The simple fact about a college football team's schedule is that some games are extremely appealing to fans and others are not. There are some games against FCS opponents that are only exciting if your favorite team is getting upset, and that's not the good kind of exciting.
On the other hand, you also have games against fellow conference contenders and bitter rivals that fans look forward to all year. These are the games we live for as college football fans.
As Nebraska enters the 2011 season, it has plenty of both types of games on the schedule. I will pick out the four games on the Huskers' schedule that you cannot afford to miss.
The Fresno State Bulldogs pose a tough early-season test for Nebraska. After warming up against Chattanooga, the Huskers will take a big step up in competition in facing Fresno State.
Pat Hill has built himself a solid football program that Nebraska will not be able to take lightly. The Bulldogs do not have the athletes to matchup with the Huskers on each team’s best day, but Fresno State does have the attitude to beat Nebraska if the Big Red doesn’t show up ready to play.
Bo Pelini’s boys should definitely be able to handle Fresno State, but if the Huskers stumble the Bulldogs are good enough to make things interesting.
Nebraska gets a rude welcoming to Big Ten conference play in taking a road trip to Camp Randall for its first league game. In addition, I believe this could be a preview of the inaugural Big Ten Championship.
By this point in the season, both Nebraska and Wisconsin should have some answers about who they are as football teams. Nebraska should have an idea of what it is getting out of Taylor Martinez by this time, and Wisconsin should know how well Russell Wilson is fitting into its system.
Whichever way this game goes, it should be a close, hard-fought battle throughout. If you love physical defense and athletic quarterbacks, then this is the game for you, and if that’s not enough, both teams could very well be undefeated when they meet.
Denard Robinson and the Wolverines offense against Bo Pelini and the Huskers defense. Is there any other reason you need to watch this game?
By the end of the season I believe Michigan will be playing well, and having this game in Ann Arbor should help Robinson and company have a shot at upsetting the Big Red. For Nebraska, this matchup against the Wolverines marks the middle of a three-game stretch to end the season that could very well define 2011 for the Huskers.
If Nebraska can win two of their final three games (at Penn State, at Michigan, vs. Iowa), the Huskers will likely be looking at a shot at the conference championship and a BCS bowl. However, I have a feeling that this game against Michigan might be the toughest of the three.
Nebraska’s day-after Thanksgiving game has been a must-watch for Husker fans for years. It is part of the Big Red’s storied tradition. While the opponent has changed over the years, the excitement around this game has not.
Now part of the reason this is a can’t-miss game is because most fans will probably still be in a food-coma from their Thanksgiving feast the day before, so being camped out in front of the television may be more of a necessity than a choice. However, even if Nebraska fans could move, they wouldn’t want to.
Depending on how Nebraska’s season has gone, this regular season finale could either be a disappointing end or a triumphant finish to the Huskers’ 2011 campaign.