The Big Ten Conference needs to find something to help boost its popularity among college football fans. What better way to do that than to feature two schools rich in tradition on a popular football day? Penn State and Nebraska should be the Big Ten's featured game on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are no strangers to playing football the day after filling up on turkey. The 'Huskers played Colorado for 15 years before moving to the B1G. For the past two years, Nebraska vs. Iowa has been played on Black Friday.
However, that "tradition" seems to be quickly ending. A recent article from CBS Sports states that Iowa athletic director Gary Barta isn't sure if the date of the annual game will stay the same due to the addition of new B1G teams and family holiday obligations of fans.
With the potential end of Nebraska vs. Iowa, the Big Ten would be smart to begin a new post-Turkey Day tradition.
Penn State and Nebraska, the two newest members of the conference, already have a bit of a history, and the matchup is becoming a good rivalry. The two teams have met a total of 14 times over the years, with each side winning seven.
The Nittany Lions won a crucial game against the 'Huskers in 1982 that included a controversial call. 1994 saw both teams finish the year with undefeated records, but the voters crowned the Cornhuskers as national champions. 2012 saw fuel added to the rivalry with a controversial replay call that went in favor of Nebraska.
Both schools boast proud, passionate fans that travel well, and many people use the day after Thanksgiving as a vacation day anyway.
If the game were to be played on Black Friday, it's a safe bet that Memorial Stadium in Lincoln would be filled to capacity, as Nebraska fans are used to making plans to attend games that day. It would be a change for Penn State fans, but it's likely Beaver Stadium would be filled as well.
Penn State has always seemed like an outsider in the Big Ten. Rivalries with teams such as Minnesota and Michigan State never really caught on. The Nittany Lions now have a team in Nebraska that makes for a legitimate rival that could stick around for years to come.
Thanksgiving Day is dominated by the NFL, but the day after has traditionally been set aside for college football. Much like the games on Thursday, many people watch the Friday games simply because they are on, regardless of the teams.
It seems unlikely that the Big Ten would want to give up the national exposure on a day that features just a handful of games. If the Nebraska-Iowa game gets moved, then a game featuring the Niitany Lions and the Cornhuskers should replace it.
The matchup already occurs each year anyway. Moving it to Black Friday for a national TV audience makes perfect sense.
Not to mention that fans of both schools would then have the perfect alternative to dealing with crowds of crazy holiday shoppers.
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