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This is a countdown of Iowa’s most-tantalizing 2021 football games, from the 12th-most to the most. Previously:
And now, No. 7:
Nov. 26: At Nebraska
So, let’s say it’s June 2010, and the news has just broken that Nebraska will be leaving the Big 12 Conference to join the Big Ten.
You’re an Iowa fan and are told the Hawkeyes football team will peel off six consecutive victories over the Cornhuskers from 2015-2020.
No matter what perils awaited you in that time period, you’d have something to look forward to with saliva leaking out of the sides of your mouth.
OK, that was unnecessarily vulgar. But life sometimes gets messy.
In past years, I ranked Nebraska as one of the most-tantalizing games on Iowa’s schedule. Now, it isn’t. It’s a team coming off four straight losing seasons. It’s 10-14 at home in that time, at vaunted Memorial Stadium.
This year’s meeting, back on Black Friday after being played in the fifth week of last year’s strange season in an upside-down world, isn’t a grabber.
It takes two to certain kinds of dances — the tango? — and the Huskers haven’t had dancing shoes on for a while. Plus, Nebraska’s two games immediately leading into this finale are at home against Ohio State and at Wisconsin. That’s not a schedule designed for a big finish, or for much left in the tank come the day after Thanksgiving.
Now, Iowa-Nebraska hasn’t been uninteresting despite the last six results. The most-recent three games between the two were decided by one score, and the Hawkeyes’ average winning margin was four points.
It took a last-second field goal to win at Lincoln two years ago. It took a last-second field goal to win in Iowa City three years back.
The Huskers outgained the Hawkeyes by 16 yards in Iowa’s 26-20 win at Kinnick Stadium last year, and Nebraska outgained Iowa in rushing yardage.
Iowa failed to cover the spread in any of those three games, but coaches don’t get bonus money for covering the spread. They do get plenty of bonus money, though. Go 6-6, go to a bowl game named after Jimmy Kimmel, get a bonus.
This Huskers-Hawkeyes Black Friday thing has never caught on nationally. It’s on BTN this year, so fewer people will see it than in most years.
Closer to home, it’s still a big deal. Hawkeye fans take great fun lording the recent past over Husker fans. It prevents them from stewing about not having been to a Big Ten title game since 2015.
Husker folks, meanwhile, would love to chop Iowa down a little for a change and maybe even get to their first bowl since 2016.
Something unrelated to this game: Nebraska plays Fordham in September. Fordham is 11-14-2 against current Big Ten members. Do with this knowledge what you will.
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