Nebraska baseball finally has its schedule.
The Nebraska baseball team will play a 44-game, conference-only schedule over 13 weeks, with five four-game weekends and eight three-game weekends, the conference announced Wednesday. Each Big Ten team is slated to play every other Big Ten team at least three times.
The Huskers are scheduled to open with two weekend series at neutral sites, the first four games against Purdue at Dell Diamond Stadium in Round Rock, Texas, beginning March 5, the second, two games each against Iowa and Ohio State at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, March 12-14.
Nebraska isn’t scheduled to play at home until the weekend of March 26-28, when Minnesota comes to Hawks Field at Haymarket Park for a four-game series.
The Huskers’ other home-series opponents include Maryland, Rutgers, Northwestern and Michigan.
There will be no 2021 Big Ten Tournament—previously scheduled for Omaha in May.
The implications of a conference-only schedule are significant.
“Where it impacts you is, you don’t have an RPI,” Coach Will Bolt said at the start of practice in mid-January. “You’re only playing conference opponents, so you don’t gather that information of where your conference stacks up against the others because you’re just not playing out-of-conference opponents.
“So the RPI is pretty much non-existent. Honestly, that’s the biggest issue, just the lack of RPI.”
As a result, “you’re going to by the eyeball test,” said Bolt. “You’re going to have to hope there’s some separation in there at the top of the league, with your top three or four teams, that they’re going to have a legitimate shot to go to the postseason.”
Only one Big Ten team made the NCBWA preseason rankings, Michigan. The Wolverines were No. 34, out of 35, with Indiana and Minnesota also receiving votes.
Since joining the Big Ten, Nebraska has gone to NCAA regionals four times: in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2019, going a combined 2-8.
“We’ve averaged four teams here (the NCAA tournament) in the last several years,” Bolt said, “so I’m hoping when it’s all said and done, the Big Ten at least has a shot to get that many in.”
That might be difficult without non-conference games for an RPI.
2021 Nebraska Baseball Schedule
March 5-7 (Round Rock, Texas (Dell Diamond))*
Purdue (4 Games)
March 12-14 (Minneapolis, Minn. (US Bank Stadium))
Iowa (2 Games) & Ohio State (2 Games)
March 19-21 (Iowa City, Iowa)
at Iowa (3 Games)
March 26-28 (Hawks Field)*
Minnesota (4 Games)
April 2-4 (Champaign, Ill.)
at Illinois (3 Games)
April 9-11 (Hawks Field)
Maryland (3 Games)
April 16-18 (University Park, Pa.)
at Penn State (3 Games)
April 23-25 (East Lansing, Mich.)
at Michigan State (3 Games)
April 30-May 2 (Hawks Field)
Rutgers (3 Games)
May 7-9 (Piscataway, N.J.)*
at Rutgers (2 Games) & vs. Indiana (2 Games)
May 14-16 (Hawks Field)
Northwestern (3 Games)
May 21-23 (Bloomington, Ind.)*
at Indiana (2 Games) & vs. Ohio State (2 Games)
May 28-30 (Hawks Field)
Michigan (3 Games)
Home series in bold
* – Currently TBA on weekend schedules for four-game series weekend.
Mike is in his 40th year covering Husker athletics, after seven years of community-college teaching. He has written and edited a dozen books, all on Nebraska football except one, a brief history of Husker basketball. He previously wrote for the Lincoln Journal and Star and Huskers Illustrated. He enjoys music, from the Grateful Dead and Jack Johnson to Van Morrison, Bob Wills, Glenn Miller and pretty much anyone else.