After being late to the party in many respects in 2020, the Big Ten is taking a much more proactive approach to the 2021 college football season. How about a revised schedule in February?
The league put one out Friday morning that should probably at least be earmarked as subject to change as we move through the new year, but Nebraska saw a couple of alterations to its original slate of games.
The biggest center around an annual Black Friday meeting.
Nebraska will get Iowa on Black Friday—Nov. 26—once again.
Former Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst triggered a break in the annual series with the Hawkeyes in his last year in charge, setting the table for Black Friday games against Minnesota in 2020 and 2021.
Since the arrival of Bill Moos in late 2017 to serve as the Athletic Director, he’s repeatedly stated his desire to restore the Nebraska-Iowa game to its annual slot on the day after Thanksgiving.
“I’m going to really push, to establish Iowa as being our rival,” Moos said on the radio shortly after his arrival in Lincoln. “We came into the Big Ten and we need a rivalry game, and I’ve already been to the Big Ten and talked to them about that so hopefully we can keep that Black Friday game and have that be Iowa each year.”
Moos fought for it during schedule talks last season and won out, and it looks like he’s done so again.
Nebraska will face Iowa at home on Nov. 26. Nebraska lost by just six to the Hawkeyes a season ago and on a walk-off field goal in 2019. Minnesota will play Wisconsin on Nov. 27 instead.
No opponents changed on the schedule, but Nebraska did see its conference games shuffled around.
Instead of playing Ohio State on Oct. 2, Nebraska will meet the Buckeyes on Nov. 6. the game against Michigan was moved up from Oct. 30 to Oct. 9.
Nebraska will host Purdue on Oct. 30 instead of Oct. 16. The site designation for that game was flipped after back-to-back games played in West Lafayette. The same happened with NU’s game against Wisconsin. It will travel to Madison to play the Badgers on Nov. 20 (the original date) after back-to-back games hosting. Those two back-to-backs were brought about in the scheduling changes made to the 2020 calendar as well.
The Huskers’ game against Minnesota will fill the previous Purdue slot. Nebraska will visit the Gophers on Oct. 16.
Perhaps the most interesting piece of information is that, for now, the Aer Lingus Classic between Nebraska and Illinois is still slated to be played Aug. 28 in Dublin, Ireland. Originally announced in October of 2019, ticket packages have proven slightly more difficult to move than expected amid a still-problematic coronavirus pandemic. As of Friday morning, tickets are still available for purchase.
“I’ve never been to Ireland,” Nebraska coach Scott Frost said Thursday. “Been to a lot of other countries in Europe. Was looking forward to it. Hope our program gets to do it at some point either this year or down the road if it doesn’t happen this year. And I think the rest of the schedule has a chance to be altered or changed based off that. So a lot of things are still up in the air right now.”
There’s still a possibility the game could be moved at a later time. If it does, the site will shift to Champaign, Illinois, and serve as a home game for the Illini. The game will stay on Aug. 28—Week 0—though, even if moved, as the two schools have different bye weeks.
Nebraska’s full schedule for the 2021 season:
8/28 – Illinois (in Dublin)
9/4 – BYE
9/11 – Buffalo
9/18 – at Oklahoma
9/25 – at Michigan State
10/2 – Northwestern
10/9 – Michigan
10/16 – at Minnesota
10/23 – BYE
10/30 – Purdue
11/ 6 – Ohio State
11/13 – SE Louisiana
11/20 – at Wisconsin
11/26 – Iowa