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Tweaking the 2020 Nebraska Football Schedule: A Roundtable

I guess I stretched “driving distance” a little bit

Iowa v Nebraska Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

It is time to get creative.

There have been discussions about how scheduling may have to change for a year or two in order for a season to happen.

To be truthful, I hope they scrap the entire schedule for 2020. For Nebraska it is brutal. The Huskers end the season playing at Ohio State, Penn State, at Iowa, at Wisconsin and then finishes with Minnesota.

One main concern is asking players, coaches, additional personnel to get on a plane to go to a game. Breathing the same recirculated air is obviously not ideal to put it lightly.

Like I said, it’s time to get creative.

So we have decided to take this opportunity to set up a schedule for the 2020 Nebraska football team.

There are only four rules. The schedule must have the following:

  1. Three non-power 5 teams.
  2. A minimum four Big Ten West teams.
  3. Fill in the remaining schedule with any schools you would like.
  4. Must be within driving distance of Lincoln, NE. What is driving distance is obviously subjective. Or think, what is “busing” difference since the teams would be taking several buses.

How many old Big 12 teams do you want to play? What about Arkansas? Notre Dame? Bring in Ohio? Utah?

Nate M:

Week 1 - at Creighton (easy win) or North Dakota State in Lincoln (481 miles)
Week 2 - South Dakota State (297 miles)
Week 3 - at Wyoming (489 miles)
Week 4 - at Kansas State (138 miles)
Week 5 - Minnesota (439 miles)
Week 6 - Northwestern (537 miles)
Week 7 - at Utah (874 miles, 12 hours 51 minutes)*
Week 8 - at Wisconsin (486 miles)
Week 9 - North Carolina (1,245 miles, 19 hours)
Week 10 - Florida State (1,180 miles, 18 hours 45 minutes)*
Week 11 - Mississippi State (822 miles, 13 hours)*
Week 12 - at Iowa (301 miles)

It was extremely difficult not to go all out on some of the closer Big 12 schools. Why wouldn’t want to have a schedule that was B1G West and old Big 12 north? I’d love that schedule. In order to justify some of the schools making the distance to Lincoln, I wanted Nebraska to make the long drive to Utah. Now we have Mack Brown getting on a bus and driving here for one last game, a down Florida State program ready for a match-up and then Mike Leach and Mississippi State.

I want the Black Friday game back against Iowa as well.

*Now since it feels kind of cruel to have kids in buses for that long and then asking them to perform at a high level I am willing to replace my week 7, 10 and 11 picks for games at Iowa State, Missouri and Oklahoma State.

I do not think we want to be playing Oklahoma in 2020. We play them in 2021.

Yes, I still want Mack Brown getting on a bus for 19 hours. Sorry UNC kids.


I feel that all of the schools that I picked are within driving distance. CSU has a new stadium that I want to see and New Belgium Brewery has a bar in one of the end zones. Also, I want a Nebraska Panhandle Border War with Wyoming. Winner gets the Panhandle for a year. This should appease the secessionist out west, if only for a short time.

Week 1 - Kansas State
Week 2 - @Kansas
Week 3 - @Iowa
Week 4 - Iowa State
Week 5 - Minnesota
Week 6 - @ Colorado State
Week 7 - Northwestern
Week 8 - @ Missouri
Week 9 - South Dakota State
Week 10 - Colorado
Week 11 - Wisconsin
Week 12 - @ Wyoming


You have to consider that Division II schools bus all over the nation. Think of Chadron driving to Texas. Would that be ideal? No. But...

550 miles to Indiana
446 miles to Illinois
720 miles to Ohio State
546 miles to Notre Dame
678 miles to Michigan
642 miles to Michigan State
454 miles to Colorado - Boulder
439 miles to Colorado State

I’d prefer to stick with a Big Ten heavy schedule. There’s that BTN STRAIGHT CASH and I like the idea of keeping the conference play as intact as possible. Here’s my schedule for this season, woooooooo:

Week 1 -Iowa State
Week 2 - @Kansas
Week 3 -Kansas State
Week 4 - @Missouri
Week 5 - @Illinois
Week 6 - Northwestern
Week 7 - Indiana
Week 8 - @Wisconsin
Week 9 - @Michigan State
Week 10 - Minnesota
Week 11 - Colorado
Week 12 - @Iowa


The three closest Big Ten West schools would be Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. After that, Illinois and Northwestern would be very similar drives. So, like everyone else, I picked those five teams for the conference schedule. I tend to think that a hour and half flight to the Chicago area beats an eight hour bus ride, especially if the team can either buy out a commercial flight or charter a flight (avoiding contact with ‘normal’ people) and unload on the tarmac and go right into the buses (avoiding the terminal), but I don’t know if the costs or logistics are feasible (just a discussion point).

After that, K-State makes too much sense to ignore, along with Missouri and/or Kansas. And, you all knew I was going to pick South Dakota State, just because. I also went with Colorado because we’re due to beat those jerks (right?) I rounded out the schedule with Wyoming and then a neutral site game just to be different. In reality, it would probably be better to schedule a Purdue or Indiana instead of the neutral site game, but it’s my schedule and this is what you’re getting. I also thought about Air Force instead of South Dakota State or Wyoming. After graduating our starting defensive line and feeling uncomfortable with the run defense, I decided that they scared me (yes, Nebraska football has come to that).

Week 1 @Kansas
Week 2 South Dakota State
Week 3 Northwestern
Week 4 neutral site (St. Louis) vs Kentucky or Louisville
Week 5 Kansas State
Week 6 @Wisconsin
Week 7 Wyoming
Week 8 @Missouri
Week 9 @Iowa
Week 10 Colorado
Week 11 @Illinois
Week 12 Minnesota


I was mainly looking at distance when I did this. Well, for the most part. I thought keeping South Dakota State was a good idea, but then we might as well play another South Dakota school as well. Then lets keep it near our borders with Wyoming, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State and Colorado. I also thought we could put Colorado back at that last game, just for old times sake.

Week 1 -USD- University of South Dakota
Week 2 -Wyoming
Week 3 - South Dakota State
Week 4 -Kansas
Week 5 - at Northwestern
Week 6 - Illinois
Week 7 -Iowa State
Week 8 - at Wisconsin
Week 9 -Purdue
Week 10 -at Iowa
Week 11 -Kansas State
Week 12 - at Colorado


I’m keeping the “Quadrangle of Hate” with Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin as my first cut of Big Ten West opponents, and will flip a coin between keeping Northwestern or Illinois as the fourth team. I’m going to build out the schedule with former Big Eight opponents, all of whom are driving distance. But then you hit the “three non-Power 5 opponents” and get stuck. Wyoming and Colorado State are really long drives, so I’m going the 1-AA route and getting a couple of teams that have proven they can punch their way at the Power 5 level. (And one body-bag game.)

Week 1 - Missouri State (Springfield, 361 miles)
Week 2 - @ Iowa State (Ames, 224 miles)
Week 3 - North Dakota State (Fargo, 477 miles)
Week 4 - Minnesota (Minneapolis, 426 miles)
Week 5 - Kansas State (Manhattan, 140 miles)
Week 6 - @ Wisconsin (Madison, 480 miles)
Week 7 - Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls, 295 miles)
Week 8 - Missouri (Columbia, 320 miles)
Week 9 - @ Iowa (Iowa City, 303 miles)
Week 10 - @ Kansas (Lawrence, 194 miles)
Week 11 - Northwestern (at Wrigley Field, 528 miles)
Week 12 - Oklahoma (Norman, 454 miles)

Longest trip is the roadie to Chicago to play NW at Wrigley. Nice easy drives to Iowa State (in September to minimize the chance of snow and gales blowing out of the north) and Kansas. Yes, there are three 1-AA teams on there, but nobody is going to complain about Northern Iowa and North Dakota State when you’ve also added Oklahoma and Mizzou to the schedule. And playing the Sooners to close the season??? Oh, yes.


I am going to try to keep mine somewhat plausible rather than a “dream schedule.” Besides, my personal perspective obviously doesn’t give two shits about playing old Big 8/XII opponents for clear reasons. The most realistic scenario I see at this point in time right now is probably going to include not having Maryland or Rutgers able to participate due to the dense east coast population prohibiting on-campus classes. As a result, the 9 game conference schedule all goes to hell to some degree given all the east schools now need two extra west opponents, and the west schools like Nebraska who have one of these on the schedule needs to find a new east opponent. So I am going to go from there. The bus idea, though, I think we can realistically utilize airplanes safely for charters and will do so despite the cost. Instead the non-con will be redone in mine for local schools.

Week 1 - Purdue (Lincoln, 610 miles)
Week 2 - University of South Dakota (Lincoln, 189 miles)
Week 3 - South Dakota State Jackrabbits (Lincoln, 289 miles)
Week 4 - University of Northern Iowa (Lincoln, 313 miles)
Week 5 - @Northwestern (531 miles)
Week 6 - Illinois (Lincoln, 519 miles)
Week 7 - Indiana (Hoosiers scheduled for at Rutgers this day, Nebraska was a bye, play in Lincoln, 660 miles)
Week 8 - Bye week
Week 9 - @ Ohio State (823 miles)
Week 10 - Penn State (Lincoln, 1,078 miles)
Week 11 - @ Wisconsin (481 miles)
Week 12 - Minnesota (Lincoln, 437 miles)

I kept it to FCS level schools in the non-conference to both help them weather the financial crisis hitting football, and keep it more local. I flipped the bye week so Nebraska can host Indiana to patch that schedule hole for both teams. Distance is listed by fastest driving route rather than by shortest driving distance or aircraft flying time.