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Cincinnati, Nebraska agree to home-and-home series

Jul 18, 2013, 6:58 PM EDT

Bearcats head coach Cronin shouts instructions to his team while playing against the Bluejays during the second half of their second round NCAA tournament game in Philadelphia

Both Cincinnati and Nebraska moved one step closer to finalizing their respective non-conference schedules, as it was announced Thursday that the two schools have agreed to a home-and-home series.

The first of the two meetings will take place at Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena on December 23, with the Huskers hosting the return meeting during the 2014-15 season.

Cincinnati’s entering its first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference, and while there are still some quality conference opponents on the schedule it’s nothing like the gauntlet that awaited them annually as a member of the Big East.

With that in mind, head coach Mick Cronin and athletic director Whit Babcock will need to do more when it comes to the non-conference portion of the schedule in future seasons. Why? Doing so will ensure that Cincinnati’s strength of schedule numbers put them in a good spot when NCAA tournament time rolls around.

The question regarding the Cincinnati/Nebraska series is this: which sport did the influencing, basketball or football? Also announced was a two-game series in football, which will provide a considerable boost to the Bearcats’ schedule in that sport.

The Bearcats and Huskers will play at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. on Sept. 12, 2020 season. Nebraska will return the game and play at Cincinnati on Sept. 13, 2025.

Cincinnati (1885) and Nebraska (1890) have combined to play 248 seasons of football, but have met only once on the gridiron, a 41-0 road loss for the Bearcats in 1906.

The strength of schedule dilemma is even more pronounced in football (especially when Louisville and Rutgers leave the American in 2014), and that was even an issue when the Big East (football-wise) was intact.

As for Nebraska, the addition of Cincinnati to the schedule gives head coach Tim Miles a tough opponent on a non-conference schedule that currently includes FGCU, Miami and a spot in the Charleston Classic (the Huskers open against UMass, which should be a contender in the Atlantic 10).

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.