Iowa vs. Nebraska has developed into a nice Big Ten West rivalry. Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten in 2011, the series has been split 4-3 Hawkeyes. During that time, the game has been played on “Black Friday,” or the day after Thanksgiving.
Nebraska has long played a rival every year on Black Friday. Back in the Big 12, Oklahoma and Colorado filled that role.
Since changing conferences, Iowa’s been the team, and it is a logical choice. However, that is set to end in a few years.
In 2020 and 2021, Nebraska will face Minnesota to end the year, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Iowa will face Wisconsin, also on Saturday.
Former Nebraska head coach Mike Riley and athletic director Shawn Eichorst pushed for a move off of the traditional Friday game. However, both are gone, and from the Iowa side, there seems to be some optimism about getting the Black Friday game back going in 2022.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, a proponent of the Friday game, said as much last month. From Land of 10:
“It sounds like we’re going to rekindle it, right, whatever year that is,” Ferentz said at a Iowa youth camp event in Johnston, Iowa.
“I think after that, I think we’re back together and I think it’s maybe a long-term thing,” Ferentz said. “But I thought the last one was long term, too. We saw how that turned out.”
Hawkeyes AD Gary Barta also says he’d like get the Iowa vs. Nebraska game back on Black Friday, and he told new Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos as much:
“We were at a meeting at the time, and at one of the meetings, he just pulled me aside and asked where I stood and where [football coach] Kirk [Ferentz] stood,” Barta, Iowa’s athletic director, recalled after the first day of the Big Ten’s spring meetings wrapped up early Monday evening.
“And we said we always like, and still like, that Friday matchup. We love playing Nebraska in that series.
“So who knows? No updates. It isn’t done, but it’s something that Kirk and I remain interested in.”
There is also the possibility of Iowa and Wisconsin moving their 2020-21 games up to Black Friday, per the Land of 10 report.
If both coaching staffs and athletic departments are open to it, and both fan bases want it, hopefully the Big Ten makes this work. Right now, schedules are only set through 2021.