LINCOLN — Road trips in consecutive weeks to two of the conference's most raucous stadiums highlight a 2016 football schedule that Nebraska still hasn't finalized.
The Big Ten on Thursday released the first two seasons of its new nine-game league slate. The 2016 schedule includes Husker road games at Wisconsin on Oct. 29 and at Ohio State a week later, Nov. 5.
But it's one too many contests for Nebraska, which had previously agreed to four nonconference games in 2016 — home contests against Fresno State, Tennessee and Wyoming, and a neutral site matchup against Northern Illinois at Chicago's Soldier Field.
One of those has to be dropped. Teams can only play 12 regular-season games.
An NU athletic department spokesman said Nebraska officials “are still working through the process.”
The Huskers traditionally strive to schedule at least seven home games each season, a standard indicating that the Northern Illinois game will likely be moved. The 2016 meeting is the start of a three-game contract between the schools.
Nebraska, set to be part of the seven-team Big Ten West Division by then, will also host Maryland and play at Indiana of the East Division in 2016. NU's East matchups in 2017 feature a trip to Penn State and home games against Ohio State and Rutgers.
The Huskers will visit West Division foes Northwestern, Wisconsin and Iowa in 2016, and host Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota. The sites for those divisional games alternate in 2017, when NU also has a game at Tennessee scheduled.
Michigan's not on Nebraska's 2016 and '17 schedules, meaning the two iconic college football brands won't meet in the regular season for at least four years after a game at the Big House this fall.
Michigan State's also part of NU's no-play list for those two seasons, though the Spartans and Huskers are set to meet in 2014 and '15.
Other notes regarding the release of the schedules:
>> NU will remain in its traditional day-after Thanksgiving slot through 2017. The Huskers' season finales against Iowa in 2016 and '17 are set to be played on Fridays.
>> The Nebraska-Rutgers matchup in 2017 is scheduled for Week 4. That will be the earliest conference game for the Huskers since they opened the 2003 season against Oklahoma State.
>> NU's 2016 game against Maryland will be the first meeting between the programs. The Huskers haven't faced Indiana, also a 2016 opponent, since 1978.