Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
Nebraska has one of the most difficult schedules in college football for the 2018 season.

Nebraska football mailbag: How did Huskers get such a difficult 2018 schedule?

Have Nebraska football questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Nebraska mailbag to talk all things Huskers. This week, we discuss Nebraska’s 2018 football schedule, Keyan Williams’ impact on the wide receivers, and more.

To start, I think it’s important to understand how college football schedules are made. Bleacher Report did a nice breakdown in 2012. Have some things changed with the number of conference games per season? Of course, but the overall breakdown remains mostly the same. It’s been awhile since I’ve read that breakdown and I’ll say that it’s just as complicated as I remember.

Programs don’t have much say in conference scheduling. They can lodge complaints, but I don’t know how much that affects the end result. The trick is that the schedules are completed so far in advance that it’s hard to predict how difficult that schedule will be years down the road. For example, Nebraska has nonconference opponents scheduled for the 2031 season. As for the conference opponents, they’re scheduled through 2021.

Think about it this way: When the 2021 schedule was put together, the Huskers had a different coach. Things change quickly in this world.

And then there’s the whole TV thing when it comes to nonconference opponents. That’s a more crazy wrench to throw in the machine.

I don’t think Nebraska necessarily signed up for one of the more difficult schedules for 2018. It sort of just happened. It also happened to fall during Scott Frost’s first season as coach. There was no way to predict the latter, so that goes to show it’s all sort of an unknown when put together.

The good news? Nebraska’s 2019 schedule looks much more manageable. No matter what happens in 2018, things should trend in a better direction.

The depth at receiver is pretty good. I broke down all the offensive scholarships on Monday, and there are 11 players on scholarship at the position right now. That doesn’t even include the walk-ons.

Nebraska currently has five committed players for the 2019 recruiting class, and none are listed as wide receivers. And don’t let the athlete before Garrett Snodgrass’ name fool you. The Huskers would like him as a tight end or H-back. So I’d expect Frost and his staff to sign a few wide receivers in the 2019 class.

I think the wide receivers group is in a good position numbers-wise. It’ll be important to retain that depth.

With the departure of wide receiver Keyan Williams, there are 86 scholarships on Nebraska’s roster. They’ll have to get to 85, and there are rumors they might already be there depending on a certain offensive lineman’s status. I’d expect a little more attrition by fall, but not much. There’s one specific player I have in mind, but I’m not ready to share my thoughts on that. I’ve long said I’m not willing to put a player on blast when I could either be wrong or it’s not my news to break.

With that said, I’m not sure the 2019 quarterback will be committed by the first Friday Night Lights camp. That’s June 15, which is just less than a month away. Could it happen? Of course, but that seems quick to me. A lot could start to happen on the recruiting trail in the next month, so maybe I’ll be wrong.

For anyone who may have missed the big news, the Supreme Court has cleared the way for states to legalize sports betting. Now, that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly legal in every state. How the states handle this will be interesting to watch in the coming years.

Nebraska isn’t exactly interested in legalizing sports betting. Iowa is. So if I’m placing any bet, it looks like it would have to be over the river in Council Bluffs.

However, I’m a terrible gambler. I hate it. I’m barely able to play slot machines when I’m in Las Vegas without breaking out in hives over losing money, even if it’s just a few dollars. My mom once gave me a $20 bill to play at a  casino and I ended up just pocketing it. I’d already made $20 I didn’t have. Why potentially lose it?

I guess I’ll just cheer you on as you all bet on sports.

What a good question. I’d hope Nebraska is back on the list of champions at that point, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Alabama is still winning. Nick Saban would be 96 years old at that point and I’m not convinced he wouldn’t still be coaching. That man may live forever.

A lot has changed in the college football landscape over the last 30 years, but a lot of the powerhouses are the same. I think you could expect to still see teams such as Oklahoma, Florida State and USC at the top. And like I said, hopefully Nebraska is back up there.

What I’ll be even more curious about is how the conferences look 30 years from now, as well as the college football playoffs. It’ll be interesting.

Have a question about Nebraska football? Tweet us @Landof10Huskers, and we’ll try to answer your question in a future mailbag. Check to see if your question already was answered by reading previous Nebraska football mailbags here.