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Iowa, Nebraska want Black Friday series

1/31/2013

The Iowa-Nebraska series will continue on Black Friday if both schools get their wish.

Iowa and Nebraska announced Thursday that they’ll formally ask the Big Ten to keep their annual game on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The first two Hy-Vee Heroes Games have taken place on Black Friday, but the next two contests are scheduled for Saturdays (Nov. 30, 2013, in Lincoln, and Nov. 29, 2014, in Iowa City).

Athletic directors Gary Barta (Iowa) and Shawn Eichorst (Nebraska) will make a formal request to the Big Ten’s Joint Council at its next meeting Feb. 25-26.

From a news release:

Those dates would change to Nov. 29, 2013 and Nov. 28, 2014, following approval. Barta also said he expects Iowa and Nebraska to continue meeting on the final weekend of the regular season, pending Big Ten schedule changes for 2014 and beyond due to Big Ten expansion.

The key phrase there being "schedule changes for 2014 and beyond due to Big Ten expansion." We still don’t know how the schedules and the divisions will shake out, although it would be a major shock if Iowa and Nebraska aren’t in the same division, as league athletic directors say geography likely will be a greater priority in this round of alignment.

Nebraska has played games on Black Friday for years and wanted to continue to do so. There was some hesitancy on Iowa’s side, as some Hawkeyes fans are acclimating to the logistics of these games. But Iowa has decided to move forward.

It’s definitely the right call. The Black Friday games give Iowa and Nebraska a big stage when few other games are taking place. Their games have been nationally televised on ABC. It’s very hard to compete with the Ohio State-Michigan game the following day, so by keeping the game on Friday, Iowa and Nebraska receive attention they otherwise wouldn't, especially when the contest factors into the division/league race.