Nebraska football was set to open the season against MAC foe Akron, an improved team in recent years, but one that almost everyone took the Huskers to win its first game under Scott Frost.
Instead, the game in Lincoln was canceled due to bad storms in the area.
Akron and Nebraska do not share a bye week, but there did seem like an opportunity for the two teams to make things up, assuming neither was playing for a conference title.
We’ve seen big teams, like Florida State last year, schedule make-up games on conference championship Saturday, especially when bowl eligibility is on the line. The Huskers and Zips could have met on Dec. 1.
Frost said that he wanted to leave the date open, as the Huskers, now 0-2 with losses to Colorado and Troy, plan to be in the Big Ten Championship.
Instead, Nebraska football scheduled a game against FCS squad Bethune-Cookman, which shared its Oct. 27 bye. Akron is not happy.
Nebraska announced the new game yesterday. With a really tough conference schedule, it could be huge for the Huskers, if they’re floating around the six win minimum for bowl eligibility.
Not only is Nebraska not rescheduling the Zips, but it doesn’t sound like they’ll be paying the full amount that Akron was set to receive for the game. From The Plain Dealer:
“We showed up, we kicked off, we played,” Akron AD Larry Williams said Thursday night.
Since then, Nebraska has shied away from paying Akron the $1.17-million due from the contract.
“That’s all in the hands of the lawyers now,” Williams said.
Nebraska will pay Bethune-Cookman $800,000. Nebraska AD Bill Moos told the Omaha World-Herald he is willing to cover Akron’s expenses for making the trip to Lincoln. “We have to find a number,” Moos said.
Since the cancellation, Akron has knocked off Morgan State 41-7, and then upset another Big Ten West opponent on the road, Northwestern, 39-34. Williams alluded to the Huskers ducking the competitive-looking Zips.
Scott Frost, first-year coach for the now 0-2 Huskers, said the December date was bad considering Nebraska expected to be playing in the Big Ten championship game.
Williams sees it differently.
“They didn’t want to compete at our level,” he said.
It is unfortunate that the Akron players won’t get to play in a game in Lincoln, one of the better atmospheres in college football. Still, they have to be riding high from the Northwestern game, and they have another big spot coming up. The Zips travel to Ames tomorrow to play Iowa State.