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Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Preview: Predicting the 2016 schedule

While the first season of Mike Riley at the helm of the Nebraska Cornhuskers didn’t go exactly as planned, the second season should be less about transition and more about getting things going in the right direction.

In the case of the 2016 Huskers, what does the right direction look like? That’s where our staff comes in handy as we give you our game-by-game predictions for the Nebraska season.

Do we see a turnaround in sight or does a tricky Big Ten road slate predict doom and gloom once again? Let’s see what our staff has to say about the 2016 Huskers, shall we…

2016 Nebraska Cornhuskers Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 3
Bulldogs Fresno State Bulldogs
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
7:00pm CT
BTN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 10
Cowboys Wyoming Cowboys
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
11:00am CT
ESPN2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 17
Ducks Oregon Ducks
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
2:30pm CT
ABC
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 24
Wildcats at Northwestern Wildcats
Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
6:30pm CT
BTN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 1
Fighting Illini Illinois Fighting Illini (HC)
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
2:30pm CT
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 8
OFF
Saturday
Oct. 15
Hoosiers at Indiana Hoosiers
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
2:30pm CT
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 22
Boilermakers Purdue Boilermakers
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 29
Badgers at Wisconsin Badgers
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
6:00pm CT
ABC/ESPN/2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 5
Buckeyes at Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, OH
7:00pm CT
ABC/ESPN/2
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 12
Gophers Minnesota Golden Gophers
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
6:30pm CT
BTN
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 19
Terrapins Maryland Terrapins
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
TBA Buy
Tickets
Friday
Nov. 25
Hawkeyes at Iowa Hawkeyes
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets

*courtesy FBSchedules.com.

 

vs. Fresno State Bulldogs
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

When this game was made this could’ve been one hell of a matchup to open the season. Instead, both Nebraska and Fresno State are coming off of losing seasons and the Bulldogs are a shadow of the program they were in the mid-to-late 2000’s. Still, the Huskers at home against a bad Mountain West program should be about as sure as a thing as possible.

vs. Wyoming Cowboys
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

Craig Bohl hasn’t seen the success he had at North Dakota State follow him to Wyoming just yet, but there’s one thing that could challenge Nebraska in this one and that is running back Brian Hill. He’s just one really good player on a team that went 2-10 last season and while it will be nice for Bohl to return to his alma mater, it won’t be very nice on the field as the Huskers likely lay a beat down on the Cowboys.

vs. Oregon Ducks
Andy: Loss
Dave: Win
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Win

As much-maligned as the Huskers defense was in 2015, there were plenty of defenses worse than what took place in Lincoln, Neb. One such defense was that of the Oregon Ducks, and it led them to a 9-4 season and somehow hiring Brady Hoke to coach up the defense in 2016. Then again…Michigan’s defenses weren’t exactly bad. Expect the athletes of Oregon to outdo what Nebraska brings to the table…even if it is the Big Ten team hosting the Pac-12 foe.

at Northwestern Wildcats
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Win
Zach: Loss

Welcome to perhaps the most crazy contest on the Huskers’ docket in 2016. Anyone who has paid attention to this brief series as Big Ten foes knows enough to expect the unexpected. In the five contests between these two as B1G members, the average margin of victory is six points and only once has anyone won by double digits. Northwestern at Ryan Field is always tricky, and with some pretty impressive talent on both sides of the ball I’m going with the home team in the toughest game to call on the Huskers schedule.

vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

Stability is a good thing, and the hope for both of these teams is that they’ve found it. However, Nebraska seems to have more of it and a much better overall defense. While the Illini are likely to challenge through the air, it takes much more than that to beat any Huskers team and that will ultimately be what costs them in this one.

at Indiana Hoosiers
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

While it is tempting to see this as a toss-up game, there’s just too many holes to be filled on defense and too many questions marks at key positions for the Hoosiers’ offense for me to pick them. Unless Robert Lagow is the second-coming of Nate Sudfeld this should be a win for the Huskers in a tricky road game thanks to who know’s what kind of atmosphere in Bloomington, Ind.

vs. Purdue Boilermakers
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

Who says revenge won’t be on the mind of the Huskers in this game? These teams are virtually the same, at least on paper from a season ago and you damn well know Mike Riley won’t be able to live down a second-straight loss to Purdue. Expect his team to be up for this game, and with it being in Lincoln…I kind of feel sorry for what my mind says could happen to the Boilermakers in this one.

at Wisconsin Badgers
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

This game should give Nebraska fans nightmares, and for good reason. A trip to Camp Randall to face the Wisconsin Badgers have never ended well for the Huskers. There was the butt-kicking to welcome them to the Big Ten and then we’re still not sure if Melvin Gordon has stopped racking up the yards on the Huskers defense the second time around. This time, Corey Clement and still one of the best defenses in college football are likely to scare the Huskers as much as the past has. Wisconsin finds some crazy way of winning a close one for a change in Madison.

at Ohio State Buckeyes
Andy: Loss
Dave: Loss
Kevin: Loss
Zach: Loss

A second straight insane road game? Thanks Big Ten schedule makers. This one won’t be as close as the Badgers game, and simply put the Huskers just aren’t on the same playing field as the Buckeyes are right now. Unless the run game finds holes to open up in the middle and the Huskers control the tempo it’s going to be a long day in Columbus for Riley’s Nebraska program.

vs. Minnesota Gophers
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

If you’ve paid attention to us here at talking10, then you know we hate the term “must-win,” but given the history between these two teams and the likely positions they’ll find themselves in at this point of the season this is exactly that — must win. With this game at home and Tommy Armstrong vs. Mitch Leidner it is going to be really interesting to see what happens in this rivalry game (see the $5 bits-of-broken-chair trophy). I’m thinking home field advantage works wonders, and the Huskers pull it out in the fourth quarter.

vs. Maryland Terrapins
Andy: Win
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Win

One can not underestimate the travel from the Eastern-most point of the Big Ten to the Western-most. That alone is a nice advantage for the Huskers…as is having more overall talent and a team capable of stopping the running game. I have visions of Armstrong going all sorts of Foster Farms Bowl on the Terps’ overmatched defense. Sound about right to you?

at Iowa Hawkeyes
Andy: Loss
Dave: Win
Kevin: Win
Zach: Loss

How you see this game playing out is likely based on how you see the Huskers coming in to this contest. A pair of wins will certainly boost hopes, but will the Huskers really be playing for anything other than pride? If you’ve been following along with each of our records it would hold true that those who believe the chances of a Big Ten West title are gone have this as a loss, while those who see the Huskers playing some quality football in the B1G have this as a win. Personally, this is all about Iowa needing this game to secure back-to-back B1G West division crowns and that has them more focused for the Heroes Game.

Season Records:
Andy: 7-5 (5-4)
Dave: 9-3 (6-3)
Kevin: 9-3 (7-2)
Zach: 8-4 (5-4)

Our Predicted Big Ten Standings:

West:
1.
2. Nebraska (Kevin/tie – Dave)
3. Nebraska (Andy/Zach)
4. Minnesota (Andy)
5.
6. Purdue (tie – Dave)
7. Purdue (Andy/Zach/Kevin)

East:
1.
2. Michigan State (Andy/Dave)
3. Michigan State (Zach)
4.
5.
6.
7.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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