College football is just around the corner, and for many Americans, this is basically like a holiday. American football is like an addiction for a lot of us, we just can't get enough of it, especially since we have had nothing but baseball for months. One of the very first matchups we will get this season is between the Northwestern Wildcats and Nebraska Cornhuskers. This Big 10 game will be the first of many great battles this season, and with the realignment of conferences in college football, there will be many twists and turns in the near future. For now, let's take a look at this rivalry game and preview the two teams.
Nebraska is a monster -12.5 favorite in this game, which is giving them quite a lot of respect. Scott Frost is still the head coach of the team despite going 15-29 in four years with four straight division finishes of fifth or worse. I think almost any other coach would have been fired by now with that type of record, but not Frost. In fact, two years before Frost was hired, Nebraska went 9-4 and had a stretch of nine straight bowl appearances. However, this season may finally be the one where Cornhusker fans can say that their patience has paid off.
Frost has added many talented players via the transfer portal, and he's switched up his coaching staff. All of his moves so far this off-season scream that the time is now for them to get back into prominence. He's got his most talented team ever this year, and the most experienced. His team always has battled for him, and it's hard to imagine a team that has lost as many one score games over the last several years as Frost's has. He could’ve lost this job several times over the last four years, and didn’t. He could have lost the locker room several times over the last four years, and didn't. This should be the season where things start to change for the better.
Northwestern is one of the most unpredictable teams in college football. They were terrible in 2019, going 3-9, and then went 7-2 the next year with a trip to the Big Ten Championship against Ohio State. Last year’s team was supposed to be better, but the 2021 squad was horrendous. Bad defense, disgusting offense, and another 3-9 season with a team that didn’t score more than 14 points in seven of the last eight games.
Pat Fitzgerald is a great coach, and he should be able to turn things around this season. He had two straight 5-7 seasons in 2013 and 2014, and that’s been the only time in 16 years the program had two straight losing seasons. That's incredible progress for a school that was known for being a loser. Northwestern has to make teams play to their style, and that will only happen if the defense is great once again. They have the experience to be better this season, but the question will always be if they will.
While Northwestern is always a puzzle to figure out, Nebraska should be the much better team. I can definitely see them putting their foot down and starting off their 2022 campaign with a massive win and giving their fans some optimism. I like Nebraska to get the win here, and I think they could cover the double-digit spread.