Its been three months since the Hawkeyes closed out their home schedule with a 33-2 win over Northwestern in Carver-Hawkeye Arena which has given fans plenty of time to start looking forward to their next trip to Iowa City. While the University has yet to announce the schedule for the 2018-19 season, other schools have slowly released details regarding their schedules, which has given us a glimpse into what the future holds for the Hawkeyes.
With each new season there are a number of things we can come to expect for the typical schedule from the Hawkeyes. For starters, there is the Big Ten mandated nine conference duals that we can count on to take place year in and year out. With 14 team teams in the Big Ten and nine dates, mathematics tells us that there will be four conference teams that will not appear on the schedule.
We also know that Iowa and Minnesota will face each other as permanent conference rivals. With that knowledge, along with the information we have received from other teams, we already has a decent picture as to what opponents the Hawkeyes will face this year.
Of the teams that have released information regarding their next year schedule we have confirmation that Iowa will have home duals against Purdue, Maryland, and Rutgers. Purdue even went as far as to putting the date for that meeting, November 24th.
That gives us six of the nine duals, leaving three dates for seven opponents. Based on the rotation that Iowa has traditionally used (home dual-away dual-off schedule) it appears that both Northwestern and Illinois* should be scheduled as away duals for the Hawkeyes since both schools were off the 2016-17 slate and both schools traveled to Iowa City last season. Using that same rotation strategy, Indiana – a team the Hawkeyes did not face this past season would logically slot as Iowa’s last remaining home conference matchup.
(*Since this article was published the University of Illinois has announced that their dual against Iowa will take place in Champaign on January 24th. Nebraska has also listed their date with the Hawkeyes, February 3rd in the Devaney Center)
This of course means that Penn State, Michigan, and Ohio State, who all finished the 2018 postseason holding a NCAA team trophy, will not appear in the Hawkeyes’ schedule.
For non-conference action we can expect the Hawks to continue their annual rivalries with both Oklahoma State and Iowa State, with the former taking place on the road and the latter at Carver. We also know that Kent State has already announced that the Hawkeyes will be traveling to Ohio in November to dual the Flashes.
As it stands now Iowa is also expected to attend the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Illinois. The tournament has been the Hawkeyes’ midseason home for the majority of the past three decades. We also saw Brands significantly beef up the competition of the Iowa City Duals last year, bringing in Division I programs Buffalo and North Dakota State. It seems likely Iowa would retain that event as well.
What that all means is that the Hawkeyes, through no fault of their own, look to have a less-than-stellar dual lineup next season with their toughest matches – Minnesota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma State all taking place on the road. Unless Brands already has a couple of teams lined up for the Iowa City Duals it looks like Iowa will miss a lot of the nation’s top programs on paper.
What remains to be seen is what Iowa does with their remaining dates available on the schedule. Given the lack of strong home matchups might this be the time that Iowa re-installs the instate battle with Northern Iowa? The Panthers are expected to feature a team that is capable of cracking the top ten in the country next season as they retain all of the 2018 starters and will benefit from the return of Bryce Steiert, who is coming off of redshirt.
This also doesn’t mean that Iowa couldn’t schedule Penn State on their own, but since the meeting wouldn’t be mandated by the Big Ten conference it would be on both schools to try and find a date that fits into both programs’ schedule. Both Brands and Sanderson got together (on Twitter of all places) five years ago to do something similar.
Regardless the Hawkeyes could use at least one more big ticket program if they wish to continue their current 12 year streak of leading the country in attendance.
|ISU (12/1)||Nebraska (2/3)|
+Denotes Big Ten opponents who have not been confirmed
|Big Ten Programs Projected To Be Off Cycle Year Opponents for Iowa