Nebraska: 5 things I'd like to see from Cornhuskers vs. Bethune-Cookman
This week Nebraska steps outside of Big Ten competition to face Football Championship Subdivision program Bethune-Cookman (noon ET Saturday, Big Ten Network). Nebraska scrambled to set up this game when its opener against Akron was canceled because of weather, and both Big Red and Bethune-Cookman had a mutual week off.
The Cornhuskers are facing their first opponent outside the FBS level since 2014. This gives them a chance to make up a lost home game and a chance to reach a normal 12-game regular season. But that is not much of a justification for scheduling this game.
Here are 5 things I’d like to see from the Cornhuskers against Bethune-Cookman:
For this game not to be played
Oh, I guess it’s too late for that, huh? Yeah, the Wildcats have their plane and hotel all set up by now so I guess there’s no backing out.
For nobody to get hurt
This is always something I wish and it’s a wish everyone should agree on. But it is most especially true this week because neither team will get a week off all season. Both the Cornhuskers and the Wildcats gave up their bye week to play this game so players on both sides will get little time to heal in the middle of a grueling season. No big deal, you say? These are healthy and strong young men, you say? Yes, they are. So why does every high school, college and NFL team schedule bye weeks? Because they are necessary. Because a week off to heal is a really good idea for players who are beating the hell out of themselves and their opponents for several weeks in a row, not to mention all that they endured in preseason camp.
For B-CU to spend this money well
Bethune-Cookman has been having financial problems. Not the football program, mind you, but the entire university. The Orlando Sentinel reported recently that the school’s interim president, Hubert Grimes, admitted that B-CU was in “crisis” but deflected talk that the Daytona Beach school, opened in 1904, would have to shut down. As with any overmatched opponent, B-CU is getting a good paycheck to face a top-level team, in this case $800,000. Honestly, that’s the best reason for this game to even exist.
For some B-CU kids to get exposure
The Wildcats will get to appear on nationwide TV this week, on BTN. That’s rare for any school from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, or for that matter most programs from historically black universities. For instance B-CU quarterback Akevious Williams, who is in the top 30 in FCS in passing efficiency and completion percentage, gets a chance at the biggest national stage he has had in his career.
For fans to truly send a message
It would have been better if Nebraska had simply refunded the money from the Akron game or told everybody that the athletic department would put all that money toward next year’s season ticket deposits. But, as Rule No. 1 of a famed fictional planet’s Rules of Acquisition states: Once you have their money, you never give it back. That’s the message Nebraska sent to its fans. Well, those fans have the chance to send one back. It’s bold and it won’t happen because Cornhuskers fans are too loyal and dedicated (plus they have already spent the money) but here it is: Stay home. Not everybody, but enough so that the football program’s true pride and joy, that streak of 365 consecutive sellouts dating to the 1960s, comes to an end. That way fans would let the university know that not only is Nebraska’s product on the field unsatisfactory, so is the school’s cynical choice to schedule this game.