This makes all the sense in the world.
Here’s why: Iowa and Nebraska played a fairly lackluster game last November. Iowa’s offense thudded to its worst season under Kirk Ferentz since 2000. Yes, Nebraska needed a victory to clinch a spot in the Big Ten title game, so there was that. But with Iowa at 4-7 and out of bowl contention, Nebraska just had to gut it out.
The Huskers did, 13-7, in a windy, ugly game that pretty much everyone in the country saw. That’s why Iowa can’t back away from this. Everyone sees this game.
For the last two years, Iowa and Nebraska have held the Black Friday game (the day after Thanksgiving) at 11 a.m. on ABC.
This is big for both programs. I have a friend who lives in SEC territory. He’s a Hawkeye fan. That weekend, he had a school function with a bunch of SEC fans/parents who had seen the game. Nebraska didn’t impress. Iowa’s offense, whoa daddy. The fact is the game rippled on the SEC pond, for better or worse.
Both programs benefit from this type of exposure. Iowa has lost its first two games against Nebraska, but don’t look for it to back out of the Friday thing. No, Black Friday is not yet the tradition for Iowa that it is for Nebraska, which has been playing this since the early ’90s (maybe ’92?), but that’s not saying it can’t be. Give it time.
The ball is in Iowa’s court to make Black Friday competitive. It’s going to take a win at Lincoln to start spinning that axis. The next chance is Nov. 29.
The nation, at least the part that isn’t trampling each other for XBoxes, will be watching.
From Iowa sports info:
HAWKEYES, HUSKERS REQUEST FRIDAY FOOTBALL
IOWA CITY, IOWA — Gary Barta and Shawn Eichorst, directors of athletics at the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska, respectively, will ask the Administrators Council of the Big Ten Conference to allow the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers to continue playing the annual Hy-Vee Heroes Game on the Friday following Thanksgiving.
Barta and Eichorst will make the formal request when the Joint Council meets Feb. 25-26.
“Playing on Friday is something we are planning to continue,” said Barta. “There’s a process we have to finalize within the Big Ten and we’ll go through that process, but both schools are interested in that continuing.”
Iowa is scheduled to play in Lincoln, Nov. 30, 2013, while Nebraska is slated to return to Iowa City on Nov. 29, 2014. Those dates would change to Nov. 29, 2013 and Nov. 28, 2014, following approval. Barta also said he expects Iowa and Nebraska to continue meeting on the final weekend of the regular season, pending Big Ten schedule changes for 2014 and beyond due to Big Ten expansion.
The Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes met in the Heroes Game on Black Friday in each of the past two seasons, with Nebraska winning 20-7 in 2011 in Lincoln and 13-7 last November in Iowa City. Both games were televised by ABC. The Heroes Game has raised $20,000 for the American Red Cross over the last two years.
Nebraska holds a 28-12-3 advantage in the series, winning the last five meetings. The teams have met just eight times since 1946.
Iowa and Nebraska met eight consecutive years (1891-98) on Thanksgiving Day, with those eight games played in either Omaha or Council Bluffs.
Iowa and Nebraska are members of the Legends Division of the Big Ten Conference, along with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern.