Husker fans lamenting Nebraska's defensive struggles against Wyoming while attending Labor Day barbecues might take a little bit of solace in this observation: several future NU opponents struggled in week 1 too. Week 1 also included some painful lessons for some of Nebraska's neighbors, too. But, lets start with the Huskers' future opponents.
Southern Miss - USM outgained Texas State 400 to 215 but managed to lose their opener at home due primarily to six lost turnovers. The Golden Eagles went 0-12 a year ago, and stumbling out of the gate this season is not a great sign for USM.
UCLA - Clearly the best of the Huskers' first seven opponents, the Bruins routed Nevada 58-20. UCLA turned a 17-13 game at halftime in to a laugher with 41 second-half points. Quarterback Brett Hundley scored four touchdowns, two rushing on QB draw plays. [shiver...]
South Dakota State - Lots of respect for the Jackrabbits and what their players and coaches do. But, I'm not scouting a FCS opponent. Should I?
Illinois - The Fighting Illini won over Southern Illinois, 42-34. The Salukis are an FCS school, and not a good one at that. Illinois had the game in hand midway through the second half, but Southern refused to go away (sound familiar?) and made it closer than it should have been.
Purdue - The Boilermakers got crushed by Cincinnati 42-7. Worse than the score was Purdue's own offensive ineptitude. The Boilers couldn't get out of their own way. They might be the Big Ten's worst team after one week.
Minnesota - The Gophers beat UNLV, 51-23 in a game that was not as lopsided as the score might imply. Minnesota got two special teams' scores (a kick return and a blocked kick) to pull away from UNLV, who outgained the Gophers.
Northwestern - In probably the league's best win, Northwestern went West and beat Cal - 44 to 30. Northwestern rallied behind two tipped-ball interception returns for touchdowns. It's worth noting that quarterback Cain Colter - arguably the 'Cats best offensive player - left the game with a concussion.
Michigan - The Wolverines looked up to snuff, routing Central Michigan 59-9.
Michigan State - The Spartans' defense is as good as expected. Bad news, so is its offense. They slogged their way to a 26-13 win over MAC foe Western Michigan. Can Michigan State and Nebraska coaches exchange notes or something?
Penn State - Penn State started a true freshman quarterback against Syracuse, and won 23-17. There are more growing pains to come, certainly. But, two long TD throws showed why he won the job.
Iowa - The Hawkeyes managed to grab a loss from the jaws of victory, as Northern Illinois booted a last-second field goal to beat Iowa at home, 30-27. For an Iowa team that may be battling for bowl eligibility this year, this is the kind of loss that fans may look back on and feel even more sick in December than they did on Sunday.
THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD
If Husker fans think the Big Ten looked a little weak this week, they just to look to a couple of neighbors for what "bad" really looks like. Former Big 12 North foes Kansas State and Iowa State both lost to FCS schools. Former Husker assistant Craig Bohl took North Dakota State in to Manhattan and beat the Wildcats, 24-21. Meanwhile, Iowa State fans can quit worrying about whether beating Iowa would make them the state's best squad. The Cyclones lost to Northern Iowa 28-20. Ouch.