The Nebraska Cornhuskers have announced five football games against South Dakota State and North Dakota spread over the next 10 years. It is amusing to see that some Corndog fans think that a Big 10 team against an FCS team from the Missouri Valley is a tuneup game. In 2015 the Big 10 banned FCS games, which (besides the Michigan loss to Appalachian) I thought in large part was due to Minnesota getting in unexpected death struggles against Dakota teams in supposed walkover games. The Gophers lost to NDSU and a mediocre (at the time) South Dakota team, and won narrowly against SDSU. Earlier this year the Big 10 lifted that ban.
Sagarin rates all FBS and FCS teams together. The latest ratings have Nebraska at #74 behind three FCS teams: NDSU #36, James Madison #55, and SDSU #56. All three FCS powers are ranked ahead of the following Power 5 teams: Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, SMU, Syracuse, Nebraska, Arkansas, Maryland, Tennessee, Rutgers, Baylor, Illinois and Kansas. In addition, NDSU is ranked higher than Utah, Duke, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, West Virginia, Texas A&M, Missouri, Texas Tech, Pittsburg, Arizona, UCLA, Indiana and California.
If FCS teams were placed in the 40 FBS bowls by Sagarin rating, the three FCS teams previously named along with MVFC members Northern Iowa and Western Illinois would be playing. Sagarin also rates conferences (by division where applicable), placing the MVFC first among FCS and 15th out of 33 overall, ahead of FBS non-powers WAC West, MAC East, both divisions of Conference USA, and Sun Belt.
North Dakota had an unexpected bad season in the Big Sky this year after making the FCS playoffs last year. They are joining the MVFC in two years and does anyone expect they won't do everything they can to quickly get back to the level of their natural rivals NDSU, SDSU and USD?
The Gophers finally figured out that there are low-level FBS teams that are easier to beat than the four FCS teams located just across their western border that are loaded with native Minnesotans who want to prove that they were unjustly snubbed in recruiting. Minnesota wisely scheduled FBS also-rans Buffalo (MAC) and Middle Tennessee (Conference USA) this year.
Good luck with your tuneups, Nebraska. At least you weren't dumb enough to schedule NDSU, which was physically dominant in a 23-21 victory at 13th-ranked Iowa in its most recent Big 10 game, outrushing the Hawkeyes 239-34. After six straight FBS wins, it's getting hard for NDSU to find willing victims so the next one isn't until 2020 at Oregon.