For the Nebraska Cornhuskers, the start of the 2018 season under first-year head coach Scott Frost was far from ideal. Actually, it was so rough an Iowa bar trolled and a fast food chain completely roasted the fan base. Luckily, things got better after losing the first six games.
Although the Huskers will not play in a bowl game, not even one with a weird sponsor following a 4-8 season, the program and athletics department can officially close the book on this year’s campaign and move on after reaching an agreement with the Akron Zips to pay them $650,000.
But Nebraska football didn’t even play the Zips this season. Is this a joke? How is this possible? Well, the two teams were supposed to play at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska to open the season on September 1, but the game was canceled due to inclement weather.
The original contract signed in 2014 was for Akron to receive $1.17 million for the game, which is not completely outlandish. These buy games happen all across the country, but things happen. Hurricane Florence definitely made an impact for several NCAA teams and athletic departments for their home openers.
So the two schools reached and finalized an agreement for Nebraska to pay Akron $650,000 right now, and the Huskers will host the Zips for a home game in 2025. Akron will be awarded $1.45 million guaranteed for that game.
“We are pleased to finalize an agreement with Akron that is beneficial for both institutions,” Nebraska athletic director Bill Moos said in a statement. “We have had good dialogue with Akron during this process and are appreciative of the cooperation and patience from everyone involved. We look forward to Akron making a return trip to Memorial Stadium in 2025.”
Let’s just say that money will definitely cover the Zips’ travel costs from Ohio to Nebraska over Labor Day.
This situation presents so many what-if’s for the Cornhuskers, too. If the game wasn’t canceled due to bad weather and a lightning storm, would Nebraska have won? If the season opener wasn’t canceled, would Scott Frost still have lost the next six games? Would the jokes from the local Iowa bar or Wendy’s even happened at all?
Nobody can change the past, including the canceled game and the makeup against Bethune-Cookman during an open date. So this will forever be the $650,000 college football game that never happened in 2018, and the one that probably would have helped change Nebraska’s season instead of celebrating for the first time in mid-October.