This is a ways down the road, but I'm already excited. They just announced this series.
Nebraska Athletic Director Steve Pederson announced on Thursday that the Huskers have signed a contract for a home-and-home football series with the University of Tennessee. The games will take place in the 2016 and 2017 seasons and mark the third high-profile non-conference series announced by Nebraska in the past six weeks.
The series will begin in Lincoln at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 10, 2016. Nebraska will make the return trip to Knoxville and Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium on Sept. 9, 2017.
The announcement of a home-and-home series with the Volunteers comes on the heels of Nebraska’s Monday announcement of a contract to play UCLA in 2012 and 2013. In May, Nebraska announced that it will take on Virginia Tech in the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
In addition to Tennessee, Pederson also announced Thursday that the Huskers have inked a contract for a single game against Florida Atlantic in 2009. The game will be played on Sept. 5 at Memorial Stadium, and is the Huskers’ second scheduled non-conference game of the 2009 season, joining the Sept. 19 contest at Virginia Tech.
The Huskers’ games with Tennessee will be the first-ever regular-season meetings between the two schools. Nebraska holds a 2-0 edge in the series with the Vols, defeating Tennessee, 42-17, in the 1998 Orange Bowl and 31-21 in the 2000 Fiesta Bowl. The win in the 1998 Orange Bowl was Tom Osborne’s last game as Nebraska head coach and capped a perfect 13-0 national championship season. The Fiesta Bowl victory completed a 12-1 Husker season in 1999.
Nebraska and Tennessee are two of just 10 schools in college football with 700 all-time victories. Nebraska ranks fourth with 794 wins, while Tennessee sits in ninth place on the list with 751 victories. The Huskers and Vols are also regulars in the postseason, with Tennessee’s 45 bowl trips tied for second on the all-time list and Nebraska in fifth place with 43 bowl appearances.
Pederson has experience working at both Nebraska and Tennessee. In addition to his three stints at Nebraska, including the last four years as athletic director, Pederson served as an associate athletic director/recruiting coordinator from 1991 to 1994.
“This is a series that is great for college football, and one that I know I will be anticipating,” Pederson said. “Nebraska and Tennessee have two of the best fan bases in college football, and bringing these two traditional powers together in two of the best stadiums in the country is extremely exciting.”
The games with Tennessee will be rare regular-season matchups between Nebraska and the Southeastern Conference. Nebraska last faced an SEC foe in the regular season in 1981 and 1982 when the Huskers defeated Auburn in a pair of matchups. Nebraska did face South Carolina in 1986 and 1987, but the Gamecocks were not a member of the SEC at that time.
Florida Atlantic completed its second season as a provisional Division I-A member in 2005. The Owls are a member of the Sun Belt Conference and are coached by former Miami, Louisville and Oklahoma head coach Howard Schnellenberger.