As Nebraska football coach Scott Frost discussed the issue of player safety Tuesday on the Big Ten teleconference, he alluded to his team playing 12 straight weeks this season, a clear sign Husker officials are indeed gearing to play Oct. 27.
Nothing's final on that front, Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said later Tuesday, "but we're working toward that."
The Oct. 27 date had been open on Nebraska's original schedule but now likely will be the date to replace the Sept. 1 contest against Akron that was canceled by sustained lightning.
"With all these cancellations from last week, there's a bottleneck of teams that are looking for games," Moos said. "I think Scott would like to play Oct. 27, but we don't have anything signed or delivered."
Moos said he hopes to have an opponent in place by the end of the week.
The Journal Star was told an FCS school is being finalized as the opponent.
"That could be," said Moos, noting Nebraska can count a win against an FCS team toward becoming bowl-eligible because there's not another FCS team on the schedule. "But there's red tape that FCS schools have to go through to get waivers to play a 12th game. There's several out there that have that date open that we've talked to. It could be finalized by the end of this week."
Moos had said Sept. 5 there's a standing verbal agreement for Nebraska and Akron to attempt to reschedule the game for Saturday, Dec. 1, if neither team is in its conference championship game.
"To me, that would be the most-solid option," he said at the time.
But plans have changed.
Frost last week stated his preference for playing Oct. 27 instead of Dec. 1 because Nebraska intends to qualify for the Big Ten Championship Game, played on Dec. 1.
During the league teleconference Tuesday, Frost was asked if the NCAA should consider the possibility of starting the season a week earlier and leaving open the week before "Championship Saturday" as a national makeup date.
Although the coach initially expressed skepticism, he added, "It's something to talk about."
"We're in an era, and rightfully so, when player safety has become the most important factor in decisions," he said. "It kind of makes me scratch my head sometimes that we're so worried about player safety, but … our team's going to play 12 weeks in a row."
Also on the teleconference, Frost was asked about striking what can be a delicate balance — that is, winning now versus making decisions for the future.
"We're doing everything we can to win right now," he said. "There's no sacrificing the now for later. The best thing we can do for the future is be the best we can right now. Like I've said a bunch of times, there's a bunch of stuff to fix. But right now, our guys need the confidence of winning a game. It's going to happen sooner or later. I think they see the results and improvements they've made; it just hasn't led to a win, yet.
"We've just got to keep plugging. It's not easy. The biggest thing we have to get across to our guys is when the chips are down in those close games, one play can make a difference, and we need to be at our best and executing perfectly in every phase, particularly at those key moments."