Nebraska will continue its long tradition of playing on the Friday after Thanksgiving when it moves into the Big Ten Conference in 2011. Nebraska and Iowa announced on Monday they will meet on the day after Thanksgiving in both 2011 and 2012.
The first of those meetings will take place at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln on Nov. 25, 2011. The Huskers' first trip to Iowa City for a Big Ten Conference game will be played on Friday, Nov. 23, 2012.
The change in dates was recently approved by the Big Ten Conference's Administrator's Council. A game time and television coverage information for the 2011 game in Lincoln will be available at a later date.
The announcement continues a long Nebraska tradition of playing on the day after Thanksgiving. The 2011 season will mark the 22nd straight year Nebraska has played on the day after Thanksgiving.
"I think our fans have enjoyed the tradition of playing on the day after Thanksgiving, and we are pleased the Big Ten Conference has allowed us to continue to do so," Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne said. "The University of Iowa is a natural opponent to play on that day, and we look forward to great matchups between the two schools for years to come."
Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini said he expects the Nebraska-Iowa matchup to be a good fit for the Thanksgiving weekend matchup.
"Obviously, I have the philosophy that you show up and play when and where the schedule dictates," Pelini said. "That being said, playing the day after Thanksgiving has been good for our program in terms of national exposure, and we look forward to that continuing as we move into the Big Ten Conference. We have a lot of respect for Iowa's football program and these games should be a good showcase for the league."
The Nebraska-Iowa game will be played annually as the border schools are both in the Big Ten Legends Division. The Huskers and Hawkeyes last met on the gridiron in a home-and-home series in 1999 and 2000, with Nebraska winning both matchups. Nebraska holds a 26-12-3 advantage in the all-time series between the two schools.
Quotes from University of Iowa
Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta: "Iowa playing Nebraska on any given weekend is a great matchup between two historic football programs. Having the game on Thanksgiving Friday will add to the excitement and the potential for a strong national television audience."
Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz: "Our staff and players are excited to begin competing with Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving this season and in 2012. College football played on this day has a well-established rivalry history, and we feel it will be a great opportunity for our program to join in a new chapter of Big Ten Conference history. These Friday games should help create great atmosphere, both in Lincoln this fall and in Kinnick Stadium in 2012."
- The post-Thanksgiving holiday meeting will have a historical tie for Nebraska and Iowa. The schools met eight consecutive years on Thanksgiving Day between 1891 and 1898. All of those games were played in either Omaha or Council Bluffs.
- Nebraska played Colorado on the Friday following Thanksgiving in each of the 15 seasons of Big 12 Conference play. Nebraska met Oklahoma on that day from 1990 to 1995.
- The 2011 season will mark the third straight season Nebraska has played on the Friday after Thanksgiving without a bye the previous week. Nebraska had a bye before each of the Thanksgiving Friday games between 1990 and 2008.