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Nebraska Football: Cornhuskers' 2021 Schedule Analysis

Nebraska Football: Cornhuskers' 2021 Schedule Analysis

Nebraska Football: Cornhuskers' 2021 Schedule Analysis

The fourth season of Nebraska football with Scott Frost at the helm is looming with some growing concerns about whether or not Frost will be able to restore Nebraska to its winning ways. After three consecutive losing seasons without a bowl trip, Frost could have Nebraska silencing some of his critics this fall.

But doing so will not be easy. With a non-conference game against Big 12 powerhouse Oklahoma, a cross-division matchup with Ohio State, and Big Ten divisional games against Wisconsin and Iowa, Nebraska will have plenty of challenges standing in their way of the first winning season in Lincoln since 2016.

The fun gets started early for Nebraska, with a Week 0 matchup in Big Ten play.

Nebraska Cornhuskers 2021 Schedule

Byes: Week 1, Week 8

Week 0 – Aug. 28 at Illinois (Champaign, Ill.)

Nebraska and Illinois were originally scheduled to play in Ireland, but now the Week 0 opener will be played on Big Ten soil. Nebraska faces new Illinois head coach Bret Bielema in his Illini debut, but this is a game Nebraska should win.

Week 2 – Sep. 11 vs. Buffalo (Lincoln, Neb.)

Nebraska gets to play in front of their home fans for the first time in Week 3 when they host Buffalo. The Bulls from the MAC could be some trouble, but Nebraska should be looking to go 2-0 before a massive road test the following week.

Week 3 – Sep. 18 at Oklahoma (Norman, Okla.)

A storied rivalry will be renewed, but this one could easily turn ugly. Oklahoma will have plenty of firepower and the Huskers' defense will be challenged on the road by Spencer Rattler.

Week 4 – Sept. 25 at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.)

Nebraska is back on the road after their trip to Oklahoma, and a trip to East Lansing should be another battle. Michigan State is flawed and rebuilding, but the Huskers need to prove they can go on the road and win this type of game.

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Week 5 – Oct. 2 vs. Northwestern (Lincoln, Neb.)

Northwestern has been a thorn in Nebraska's paw, and that could be the case once again. The Wildcats won the Big Ten West last season. Nebraska gets this one at home, but that hasn't necessarily been a swing factor against Northwestern.

Week 6 – Oct. 9 vs. Michigan (Lincoln, Neb.)

A battle of Big Ten programs in desperate need of a big season will be on display when Michigan rolls into Lincoln in early October. Michigan will be coming off a road trip the previous week at Wisconsin, making for a challenging two weeks on the road for the Wolverines.

Week 7 – Oct. 16 at Minnesota (Minneapolis)

A road trip to play the Rowin' P.J. Flecks could be a tricky spot for the Huskers, although the Gophers seem to have fallen a little bit back to earth after their 2019 season.

Week 9 – Oct. 30 vs. Purdue (Lincoln, Neb.)

After a week off, Nebraska returns to action at home against the Boilermakers. This should put Nebraska in a favorable spot, but the Purdue passing attack could be difficult to slow down.

Week 10 – Nov. 6 vs. Ohio State (Lincoln, Neb.)

Perennial Big Ten favorite Ohio State rolls into Lincoln in the first weekend of November. To say this is the most difficult game on the schedule for Nebraska may be understating the reality (although a road trip to Oklahoma is no walk in the park), but the perception of Nebraska could be much more positive if things go well this season by the time the Buckeyes step foot in Memorial Stadium.

Week 11 – Nov. 13 vs. Southeastern Louisiana (Lincoln, Neb.)

It is not common for a Big Ten team to step out of conference to play an FCS opponent this late in the season, but that's just how Nebraska's schedule plays out this season. This will be a much-needed breather after a showdown with Ohio State the previous week with two of the biggest division games coming up.

Week 12 – Nov. 20 at Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.)

The Badgers could be the favorite to win the Big Ten West this season, and they could potentially be playing for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game with a shot at the College Football Playoff within reach. No matter what happens, a trip to Madison is a tough spot for Nebraska as of now.

Week 13 – Nov. 26 (Friday) vs. Iowa (Lincoln, Neb.)

The regular season will conclude on the Friday after Thanksgiving, one of the best traditions Nebraska brought to the Big Ten. But Nebraska has had fits with Iowa both home and away. Can the Huskers snap their six-game losing streak against their rival?

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Patreon, on Twitter @KevinOnCFB, on Instagram, and Like him on Facebook.