There’s been some bold talk this week out of the Boise State camp of supporters. Nobody in a big-boy conference will play Boise. You think that you can beat the Broncos? Give them a call. We dare you.
Nebraska called. Nebraska tried.
In the past year, NU tried to put together a series with BSU; two-for-one, home-and-home, one-way trip to Lincoln. Whatever. It ended up fizzling out. Why?
Because, according to NU Assistant Athletic Director Jeff Jamrog, Boise wanted a minimum $1 million to play in Lincoln.
Geez, no wonder the Broncos can’t get anyone to play them. Pay Boise State $1 million to come to your town? Sorry, don’t want it that bad.
Imagine if that game had come together. Next fall, Nebraska would have played host to Boise State, Fresno State and Washington, and played at Wyoming — before the Big Ten Welcoming Committee opened its arms.
The days of cupcake diets are over at Memorial Stadium. Many Husker fans are glad. They want some protein. They’re going to get it.
Enjoy this year’s menu of Western Kentucky, Idaho and South Dakota State (Football Championship Subdivision) — or not. You might see one or two FCS (formerly known as I-AA) teams in the future, which might be good news for the University of Nebraska at Omaha. More on that later.
Tom Osborne and Bo Pelini don’t want to comment on this year’s nonconference schedule, former Athletic Director Steve Pederson’s last legacy at Nebraska. Their actions said enough.
Beginning next season, Nebraska football has a new nutritionist. Whether that’s good for the long-term health of the program remains to be seen. But it won’t be dull. And the days of cheap jokes aimed at Nebraska’s schedules should be long gone.
2011: Fresno State, Washington, at Wyoming and an opponent that Jamrog says he is close to signing.
2012: Southern Miss, at UCLA.
2013: Wyoming, at Southern Miss, UCLA.
2014: at Fresno State; Miami (Fla.).
2015: at Miami (Fla.), Southern Miss.
2016: Fresno State, Tennessee, Wyoming.
It should be noted that Washington and UCLA were made on Pederson’s watch. But filling in around them with salty Fresno State and dangerous Southern Miss is downright crazy — and bold. Put it as the precursor to Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State and it’s a guarantee to either knock you out of national title contention or lock you in.
A word about the recently released Big Ten schedule: Most Nebraska fans I hear from love it. They want the big names and the big games, the more the better. And, let’s face it, it won’t always be heavy lifting.
Sure the Big Ten has some meat this year. But two years ago, the Big 12 was the rage with the quarterbacks and the Top 25 teams. And the Big Ten looked soft. Who knows what it will look like in two years?
You can win the national title with a difficult schedule. A team from the Southeastern Conference — widely known as the best in the business — has done it the past four years.
SEC teams get a rap for piling on the cupcakes in the nonconference, though. Is it true?
The 2006 Florida Gators played Western Carolina, Southern Miss, Florida State and Central Florida. In 2007, national champ LSU played Virginia Tech, Middle Tennessee, Tulane and Louisiana Tech. In 2008, Florida had Hawaii, Miami (Fla.), The Citadel and Florida State. Last year, Alabama played Virginia Tech, Florida International, North Texas and Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Nebraska’s future September roads are a notch above those. But Pelini likes what he’s got.
“Next year is just about right," Pelini said. “You don’t want to kill your team with four tough ones. But I want to challenge them going into the conference. I want them prepared.
“I think you have to have some good balance on your schedule. But I’m not afraid to play people. I’m not big on playing I-AA teams. People know that."
But it may happen again at NU. Beginning in 2015, the Big Ten is expected to play nine conference games, which means three nonconference games, which means three nonconference games likely at home — at least on the years when NU has only four Big Ten games at home. Seven home games pays the bills, folks.
So take away one nonconference game, combine that with Mountain West, WAC and even MAC teams that want home-and-homes and up to $1 million to do it and you have a scenario in which Jamrog thinks that the Division I-AA schools will become valuable commodities. For instance, NU is paying SDSU just $375,000 in two weeks. Idaho is getting $800,000.
Paging Trev Alberts, please pick up a white courtesy phone. UNO very likely could be Division I-AA in five years. Can you imagine Nebraska vs. UNO?
Like Pelini said, the Huskers don’t duck anyone.
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