The Big Ten released Thursday its revamped 2014 conference schedules for a 14-team league, and Nebraska drew Michigan State and new league entrant Rutgers from the East Division.
A marquee game against Big Ten traditional powers Michigan or Ohio State could only take place in the league championship.
The Huskers added Wisconsin — a West Division team starting in 2014 — to the schedule, while retaining games against other West Division teams that were already on the old 2014 schedule. Penn State has been dropped from the schedule.
“With the addition of two new programs to the Big Ten Conference and with a new divisional alignment, we embark on a new era of Nebraska football,” Nebraska Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst said in a statement. “Accommodating the changes for the 2014 schedule was challenging for the Conference and for the member schools. Nebraska once again will host seven home games, which will include first-time visitors to Lincoln, Purdue and Rutgers. We are excited for this upcoming season and for the 2014 slate.”
The full NU slate in 2014:
Aug. 30: Florida Atlantic
Sept. 6: McNeese State
Sept. 13: at Fresno State
Sept. 20: Miami, Fla.
Sept. 27: Illinois
Oct. 4: at Michigan State
Oct. 11: BYE
Oct. 18: at Northwestern
Oct. 25: Rutgers
Nov. 1: Purdue
Nov. 8: BYE
Nov. 15: at Wisconsin
Nov. 22: Minnesota
Nov. 28 (Fri.): at Iowa
Dec. 6: Big Ten championship game
See all Big Ten schedules here.
>> Nebraska avoids Ohio State and Michigan from the East, and so does Wisconsin (at Rutgers, Maryland) and Iowa (Indiana, at Maryland). If you’re into ranking favorites based on schedule — I’m not so much — those are your three clear ones. Is the Big Ten trying to puff up the West records a little bit to make a point?
>> That said, the Big Ten is likely to use “parity scheduling” in 2016 that lines up some of the top teams to play each other. This parity scheduling is probably going to stick as an idea — however weird coaches feel about it — because the league can use it as a extra money incentive in negotiating TV deals.
>> Minnesota draws both Michigan and Ohio State on top of divisional games at Nebraska and at Wisconsin. What football god did the Gophers tick off?
>> Northwestern gets Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan at home in 2014 — which is good news for those fan bases. They can invade Ryan Field and enjoy a weekend in Chicago.
>> Rutgers (at Nebraska and vs. Wisconsin) and Maryland (vs. Iowa and at Wisconsin) received tough draws that require travel and tough West opponents.
>>Nebraska’s interest in creating the most rigorous schedule possible for 2014 — the first year for a playoff, which is believed to be built on strength-of-schedule — may be put to test. Do the Huskers bow out of a game with FCS foe McNeese State and pursue a better opponent for their seventh home game?