Nebraska Football: Breaking Down the 2011 Schedule

Matt Zvolanek@MattZvolanekCorrespondent IIApril 4, 2011

Nebraska Football: Breaking Down the 2011 Schedule

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    The Huskers start their first year in the Big Ten.  They face new foes and challenges.  How will the Big Red fare in a land of Buckeyes, Wolverines, and Hawkeyes?  Only time will tell.  At this time, however, all we can do is speculate.  This is one writer's opinion of what will happen.

Week 1: Vs Chattanooga

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 6-5

    Chattanooga comes to Lincoln in what is, most assuredly, a scrimmage for the Huskers. 

    The Mocs have little, if any chance of beating the Huskers.  The Mocs finished fourth in the Southern conference last year and ended the year with a 6-5 overall record. 

    For the last two years, they have had the fortune to play the eventual national champion (Alabama and Auburn), and for the last three years, have played against the Heisman winner (Sam Bradford, Mark Ingram and Cam Newton).  Could this be an omen of things to come for the Huskers? 

Week 2: Vs Fresno State

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    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 8-5

    Fresno State coach Pat Hill has said his team is not afraid to play anyone.  That certainly holds true for this game.  Fresno State will visit Memorial Stadium after hosting the Golden Bears of Cal.  This game could potentially be a trap because the Huskers might be looking ahead to Washington.  However, the Huskers should win this game fairly easily. 

Week 3: Vs Washington

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 7-6

    Jake Locker is gone and the Huskies have to figure out how to win without him. 

    That will be hard to do in Lincoln, where the Sea of Red will be out in full force to see the Huskers get revenge for the loss in the Holiday Bowl. 

    The key in this game will be how Washington's defense plays.  Will it be the one the Huskers saw in Seattle or the one in the Holiday Bowl.  Regardless, Nebraska should overpower the Huskies and get a "W."

Week 4: @ Wyoming

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    2010 Record:3-9

    The Huskers head out on their first road game of the year to play at Wyoming.  War Memorial Stadium is the highest elevation stadium in college football.  This has been known to affect visiting teams that play there and has allowed the Cowboys to pull some big upsets.  That won't happen to Nebraska because Wyoming is severely outmatched on both sides of the ball.  The Huskers go to Wisconsin 4-0.

Week 5: @ Wisconsin

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    2010 Record: 11-2

    What a way to open Big Ten conference play, by playing the Big Ten co-champion at their home.  While Wisconsin did lose a lot of talent last year, they still have quite a few good athletes. 

    The Husker defense will be put to the test, having to face a very physical running game.  This is where we will see if the offense has truly progressed from last year. 

    This one is a toss-up but I have to give it to the Badgers.

Week 6: Vs Ohio State

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 12-1

    Welcome back, Terrelle Pryor and Jim Tressel.  The Huskers will put on quite a welcome party when the Buckeyes star QB and brilliant signal-caller come back. 

    Pryor and the other four Buckeyes will probably be rusty from all the time spent sitting on the bench.  The Husker defense will be stingy and force Pryor into a few turnovers.  The Huskers win a close one.

Week 7: Bye Week

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    Husker fans can take a break and watch some of the other games or speculate about who will go to the National Championship or win the Heisman.

Week 8: @ Minnesota

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 3-9

    After a downright embarrassing season last year, Minnesota fired Tim Brewster and hired Jerry Kill.  Kill will turn the program around and win some big games, but not against the Huskers. 

    Nebraska visits the Golden Gophers and could be, potentially, undefeated.  Minnesota might put up more of a fight than they would have last year but this one won't be close.

Week 9: Vs Michigan State

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 11-2

    The Huskers play host to the Michigan State Spartans in week nine.  The Huskers are 5-0 all time against the Spartans but that could change.  Michigan State shared the Big Ten Championship with Wisconsin and Ohio State last year, but had some flaws as shown by Iowa and Alabama.  The Spartans will be ready to play, but Nebraska improves to 6-0 all time.

Week 10: Vs Northwestern

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 7-6

    The last the Huskers played Northwestern, the result was 66-17, Huskers.  That won't be the case this time.  Although I see a Huskers win, the score should be much closer.  Northwestern could be a trap game if the Huskers are looking ahead to their cross-conference designated rival, Penn State.  Also, Northwestern has pulled some upsets over the last couple years.

Week 11: @ Penn State

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    Hunter Martin/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 7-6

    The Huskers go to Happy Valley to take down the Nittany Lions.  Penn State has some questions at quarterback but still should be a good team.  The nation will find out how good they will be as they play the Crimson Tide early in the year.  If they win, look out.  This will be a physical game and might be a return to some of the storied match-ups of the past.  Nebraska should prevail, though.

Week 12: @ Michigan

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 7-6

    This offseason the Wolverines said good bye to Rich Rod and hello to Brady Hoke.  Hoke's biggest problem will be fixing a Michigan defense that has been awful for the last couple years.  The offense lead by Denard Robinson will be very potent.  Expect this game to be a shootout.  A major key to deciding the winner of this game is whose defense steps up.  Nebraska could easily get upset at the Big House by the Wolverines.

Week 13: Vs Iowa

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    2010 Record: 8-5

    The Huskers and Hawkeyes begin their "rivalry" on Black Friday in Lincoln. 

    Although more of the hype about this game has been what to call it, it should be fun to watch also.  Iowa replaces former Big 8/12 rival Colorado and seems to fit better as a rival than the Buffaloes ever did.  This should be a very physical game and a fun one to watch.  Nebraska should prevail in a close one.