It was just four years ago that Nebraska, after only three seasons in the Big Ten, began agitating for Iowa to be moved off the end of its schedule. Nebraska won its first two games against the Hawkeyes -- the second against a team that finished 4-8 -- and neither offered much for entertainment. Corners of the Cornhusker fanbase were clamoring for Wisconsin to replace Iowa when the Badgers moved to the Big Ten West.
Five years -- and three Iowa wins in the last four seasons -- later, Iowa is indeed moving off of the end of Nebraska's schedule. Only it's Nebraska that's being replaced and Iowa that's getting Wisconsin. You read that right. The Big Ten released its 2020 and 2021 football schedules Tuesday, and Black Friday is dead.
Iowa's season finale in 2020-21 will be Wisconsin. Adios, Black Friday.— Marc Morehouse (@marcmorehouse) September 12, 2017
You read that right: Iowa will play Wisconsin on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2020 and 2021, with the first game in Iowa City. Nebraska will close its season against Minnesota on Saturday, ending the Black Friday tradition in Lincoln. The rest of the schedule, per Chad Leistikow:
9/19: at Minnesota
10/3: Michigan State
10/10: at Ohio State
10/17: at Penn State
11/7: at Illinois
11/21: at Purdue
10/2: at Northwestern
10/9: Penn State
10/23: at Maryland
11/6: at Nebraska
11/27: at Wisconsin
That 2020 schedule, especially in October, is a murderer's row. Back-to-back road games in Columbus and Happy Valley are sure to be difficult, though it's far enough in the future that anything could happen. Maybe Urban Meyer leaves again. Maybe James Franklin's recruiting falls off. Perhaps Mark Dantonio can spring a quarterback from jail in time for that October 3 game in Kinnick and make it the most difficult of the bunch. 2021 looks a bit easier, but a conference game the first week of September is going to throw Ferentz's preparation off. One thing is certain from here: Iowa plays no Friday games, and they are sure to not schedule any Friday contests in non-conference.
One other thing is certain: Nebraska is finally freed from the Iowa series, and can now shackle itself to Minnesota, also known as "post-war period Nebraska". Bring back the Bits o' Chair Trophy, Huskers. You're going to need motivation to get out in that Minnesota weather.