The Nebraska Cornhuskers find themselves as contenders for the Big Ten title next season. The Cornhuskers will have to find ways to show up in big conference games if they want to actually win the Big Ten.
They lost four games last season and three of the four were by 14 points or more.
This season, they will have to play far better in games against ranked opponents. The Cornhuskers will have four games in the regular season that will decide their fate in the postseason.
Nebraska opens up conference play at home against the Wisconsin Badgers in Week 5.
This will be a test for the Cornhuskers after being blown off the field by the Badgers last season by a score of 48-17. The Badgers are expected to be a Top 25 team and in Week 5, they still should be.
Luckily for them, former Badgers quarterback Russell Wilson will not be there. However, the Badgers still have running back Montee Ball, who gashed the Cornhuskers in last season's meeting for 151 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
This season the Badgers will have former Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien who can throw the ball himself. The Cornhuskers will have to contain the Heisman Trophy candidate Ball in this season's matchup.
The following week, the Cornhuskers will have to face off against Coach Urban Meyer and his Ohio State Buckeyes on their turf.
They were able to beat the Buckeyes last season, but it was only by a touchdown at home. Like the Badgers, the Buckeyes are also expected to be a ranked opponent for the Cornhuskers. They have nine starters returning on defense, so points may be tough to come by for Nebraska.
This will be a tough road test for Nebraska, and the AP voters will make this game weigh heavily on any BCS chances that the Cornhuskers may have.
The Michigan Wolverines trounced the Cornhuskers 45-17 last season in Ann Arbor. Michigan is expected to be a Top 10 team in the preseason rankings and is the favorite to win the Big Ten.
The Cornhuskers will have to go through the Wolverines to win the Big Ten. And unfortunately for them, quarterback Denard Robinson is still on the roster for the Wolverines. Robinson scored four touchdowns against the Cornhuskers last season, two in the air and two on the ground.
This could very well be the biggest game of the Cornhuskers season. They are fortunate to have this crucial game in their own backyard.
The very next week the Cornhuskers will have to travel to Michigan State to face-off against the Spartans.
Last year, the Cornhuskers were able to dominate the Spartans 24-3 in Nebraska. The Spartans finished the season ranked ninth in the Top 25, and are expected to start the season near that mark. This game could be the Cornhuskers last chance to get a win over a ranked opponent.
This game will be a statement game for Nebraska.