The Big Ten has unveiled the 2016 and 2017 conference football schedules. The biggest disappointment is that after this season, Michigan isn't scheduled to play the Huskers again until at least 2018. The non-conference schedules are still in flux due to the new nine game conference schedule. But here is how they stand in July 2013:
2016 Nebraska Football Schedule
Saturday, September 3 Fresno State
Saturday, September 10 Tennessee
Saturday, September 17 Wyoming
Saturday, September 24 at Northern Illinois (Soldier Field, Chicago)
Saturday, October 1 Illinois
Saturday, October 8 at Northwestern
Saturday, October 15 at Indiana
Saturday, October 22 Purdue
Saturday, October 29 at Wisconsin
Saturday, November 5 at Ohio State
Saturday, November 12 Minnesota
Saturday, November 19 Maryland
Friday, November 25 at Iowa
Saturday, December 3 Big Ten Championship Game
First thing to notice is that this is a 13 game regular season schedule, which isn't permissible under NCAA rules. So one of those non-conference games is going to be replaced by a BYE week...the most likely being the Northern Illinois game in Chicago. If Nebraska cancels this series, that removes a game from the 2017 schedule as well. My bet is that it gets moved, and likely to 2022. I don't see Nebraska wanting to give up one of the home games due to the revenue that is generated.
2017 Nebraska Football Schedule
Saturday, September 2 Northern Ilinois
Saturday, September 9 at Tennessee
Saturday, September 16 TBA
Saturday, September 23 Rutgers
Saturday, September 30 at Illinois
Saturday, October 7 Wisconsin
Saturday, October 14 Ohio State
Saturday, October 21 BYE
Saturday, October 28 at Purdue
Saturday, November 4 Northwestern
Saturday, November 11 at Minnesota
Saturday, November 18 at Penn State
Friday, November 24 Iowa
Saturday, December 2 Big Ten Championship Game
Well, there you have it... the 2017 schedule is NOT the reverse of the 2016 schedule. Out go Indiana and Maryland, in come Penn State and Rutgers. That makes sense that you'd want to see each B1G East team play the Huskers at least once every four years. Indiana makes their token appearance in 2016, and likely won't appear again until 2019 or 2020.
And if that's the case, you can pretty much bet that Michigan will appear on the Nebraska schedule in 2018. They could appear in the Big Ten Championship game, of course...but Jim Delaney can't have two of his biggest names not meeting for more than four years. I suspect that Michigan and Ohio State will alternate appearances on the Nebraska schedule moving forward.
Looking ahead towards other teams' 2016 schedules, Wisconsin gets the "Nebraska 2011" treatment that season. They open with back-to-back road trips to Michigan and Michigan State, then get Ohio State at home, play at Iowa, then host Nebraska. Wisconsin gets four of the B1Ggest names in an October to remember. Does that give Nebraska an edge in the Big Ten West division for Tommy Armstrong's senior season?
That's probably looking a little too far in advance, frankly. A lot of things can change between now and then. Heck, who knows if the Big Ten will still be at 14 teams in 2016?