It’s official. The Big Ten will only play conference games for their fall sports, meaning Nebraska football’s season just got tougher.
Heading into the 2020 season, Nebraska football‘s potential run to a bowl game was going to be tricky. When we took a look at their schedule, reaching six wins against the opponents they had looked difficult.
With the Big Ten’s decision to move to a conference-only model for fall sports in 2020, that now removes Central Michigan, South Dakota State, and Cincinnati from Nebraska’s schedule. While none of those games were going to be cakewalks, the Cornhuskers likely beat both Central Michigan and South Dakota State, so there goes two of their hopeful wins this season.
Removing those games now gives Nebraska these opponents:
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- Ohio State
- Penn State
There’s nine games there and with three games being removed, it’s unlikely that six games is still the mark in order to make a bowl game (assuming bowl games are a thing in these confusing times). Out of those nine games, Nebraska has a chance to win four of them and they’re the first four games on the schedule.
The Huskers’ final five games are absolutely brutal and if they don’t get off to a hot start, it’s very possible they only win a game or two this season. Rutgers should be an easy win for them, but Purdue, Northwestern, and Illinois could end up being coin flips.
The Big Ten made the right call with this decision, as it’ll limit the travel and allow them flexibility within their own conference. They were the first conference to make this decision, but it wouldn’t be crazy to see the SEC and the other big conferences follow the Big Ten’s lead.
While fans might be disappointed to see what likely would have been two wins removed from the schedule, this is the right decision. Nebraska football now has a very tough schedule with little leeway and they’ll have to make sure every game counts, even more so than usual.
The first four games of the season could end up as victories for Big Red, but they can’t get off to the same slow starts they have the past two seasons under Scott Frost. If that happens, it’s possible they finish the season with just one or two wins and that would be very unfortunate for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.