Many thought that Nebraska’s years-long tradition of playing the day after Thanksgiving would fall by the wayside once the school moved to the Big Ten this year.
For at least a couple of years, however, that tradition will continue.
According to a press release issued by the schools, the Iowa-Nebraska games the next two seasons will be played on the Friday immediately following Turkey Day. The 2011 game in Lincoln will be played on Nov. 25, while the 2012 game in Iowa City will be played Nov. 23.
“Iowa playing Nebraska on any given weekend is a great match-up between two historic football programs,” said Iowa athletic director Gary Barta. “Having the game on Thanksgiving Friday will add to the excitement and the potential for a strong national television audience.”
“I think our fans have enjoyed the tradition of playing on the day after Thanksgiving, and we are pleased the Big Ten Conference has allowed us to continue to do so,” Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said. “The University of Iowa is a natural opponent to play on that day, and we look forward to great matchups between the two schools for years to come.”
The release went on to state that the change in dates was recently approved by the Big Ten Conference Administrator’s Council. No times for the games have been determined.
Regardless of exactly what time of day they go down, both coaches involved applauded the move.
“Our staff and players are excited to begin competing with Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving this season and in 2012,” said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. “College football played on this day has a well-established rivalry history, and we feel it will be a great opportunity for our program to join in a new chapter of Big Ten history. These Friday games should help create great atmosphere, both in Lincoln this fall and in Kinnick Stadium in 2012.”
“Obviously, I have the philosophy that you show up and play when and where the schedule dictates,” added Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini. “That being said, playing the day after Thanksgiving has been good for our program in terms of national exposure, and we look forward to that continuing as we move into the Big Ten Conference. We have a lot of respect for Iowa’s football program and these games should be a good showcase for the league.”
The move to the Friday after Thanksgiving continues a recent tradition for the Cornhuskers dating back 20-some years. From 1990 through 1995, the school squared off with Oklahoma, then from 1996 through last year they faced Colorado.
And, in case you were wondering, Nebraska holds a 26-12-3 all-time advantage in the series. The two schools last met on the gridiron in 2000, and the geographic next-door neighbors have played just six times since 1946.
Nebraska has won the last three meetings, with Iowa’s last win coming in 1981.