- Brian Bennett, ESPN Staff Writer
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We're in the season of giving, and Southern Miss is being generous to Nebraska.
The two programs were scheduled to play in Hattiesburg, Miss., on Sept. 7 of next season, part of a 2-for-1 schedule deal between the Cornhuskers and Golden Eagles. They played in Lincoln earlier this season and will do so again in 2015.
But, hey, guess what? Southern Miss needs some cash after firing head coach Ellis Johnson following his first season, which ended with an 0-12 record. So the Eagles are giving that home game back to Nebraska.
Deadspin reported earlier today that Southern Miss would receive a $2.125 million guarantee for playing at Memorial Stadium next season instead of at home. Coincidentally, it owes Johnson around $2.1 million for his buyout.
There had been talks about moving next year's game to a neutral site, possibly Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. But this is an even better deal for Nebraska, which now has eight home games in '13, including the first five of the season. The Huskers have a chance to get off to a great start next year, with its toughest nonconference game coming at home against UCLA on Sept. 14.
As for Southern Miss, it gets cash to pay its debts. And probably another beating like the 49-20 one Nebraska handed the Eagles in the season opener. I suppose that trumps giving your fans a chance to see Nebraska on your home field. Somebody's got to pay the bills. The Huskers will happily support the USM bottom line to get another home game.
1dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy