The Gophers and Nebraska are scheduled to play each other in the regular-season finale in 2020 and 2021, and both games are penciled in for Saturdays.
Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos earlier this week said those games will be moved to Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving. Mark Coyle, the Gophers’ AD, said any change would have to go through the Big Ten office but that he’s supportive of a move.
“We’d have those conversations with the Big Ten Conference. We’d be open to those conversations,’’ Coyle said Wednesday at the Gopher Road Trip stop at Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd. “… We wouldn’t be opposed to that.’’
The Gophers are scheduled to play Nebraska in Lincoln on Nov. 28, 2020, and play host to the Cornhuskers on Nov. 27, 2021.
Nebraska’s long-term goal is to get Iowa back on the schedule on Black Friday, and Moos said that will happen beginning in 2022. The Cornhuskers and Hawkeyes have played on Black Friday since the Huskers joined the Big Ten in 2011. Nebraska also played on that day from 1989 to 2010 when it was in the Big 12.
The Gophers and Wisconsin have played in the regular-season finale since 2014 and will through 2019. Coyle would welcome a return to that matchup in 2022.
“The rivalry we have with Wisconsin – the longest rivalry in college football -- there’s some uniqueness and excitement around that game, and it’s an important game for us and Wisconsin,’’ Coyle said. “We would be supportive of playing Wisconsin that last game, but ultimately that’s going to be decided by the Big Ten.’’
Other tidbits from the Gopher Road Trip stops in St. Cloud and Brainerd:
** Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck, who has 11 verbal commitments for the recruiting Class of 2019, said he expects 13 or 14 more to complete the class.
** Fleck on the youth of his team: “They don’t know how good they are, and they don’t know how bad they are. Sometimes, young people really shock you, and sometimes it’s, ‘They’re young, that’s what they do.’ That’s the process you have to go through.’’
** Fleck on winning: “When we do win a championship at some point, not one of you are going to be fulfilled. … You’re going to like it so much, you’re going to come to me and say, ‘We’re going to do it again next year, aren’t we Coach?’ ... That’s what we want.’’
** Fleck said the Gophers had the highest grade-point average in the history of the program for the third consecutive semester. In addition, he said no player received an ‘F’ grade. “Out of 100 football players, not one kid failed a class. I’ve never been a part of that in my entire career,’’ he said.
** Fleck gave a tip of the cap to rowing coach Wendy Davis, whose team finished ranked No. 20 in the nation despite frozen conditions this spring. “Rivers, lakes have to be unfrozen to actually be on them,'' he said. "To have two feet of snow in April and not be on the water until after April and finish in the top 20 is equivalent to taking away our football fields for practice, the entire spring and fall camp, and showing up for the season and saying, ‘Play.’ … What Wendy has been able to accomplish is extraordinary.’’