Nebraska and Akron canceled their Week 1 game. They got in an opening kickoff on Saturday before storms in the Lincoln area caused a three-hour delay. And after a flurry of reports that they’d play at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, Nebraska said the game was off.
The Huskers seem like they were down to make up the game Sunday. But according to officials who spoke to ESPN’s Mitch Sherman, Akron didn’t want to:
Behind the scenes, according to Bob Burton, Nebraska deputy AD and chief of staff for Moos, the home school communicated with the Big Ten and its television partner, Fox, making plans to play the game on Sunday morning.
”Difficult but doable,” Burton said of the challenges associated with a Sunday kickoff at the 85,458-seat stadium, sold out for the 362nd consecutive game.
But Moos emerged from a meeting with Akron athletic director Larry Williams, Burton said, and told his staff that the Zips “do not want to play on Sunday.”
Fans didn’t get ticket refunds, setting thousands of people back lots of money.
Two main things remain unclear about the fallout from this cancelation.
1. Nebraska was set to pay Akron a $1.17 million guarantee for the game. That’s a huge amount, even by the standards of paycheck games. We don’t know whether Nebraska will pay that amount, a portion of it, or none of it to the Zips.
2. Nebraska now has 11 games on its schedule. The Huskers could find space for a 12th, though, as UNL blog Corn Nation explains:
Here is how this would work. Nebraska would buy out East Carolina playing a non-conference game against the Old Dominion Monarch’s. Old Dominion and Akron would then play a non-conference game instead on September 29th. ECU would have their buy on September 29th, and would schedule the non-conference game against the Huskers on October 27th.
While the Huskers could pull that off, I would rate it as unlikely. Nebraska will probably want a bye week during the year. The Huskers have to go to Ohio State after their bye week as well.
The other option for Nebraska is that they could schedule a game for the weekend of December 1st. Nebraska has about six teams that they could pick from to play this weekend as well.
Teams that have not played a full 12 games are eligible, as well as teams that have made a trip to Hawaii and have not played 13 games. Current teams that would fit for this weekend are the Iowa State Cyclones, South Dakota State Jackrabbits, Akron Zips under the first rule. Under the Hawaii exemption, teams that would fit include Wyoming, Nevada, Utah State, and the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Stick with Corn Nation for more on this story.