The Nebraska Cornhuskers went into their week zero matchup with the Illinois Fighting Illini as 6.5 point betting favorites per Tipico. The Cornhuskers had won four in a row before taking a blowout loss to the Illini in their 2020 matchup.
Led by turnovers and miscues, the Cornhuskers couldn’t get out of their own way as they fell behind early. In what turned out to be a closer score than the contest indicated, this was yet another disappointing loss for the once-storied franchise.
Coming to Norman to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Game of the Century,” anticipation had been building for a matchup that hadn’t been played in more than a decade.
The Sooners and Cornhuskers have played 86 times in their history that spans time as conference-mates in the Big 8 and the Big 12. The biggest disappointment in the last round of realignment was the loss of the game between Nebraska and Oklahoma.
Unfortunately, the two teams are in vastly different places. Oklahoma has been one of the best programs in the country over the last 20 years. After a solid run through the early part of this century, they’ve struggled to find consistency the last decade.
The start of a new season brings hope that things can change, but for the Cornhuskers, it’s the same story, different season. They aren’t very good.
Though the two teams don’t meet for another three weeks, leaving time for the Cornhuskers to find some relevance before making their trip to Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
With a non-conference schedule that is considered one of the weakest in the Big 12, the Sooners needed a relevant Nebraska team to bolster their strength of schedule. The Sooners have a great shot at going undefeated, but if they have a slip-up during the regular season as they’ve had in each of the last 16 seasons, having a strong non-conference schedule could help bolster their chances at getting into the College Football Playoff.
Winning the Big 12 should give them enough ammunition to get into the playoff. However, if Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, and a Pac-12 team like USC or Oregon all have strong seasons, a weak non-conference schedule could work against them with the committee, even if they go 3-0.
Fans will be hyped for the Sooners matchup with the Cornhuskers. When Nebraska comes to Norman, there will be a lot of energy and excitement to renew the storied rivalry. However, after an upset loss to one of the lower-tier teams in the Big 10, the matchup has lost some of its intrigue.