The Big Ten Conference announced its divisional alignment on Wednesday evening, along with the 2011 and 2012 conference schedules. The announcement gives Nebraska fans a preview of the Cornhuskers' first two seasons of Big Ten play.
Nebraska was placed in a division with Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Northwestern. The other division includes Illinois, Indiana, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin. The Huskers will play each of the teams in their division every year, and Nebraska will also meet Penn State each year in a protected cross-division contest.
The 2011 and 2012 Nebraska schedules also include matchups with Big Ten powers Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Huskers' first-ever Big Ten Conference game will be played at Wisconsin on Saturday, Oct. 1. Nebraska's first Big Ten home game on Oct. 8 will be against Ohio State, the winner of five consecutive Big Ten championships heading into the 2010 season.
Nebraska's 2011 home schedule also features home contests against Michigan State, Northwestern and Iowa. The Huskers and the Hawkeyes are scheduled to meet on Thanksgiving weekend in both 2011 and 2012. In addition to Wisconsin, Nebraska will also travel to Minnesota, Penn State and Michigan in 2011. The home and road opponents are reversed on the 2012 schedule.
The 2011 and 2012 Nebraska schedules do not include Illinois, Indiana or Purdue.
The Big Ten Conference schedule in 2011 is in addition to NU's non-conference home games against Fresno State (Sept. 10) and Washington (Sept. 17), and a Sept. 24 road game at Wyoming. Nebraska is expected to complete its non-conference schedule (Sept. 3) in the near future.
The 2012 non-conference schedule currently includes a Sept. 1 season opener against Southern Miss in Lincoln and a Sept. 8 road game at UCLA.
2011/2012 Schedule Highlights
--Nebraska, who has won 827 games in program history, will face three of the other six programs with 800 or more victories in school history-Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State.
--Nebraska's trip to Michigan will be its first since 1962 when Bob Devaney's first team defeated Michigan 25-13 in Ann Arbor. That was the last regular-season meeting between the two schools.
--Ohio State's trip to Lincoln in 2011 will be the Buckeyes' first-ever trip to Memorial Stadium. Nebraska traveled to Columbus to face the Buckeyes in 1955 and 1956.
--Seven of the eight teams on Nebraska's 2011 and 2012 Big Ten schedules appeared in a bowl game in the 2009 season. The only team who did not appear in a bowl game a year ago is Michigan, the winningest program in college football history. Overall, nine of Nebraska's 11 scheduled games in 2011 are against teams who reached a bowl game in 2009.
--The 2011 and 2012 schedules include each of the last eight Big Ten Conference champions.