LINCOLN — Nebraska dropped a neutral site game at Soldier Field to fix an overbooked 2016 schedule and announced more plans Thursday for future nonconference matchups.
The Big Ten’s move to a nine-game league schedule beginning in 2016 forced the Huskers to remove one of the four nonconference contests they’d contractually agreed upon. With just four home games in league play, NU decided not to back out of hosting Fresno State, Wyoming or Tennessee.
Instead, the Huskers won’t be playing Northern Illinois in Chicago in 2016.
The two teams, however, will meet four times in six years starting in 2017. All of those games — Sept. 16, 2017; Sept. 14, 2019; Sept. 4, 2021; and Sept. 16, 2023 — will be played at Memorial Stadium.
Nebraska also added Cincinnati to its future schedule, an agreement that crosses two sports.
The Huskers are set to host the Bearcats on Sept. 12, 2020, before traveling to Cincinnati on Sept. 13, 2025. And in men’s basketball, as part of the contract, NU plays at Cincinnati on Dec. 28 this season and hosts the Bearcats in the 2014-15 campaign.
Cincinnati’s won all three games against the Huskers on the basketball court, most recently in 1996.
In football, Nebraska’s only meeting with the Bearcats was in 1906. The Huskers won 41-0.
So far, the NU-Cincinnati matchups are the only nonconference games in 2020 and 2025 that the Nebraska athletic department has announced. The Huskers have already released plans to play a home-and-home against Oklahoma (in 2021 and 2022) and a home-and-home against Colorado (in 2023 and 2024).
Starting in 2016, when the Big Ten adds a league game, Nebraska will host just four conference games every even-numbered year. And since seven home games is the desired minimum for fiscal stability, NU will likely play all three of its nonconference games at home during those seasons.
That’s what made the elimination of the 2016 trip to Soldier Field somewhat predictable.
It was supposed to be the start of a three-year contract between Nebraska and Northern Illinois. The deal was signed by representatives from the two athletic departments last year.
But the Big Ten announced in April that starting in 2016 it would add a ninth game to the regular season conference schedule. That forced Nebraska to adjust its plan.
The Soldier Field game was cancelled and the NU-NIU agreement was amended to add the 2021 and 2023 games.