Nebraska vs. Oregon, 9/9/17

Nebraska defensive coordinator Bob Diaco tosses the ball around during warmups on Saturday at Autzen Stadium.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR

Let’s go for a midweek drive and daydream about the 2021 schedule … or anything else.

1. OK, one note on the schedule stuff from yesterday. Mark Rudner from the Big Ten office said league schedules for 2022 and beyond will be out soon. That’s to help schools plan as nonconference games get slated further and further out into the future. That certainly includes Nebraska.

The Huskers have at least one game scheduled for every season through 2031. In fact, that game, against Arizona in Tucson, is set for exactly 14 years from today. Kickoff time (CDT) still to be determined. What were you doing 14 years ago? What will college football look like in 14 years? Bill Snyder will probably still be coaching Kansas State, but besides that, who knows? The Rock’s two-term presidency could come and go by that time.

2. Back in the present, the Big Ten is loaded with good running backs. It’s sort of old fashioned, really.

We're early in the season, of course, but currently seven of the nation’s top 20 rushers call the Big Ten home. Some of the names are familiar and some are newcomers.

Wisconsin freshman Jonathan Taylor currently paces the group (310 yards, No. 7 nationally). After that come Nebraska sophomore Tre Byrant (299, No. 9), Penn State junior Saquon Barkley (260, No. 14), Maryland junior Ty Johnson (256, T-15), Ohio State freshman J.K. Dobbins (253, No. 17), Michigan senior Ty Isaac (247, No. 18) and Iowa senior Akrum Wadley (247, No. 20).

Wonder if Big Ten teams will still run the dang ball in 2031.

3. While the Huskers have a game scheduled 728 weeks out, Indiana just found an opponent to play in less than four.

The Hoosiers had their game this weekend against Florida International canceled due to Hurricane Irma, so they promptly scheduled Charleston Southern for their original bye week on Oct. 7. The Buccaneers had their game against South Carolina State canceled as well and their bye lined up with IU’s. This way, the Hoosiers still play six home games (and gain six home games worth of revenue) and don’t lose a chance to add a win for bowl resume purposes.

Elsewhere, Florida Atlantic was still in Madison, Wisconsin, this morning after playing the Badgers on Saturday. UW extended an invitation to the Owls before the game, offering to pay and provide practice facilities for the team to stay extra time if Irma didn’t allow them to return.

4. Hopefully you didn’t miss the big Nebraska basketball news Tuesday. Isaac Copeland is eligible immediately. Here’s Chris Basnett’s story.

Big year for the program. Intriguing group of talent. Opening night less than two months away.

5. In my old stomping grounds, there’s 10 inches or more of snow in the forecast for the weekend. How’s the skiing around here, anyway? I forgot to ask before I arrived in Lincoln.

6. Huskers defensive coordinator Bob Diaco has his own way of discussing football. Or, North American Football. I always appreciate a unique perspective.

For instance, a coach could say, “We have to keep fighting for the whole game, even when it’s hard.”

Diaco on Tuesday said, “When you’re in the arena, and you are trading blows, you know that you are the competitor. And you’re either going to rise in that moment with competitive greatness, or there’s going to be a moment where you wilt. And there’s not a whole lot of words that can change that circumstance while it’s happening. And no one intends to do that. They all want it, they’re all trying hard, they all want to do well and we all want to do well. What happens is, the confidence comes because you prepare. Then you have something good that happens to you and then you feel good about it. Then you prepare better because you feel good about it and then something else good happens to you, and then you feel better about yourself, so you prepare harder. And then more good things happen, and it just keeps spiraling.

“Something other than that would just be false, fake confidence. That might be OK in pregame, but once the ball turns over, it won’t have lasting effects.

“Sorry about the length of that answer.”

Don’t be.

Contact the writer at pgabriel@journalstar.com or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.

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Sports writer

Parker joined the Journal Star as the University of Nebraska football beat writer in August 2017. He previously covered Montana State athletics for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 2012.

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