Blair Kerkhoff

Nebraska, Iowa State had football games canceled. Let them find each other in KC

Fans at Memorial Stadium stand in the pouring rain during a lightning and rain delay in the first half of an NCAA college football game between Nebraska and Akron, in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Fans at Memorial Stadium stand in the pouring rain during a lightning and rain delay in the first half of an NCAA college football game between Nebraska and Akron, in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) AP

Disappointed as Nebraska and Iowa State are about their weather-canceled season openers on Saturday and with the schools and football programs finding scheduling alternatives difficult, here’s a proposal.

Cornhuskers vs. Cyclones, Dec. 1, at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Chiefs are at Oakland the next day, so there would be no quick turn-around issue at the stadium. Actually, the date falls three weeks into a month of the Chiefs not playing in their home stadium, with a bye week and two games away from Kansas City.

Dec. 1 is conference championship day in Iowa State’s Big 12 and Nebraska’s Big Ten, and that’s the preferred destination for the programs. So pencil in the meeting, unusual circumstances call for unusual measures.

Nebraska was set to kick off the Scott Frost era Saturday against Akron. Some 225 miles away, Iowa State was to meet South Dakota State. Both games started at 7 p.m.

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The Huskers got the kickoff when lightning was spotted within eight miles of Memorial Stadium, and the game was halted. With lightning dancing around the stadium throughout the area over the next few hours, the contest never resumed.

After the game was called off around 10 p.m., there was talk of trying to reschedule for 10:30 a.m. Sunday. But by 1 a.m., Akron was on a plane headed home. For the first time in 128 years, Nebraska lost a football game to weather.

The Cyclones got in about four minutes of action and had scored a touchdown when lightning struck. The teams waited nearly 2 1/2 hours before making the call.

Sunday, Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard issued a letter to fans and suggested some alternative scenarios like finding an opponent on the Cyclones’ open date of Oct. 20.

But that’s a longshot because Iowa State would need to find an opponent that also experienced a cancellation or for some reason hadn’t scheduled 12 games.

The same would be true of Nebraska. The Huskers’ open date is Oct. 27.

However, Pollard left open the possibility of playing on Dec. 1, for bowl eligibility.

“Should we finish the regular season with six or more wins we would not need to play a 12th game to be bowl eligible,” Pollard said. “As a result, we may keep our bye week as is and simply develop a contingency plan for a game on Dec. 1st, should we need a 12th game for bowl eligibility.”

What better plan than turning a regular-season football game into an occasion by reuniting old Big 12/Big Eight rivals who have played 105 times but not since 2010? And at Arrowhead, where both programs have previously played?

Split the gate, find a title sponsor and charitable component, and make it a weekend.

A sea of red indeed, only with different teams.

Blair Kerkhoff

Blair Kerkhoff covers the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals and college sports for The Star.

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