahoma - September 18th
One early betting line I saw was that Oklahoma is favored by 18. If I was a betting man I would put money on Oklahoma. I don’t think it will be close.
As far as I’m concerned the only thing to be worried about in this game is to get so blown out that Oklahoma sucks the soul out of the program and stomps on it.
If Nebraska can keep it under 20 then I think that’s a win for this program going forward.
Oklahoma has probably the best player in the country in Spencer Rattler at quarterback. They also have possibly the best pass-rusher in the country in Nik Bonitto.
It’s my opinion that if Nebraska’s program was where we thought it would have been at this point when Scott Frost was hired that this game would probably be in the top 3 of this power ranking list. Unfortunately, I’m not expecting much so in terms of importance it gets #11.
#10 - Ohio State - November 6th
Nebraska finally gets to see Ohio State drop off its schedule in 2022, which means the Huskers get to see them in 2021. Can’t wait.
When it comes to a list like this Ohio State might as well be Oklahoma. We are pretty sure how this game is going to go for Nebraska and it does not look good.
Nebraska lost to the Buckeyes last season by 35 points. Of course Ohio State loses a great quarterback who is now playing for the best team in the NFL (DA BEARS!). Unfortunately Ohio State has been stocking talent for years now so there is no reason to think that cupboard will be bare at QB.
Depending on the flavor of Kool-Aid I could see Nebraska being 8-1 going into the Ohio State game. That would require wins against Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Michigan State, Illinois and Purdue. I could also see them being 1-8. If their record is closer to 8-1 then this game gets a little more important as the season progresses.
However, as of right now I think we know how this game will go.
#9 - Michigan - October 9th
Remember getting blown by in 2018 against Michigan to the tune of 56-10? That was nightmare-inducing.
That was Scott Frost’s first season and Michigan hasn’t exactly been gang-busters since that game. However, they have been better than Nebraska.
I’ve heard some say that Nebraska needs to get over the hump against some of the marquee Big Ten opponents and having Michigan at home is the perfect opportunity to do so.
I get that point but Nebraska beat Penn State last year in what can only be described as beautiful offensive football by both squads who were a combined 0-6 going into that game. I may be alone but I think beating Penn State at this point is a bigger deal than beating Michigan.
With all that said, the chances of beating Michigan are not so daunting as Ohio State and Oklahoma. In fact, it isn’t even comparable.
If Michigan was in Nebraska’s division then they would be higher on the list. Since they aren’t then they get #9.
Which might be sound contradictory when we look at fellow west division Big Ten team at #8.
#8 - Wisconsin - November 20th
This is when things start to get difficult. It feels a bit like trying to pick your favorite child at this point. It’s difficult but not all heroes wear capes, so I am willing to do the dirty work.
Nebraska has made some strides when it comes to competing with Wisconsin though they are still a bit off. Well probably more than a bit off. The Huskers could make a big jump this year but I think it is safe to say Nebraska still needs to make substantial progress to beat Wisconsin in 2021.
Wisconsin is the current king of the west division. Every other team in the west is beatable in my opinion and that includes Iowa.
The Wisconsin game comes right after a likely beat-down by Ohio State but before the game against Iowa to end the regular season. That is quite the three game skid to end the season for Nebraska.
Until Nebraska makes noticeable strides a game like this will always be lower on the importance ranking even though they are in the same division.
Nebraska losing to Wisconsin doesn’t damage the season as much as others.
#7 - Buffalo - September 11th
Buffalo has been hit hard by the transfer portal ever since former head coach Lance Leipold decided to go “greener” pastures at Kansas. Ten players have left the team since the new hiring of Maurice Linguist.
If Lance Leipold had stayed at Buffalo then this game would have been in next week’s article because that would likely have been a really difficult game for Nebraska. I’ve heard some say they believe it would have been a 50/50 game which would make this game so much more important.
Buffalo is not devoid of talent and the cupboard isn’t completely bare which is why they are 7th on this list. This will be a more difficult game than maybe we still think even after losing their head coach and all of the assistants.
It’s hard to think that a non-conference game would be more important than a conference game. Buffalo could very well beat Nebraska. Nebraska is in no position to think a game against a depleted Buffalo team is a gimmie (I think Fordham is different).
A loss to Buffalo would likely be more devastating to the program than a loss to Wisconsin and Michigan at this point especially since it is early in the season.
That leaves us with Iowa, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State and Minnesota.
That will be next week!