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Tom's Takes: Big Ten football schedule provides a plan. Now it's time for the hard part

Tom's Takes: Big Ten football schedule provides a plan. Now it's time for the hard part

Adam Carriker breaks down the Huskers' newly released Big Ten football schedule.

1. This is a plan. That's all. It could certainly change as campuses face COVID challenges, shut down, go online, etc. But there's a thought that a campus without students becomes a safer place for football players. In any case, we have a plan. We have a schedule. Will we have a season? I'll believe it when I see it, but seeing a schedule almost makes it feel normal. Now for the hard part.

2. How about that? Nebraska opens with a bye week. No, that's not a shot at Rutgers' talent level. That's a shot of reality. Rutgers' football program saw its COVID-19 outbreak nearly double from 15 to 28 this week. There were reports the past few weeks that the school doesn't want to play this year. Steve Politi, sports columnist for the Newark Star-Ledger, tweeted Wednesday morning: "After a careful analysis of the Rutgers football schedule, I see the team going undefeated!" Translated: the Scarlet Knights are going to opt out of football this fall. Stay tuned. If there is a game that first weekend, Nebraska couldn't have asked for a better season opener. Greg Schiano the Rutgers coaching legend is back, but it's his first game with players he did not recruit. After that, the Huskers get Illinois at home. If they don't bring COVID back on the team plane from Jersey.

3. The Wisconsin and Iowa games are still back-to-back weeks, but they are now home and away, with the Badgers coming to Lincoln. This is the way it should be every year, instead of both at home and both away, although I was curious to see how NU would do in Camp Randall Stadium this year when it was empty and not jumping around. Wisconsin will be replacing a superstar at running back and Iowa replacing a top gun quarterback early so you never know. It's probably better than playing these two in November.

4. The two bye weeks are good, but they might need one earlier in the season. I've got a feeling the first few weeks of this are going to go slow and cautious. Teams might opt out of games at the first sign of positive cases.

5. The two COVID tests per week are more than the one test required by the NCAA. If you are going to try and play, it has to be that way, testing above and beyond. To this point, each Big Ten school has dealt with positive cases in its own way. Nebraska quarantined the positive case and their roommates for 10 days, or until they received two negative tests, and kept tabs on the rest of the team for COVID symptoms. Others, such as Michigan State and Rutgers, have sidelined the entire team.

6. What about fans? NU Chancellor Ronnie Green and A.D. Bill Moos released a joint statement with the schedule release, saying their focus now would be to finalize the details of staging home football games this fall. That sounds like there will be some fans. How many and who? I'm sure we'll find out in the next few weeks.

The 2020 Nebraska football schedule

Omaha World-Herald: Big Red

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