ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- When Michigan sees Nebraska this season in Ann Arbor, don’t get used to it. The Cornhuskers won’t be around again for a long time.
Michigan and Nebraska, division rivals for now but not after this season, will not play in 2016 or 2017 in conference play. Considering the league already announced the schools won’t play in 2014 or 2015, this means the teams won’t see each other again until at least 2018.
Unless they play in the Big Ten title game.
This is an unfortunate happenstance for what was turning into a highly-anticipated game for Michigan each year. Since Nebraska entered the league. In the first seven years of the era of the Cornhuskers in the Big Ten, the Wolverines will have traveled to Lincoln -- one of the iconic spots in college football -- just once.
Of all the byproducts of league expansion in the Big Ten, this might be the most unfortunate considering the anticipation among some of the bigger programs in the conference (Michigan included) about Nebraska’s addition to the league.
Beyond the continued lack of Nebraska, this is also the first idea of what the nine-game schedule will look like in the Big Ten. And the traditional rivalries also remain on the same track.
In 2016 and 2017, the Wolverines will still have Ohio State and Michigan State either both at home or both away in the same season. Considering Notre Dame is off the schedule after the 2014 season, this means in even number years (2016 here) the Wolverines will not play any rivals in Ann Arbor.
Not even Minnesota and the Little Brown Jug, which is off the schedule in 2016.
Michigan has Wisconsin (Oct. 1), Penn State (Oct. 15), Illinois (Oct. 22), Maryland (Nov. 5) and Indiana (Nov. 19) at home in 2016. The Wolverines travel to Rutgers (Oct. 8), Michigan State (Oct. 29), Iowa (Nov. 12) and Ohio State (Nov. 26) that season.
The next year, Michigan opens its Big Ten schedule at Purdue on Sept. 23 followed by an off week. Michigan has Michigan State (Oct. 7), Rutgers (Oct. 28), Minnesota (Nov. 4) and Ohio State (Nov. 25) at home in 2017. Along with the Boilermakers, the Wolverines travel to Indiana (Oct. 14), Penn State (Oct. 21), Maryland (Nov. 11) and Wisconsin (Nov. 18).
The potential end of the 2017 season, with a trip to Wisconsin followed by the rivalry at home against Ohio State, could prove to be a tricky stretch for a team which will see its highly-rated 2013 and 2014 classes as seniors or fifth-year seniors that season.
The release of the schedule also completes the 2016 schedule, where the Wolverines will have eight home games but no rivals.
In 2017, Michigan will have no more than seven home games, but have Michigan State and Ohio State guaranteed to visit Michigan Stadium, along with Cincinnati in the non-conference schedule.
2016 Big Ten schedule:
Oct. 1: Wisconsin
Oct. 8: at Rutgers
Oct. 15: Penn State
Oct. 22: Illinois
Oct. 29: at Michigan State
Nov. 5: Maryland
Nov. 12: at Iowa
No. 19: Indiana
Nov. 26: at Ohio State
Dec. 3: Big Ten title game
2017 Big Ten schedule:
Sept. 23: at Purdue
Oct. 7: Michigan State
Oct. 14: at Indiana
Oct. 21: at Penn State
Oct. 28: Rutgers
Nov. 4: Minnesota
Nov. 11: at Maryland
Nov. 18: at Wisconsin
Nov. 25: Ohio State
Dec. 2: Big Ten title game