When the Big Ten expanded to twelve teams, the Nebraska-Iowa matchup seemed like a no-brainer to turn into a rivalry. And now that game will get rivalry-like billing.

The two universities announced on Monday that their 2011 matchup in Lincoln and the 2012 matchup in Iowa City will be played on the day after Thanksgiving, in their respective years.

“Iowa playing Nebraska on any given weekend is a great match-up between two historic football programs,” said Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta. “Having the game on Thanksgiving Friday will add to the excitement and the potential for a strong national television audience.”

The Friday games will also give the student-athletes a two-day holiday break before returning to classes on Monday. The change in dates was recently approved by the Big Ten Conference Administrator’s Council, but times and television information have not been finalized at this point.

“Our staff and players are excited to begin competing with Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving this season and in 2012,” said Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz. “College football played on this day has a well-established rivalry history, and we feel it will be a great opportunity for our program to join in a new chapter of Big Ten history. These Friday games should help create great atmosphere, both in Lincoln this fall and in Kinnick Stadium in 2012.”

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