After Nebraska’s humiliating loss to Ohio State, head coach Bo Pelini said that the Cornhuskers would have to win out (via Omaha.com) for NU to make the B1G Championship. It seemed out of character for Pelini, and a big mountain to climb for a team that just gave up 63 points.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Indeed, I think Nebraska going 6-0 to end the regular season is the most likely outcome. Here’s why.
Nebraska heads to Evanston to face another mobile quarterback/running back in Kain Colter, who scorched the Cornhuskers last year in Lincoln and helped the Purples to a 28-25 victory.
Nebraska will come into this game fully focused on Northwestern, and with a bye week to ruminate on the Ohio State debacle, a much improved Cornhuskers offense will avenge last year's upset.
Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 38, Northwestern 21
The de facto B1G Legends Division championship game has Nebraska facing off against another dangerous dual-threat quarterback in Denard Robinson. But the Wolverines have struggled away from the Big House, losing two of their last three games and getting shut down very effectively by Notre Dame.
Michigan’s rushing defense is ranked 55th nationally, suggesting that the Wolverines would be the perfect opponent for Nebraska to shelve its high-tempo attack and possess the ball to win.
Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 27, Michigan 23
The Spartans were many pundits’ selection to win the B1G Legends Division before the season started due to their salty defense. But Andrew Maxwell has struggled to fill Kirk Cousins’ shoes at quarterback, and Le’Veon Bell cannot be asked to carry the entire Michigan State offense himself.
Bottom Line: The Spartans are an excellent matchup for Nebraska’s defense.
Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 31, Michigan State 14
Bill O’Brien has done a remarkable job of circling the wagons in Happy Valley and making a post-sanctions Penn State team competitive. But ultimately, Penn State is still suffering from a thin squad and the departure of playmakers like Silas Redd.
By the time November 10th rolls around, look for a worn-down Nittany Lions squad to face fade against Nebraska as the game wears on.
Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 24, Penn State 10
Dual-threat quarterback MarQueis Gray has been struggling to return from injury, but it's likely that (barring setbacks) he'll be back to face Nebraska. However, Minnesota is still a work in progress under Jerry Kill and is not dramatically better than the Gophers squad NU dispatched in Minneapolis last year. Gray may do his damage, but Nebraska should have a relatively comfortable win at home.
Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 41, Minnesota 13
Nebraska fans making the trip to Iowa City the day after Thanksgiving may be surprised by what greets them. Iowa fans have embraced the Nebraska-Iowa rivalry far more fervently than Nebraska fans, and the atmosphere inside and outside Kinnick Stadium will be unlike anything NU has seen in some time.
Unfortunately for the spectacle, the matchup is not a good one for the Hawkeyes. James Vandenberg has struggled this year, and is the type of quarterback that Nebraska’s defense tends to stop effectively.
And the Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God has struck again, with fullback-turned-local-celebrity Mike Wiesman now missing time due to injury. Nebraska controlled a dire and uninspired game last year, and all signs point to a similar result in 2012.
Fearless Forecast: Nebraska 23, Iowa 10
If you’d like to contact Patrick to schedule an interview, provide feedback or get advice on which type of chocolate goes best with fresh fruit (spoiler alert: dark), then send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, you could always...Follow @patrickrunge