Let's compare the original Big XII schedule and the revised Big Ten schedules for 2011.
|Big XII 2011 Schedule||Big Ten 2011 Schedule||Advantage|
|Kansas State||at Wisconsin||Big Ten|
|at Texas||Ohio State||Push|
|Oklahoma State||at Minnesota||Big XII|
|at Missouri||Michigan State||Big XII|
|Iowa State||Northwestern||Big Ten|
|at Kansas||at Penn State||Big Ten|
|Texas A&M||at Michigan||Push for now|
|at Colorado||Iowa||Big Ten|
Another way of looking at it is that Nebraska's Big Ten schedule has four teams in the AP Top 20 this season, compared to only one Top 20 team on the old Big XII schedule. With that in mind, plus non-conference games against Washington, Fresno State, and Wyoming, nobody will criticize if the Huskers schedule a 1-AA team to come to Lincoln for Labor Day weekend.
One thing is clear to me is that the Big Ten wanted to match Nebraska up against the big names of the Big Ten for television early on, if only to improve their bargaining position as they renegotiate the contract with ABC/ESPN. You have to figure that at least half of Nebraska's games are likely to be televised on ABC next season (Washington, at Wisconsin, Ohio State [ABC PrimeTime], at Penn State, at Michigan, Iowa).
You might think that Nebraska's schedule would ease up in 2013 when Ohio State and Wisconsin drop off, replaced by Purdue, Illinois, or Indiana...except that further Big Ten expansion is likely. (Maybe Missouri gets invited when the Big XII inevitably collapses.) So it could be a while before we see the Hoosiers in Lincoln for a football game, and that's why this schedule was set. Get these new marquee matchups on TV now, rather than take a chance that these matchups might be further delayed down the line.