Looking to the future

For whatever reason, future Husker Big Ten football schedules fascinate me. They also drive me crazy.
Nothing about them makes sense, other than playing the same teams in the West Division every season. As for the East, it’s pretty much a crapshoot. What you see is what you get.
Case in point: Nebraska plays Ohio State the next three seasons to finish out a four-year home and away series, yet will only travel to face Michigan in 2018. Why no return trip in 2019? And why hasn’t Nebraska played them since 2013?
And this season, the Huskers travel to Penn State in November, yet there’s no sign of the Nittany Lions past that. The last time these two teams met was in 2013 in Happy Valley, Big Red pulling out a 23-20 overtime win immediately following the firing of Joe Paterno.
Then there’s Michigan State, a team that no doubt has nightmares about Memorial Stadium following their 39-38 loss in 2015, ruining Sparty’s undefeated season in early November when they were ranked No. 6. State comes to Lincoln in 2018 without a Nebraska return visit, either this upcoming season or in 2019. And doesn’t it seem like we’ve played MSU every season so far?
Also, Big Red has played Indiana only once, this past season. The Hoosiers will finally travel to Lincoln in 2019.
For me, not playing Michigan on any kind of a regular basis is the most mind-boggling. Ohio State four years in a row is a great marquee matchup, but so is playing the maize and blue. How about scheduling two against Meyer and two against Harbaugh?
Nebraska’s 25-13 upset win in Ann Arbor back in 1962 was a milestone victory for the program, one that had lost 34 of 50 previous games under coach Bill Jennings. It also marked the first win ever against Michigan after four previous tries. That 12-point victory by Bob Devaney began Nebraska’s dominance that lasted for decades.
It’s fun to look way ahead as well. In 2021, Nebraska travels to Norman to face Oklahoma on Sept. 18, and yes, I plan to be there. By then I’ll be retired and won’t have to worry about taking time off from work.
The Sooners then make a return trip to Lincoln in 2022, a game that without a doubt should pay honor to Tom Osborne and Barry Switzer.
In 2023, the Huskers travel to Colorado with a return trip by the Buffs set the following season. And in 2026, Tennessee comes to Lincoln, Big Red heading down to Rocky Top the year after.
And finally in 2028, Arizona visits with no return trip on the books, and in 2029, Nebraska once again heads south to Oklahoma, a trip north by the Sooners assumed the following season.
It’s also fun to speculate who will be Nebraska’s coach in five or 10 years? Bob Diaco? Danny Langsdorf? John Parella? Trent Bray? Scott Frost?
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The Big Ten and the SEC represented themselves very well in the first round of the NFL Draft, combining for 19 of 32 draft picks. It could have been better, but Nebraska was no where to be found until Nate Gerry was finally chosen by Philadelphia on day three.
I obviously don’t watch much video of players, but the Huskers really are lacking those dominant, explosive-type athletes who can win one-on-one matchups, and sometimes one-on-two matchups. Offensive linemen who push the defense back a few steps; cornerbacks who mirror the receivers; running backs who make defenders miss and then outrun the defense; d-linemen who end up in the backfield; and linebackers who explode to the ball.
The good news is that Mike Riley’s bunch is headed in the right direction. Recruiting is picking up, the team is healthy and another summer in the weight room will do wonders for some of the younger players.
Hopefully in a year or two, a couple Huskers will hear their name called on day one.

DAVE BRADLEY can be reached at advertising@hamilton.net.

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