Nebraska won't reschedule their Week 1 rainout vs. Akron for later this season and the Zips are pissed.
Akron's visit to Lincoln on Sept. 1 was ruined when severe weather delayed and, after 2 hours and 40 minutes, eventually canceled the game after opening kickoff. Nebraska reportedly wanted to play the game at 10:30am CT the following day, but, according to the Huskers, Akron wasn't interested.
"Behind the scenes, according to Bob Burton, Nebraska deputy AD and chief of staff for Moos, the home school communicated with the Big Ten and its television partner, Fox, making plans to play the game on Sunday morning," ESPN's Mitch Sherman reported on Sept. 2.
" 'Difficult but doable,' Burton said of the challenges associated with a Sunday kickoff at the 85,458-seat stadium, sold out for the 362nd consecutive game. But Moos emerged from a meeting with Akron athletic director Larry Williams, Burton said, and told his staff that the Zips 'do not want to play on Sunday.' "
This is messy for several reasons.
First, Nebraska agreed to pay Akron $1.17 million for the game. The Huskers have not paid yet, which Williams said "is in the hands of the lawyers now," but they did agree to pay Akron's travel expenses.
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Second, Nebraska refused to commit to playing the game on Dec. 1, the weekend after both teams' regular season ends, because they hope to have other plans.
"Scheduling a game in December — I don’t want our kids thinking we’re not going to be in the championship," Scott Frost said after losing to Colorado in Week 2 and before losing to Troy in Week 3. “We’re going to be in the championship. So that leaves us October. It’s not ideal to play 12 straight weeks — they don’t really do that in the NFL — but if that’s the hand we’re dealt, so be it."
Third, Nebraska scheduled a 12th game: vs. Bethune-Cookman on Oct. 27. Akron has yet to find a 12th opponent. This, obviously, means Nebraska and Akron won't play in 2018. And Williams isn't thrilled.
"They didn't want to compete at our level,'' he said this week.
Did Nebraska have second thoughts on rescheduling Akron after they started 0-2 with two home losses and watched the Zips start 2-0 with a road win over Northwestern?
Do Nebraska actually think they'll be in the Big Ten Championship on Dec. 1?
Doubtful, especially since Frost said the season "could get worse before it gets better" before their Week 4 trip to Michigan, but how do you tell that to student-athletes?
From 10,000 feet, it seems weak that the Huskers didn't schedule a Dec. 1 game vs. Akron with a contingency. If either team is in their respective conference championships, the game isn't played. Furthermore, Nebraska could've added a contingency to their Oct. 27 game vs. Bethune-Cookman. For example, if the Huskers weren't within one game of the Big Ten West lead after their Oct. 13 trip to Northwestern, the game was canceled.
Either way, after Williams' "compete at our level" comments, I really want to see these teams play.