The Nebraska Cornhuskers have been quite busy lately on the scheduling front. Before you say it, no I am not going to write an article on how Nebraska signed a deal to play Utah State or Valley State. But the Cornhuskers did strike a deal to play UCLA, Tennessee, and Virginia Tech each in a home and home series.
Virginia Tech will head to Lincoln in 2008 and with the 2009 match up taking place in Blacksburg. The UCLA-Nebraska contest will occur in 2012-13 and it will start in Pasadena. Finally the Tennessee-Nebraska match up will be in 2016-17 and that one will start in Lincoln.
It is great to see Nebraska setting up opponents like the ones above. Too many times teams are looking for a few easy wins and schedule lower tier programs to home games. Last year we had one of the most exciting games of the years when Ohio State and Texas clash and we get part two this year. Also this year we get to see old rivals Penn State and Notre Dame start a home and home series.
School will complain that if you play a tough non-conference schedule and lose it knocks you out of the National Title race but that is not always the case. If a team is going to lose it is best for it to happen in the beginning of the season because, whom are we kidding, the voters have a very short memory. Plus your team gets accustom to playing a tough team in a possible hostile environment. It also could get your foot in the door for recruiting. Make a good showing in another part of the country and recruits that might not have normally watched your program play might tune in to check you out.
Hopefully the NCAA will realize the fact that Top 25 non-conference matchups are good for the sport and will step in to do something so that more of them occur. Why not set a limit of only 1 division 1aa opponent every 5 years? If I am correct there are 117 Division 1a programs, and there is no excuse for teams to be playing division 1aa opponents as often as it happens.