Back in July of 2015, it was announced that Big Ten schools would no longer be lining up against FCS opponents on the football field. That mandate appears to have been repealed just as quickly as it was put in place.
North Dakota State athletic director Matt Larsen has relayed that he was informed there’s been a policy tweak thanks to the nine-game schedule of Big Ten conference play. According to Larsen, when a team in the Big Ten has only four conference home games on its schedule, that team will be allowed to schedule an opponent from the lower division.
Sure, there’s an argument that this would be a benefit. There’s the perceived easy win and players lower on the depth chart could get game experience. However, we don’t have to go back very far to see just how negatively an FCS upset can impact a team’s momentum and overall perception.
Just last season, NDSU went into Iowa City and upset the Hawkeyes 23-21. Iowa hasn’t been the only program victimized by the Bison over the years, though. Minnesota played them in 2006, 2007 and 2011 going 2-1 in those contests. The burly Bison clearly aren’t intimidated by FBS opposition as they hold a 9-3 overall record against the higher division’s teams.
Nebraska fans are familiar with snagging victory from the jaws of defeat against an FCS foe when Ameer Abdullah’s last second heroics saved the Huskers from one of the most embarrassing losses in program history against McNeese State during the 2014 season.
Are the positives really that beneficial, though?
It’d be no surprise if Nebraska fans wiped their memories of the Huskers’ 73-3 win over Idaho State in 2012. There was a point in the stadium where seemingly everyone in attendance would’ve voted in favor of a running clock during the second half.
While it’s understandable why a program like NDSU would be all in when it comes to regional matchups against the likes of Minnesota, Iowa and maybe even Nebraska, there’s just too much to lose for the FBS program involved. It’s far more acceptable for Nebraska to schedule a team like Arkansas State.
The Red Wolves should provide a fantastic measuring stick for where Nebraska sits as the season kicks off as they are projected to be one of the best teams in the Sun Belt conference this year.
Naturally, when talking about the Huskers taking on an FCS program, Youngstown State’s name comes up due to former Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini being at the helm of the program.
Twitter user Anthony Williams put it best when it comes to that topic:
Nebraska has already payed YSU enough.
— Anthony Williams (@awill3434) July 19, 2017