The possibility of Iowa-Penn State being a primetime kickoff seemed high before the season began; now it's official.
— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) September 11, 2017
The game will be televised ABC/ESPN, with kickoff set for 6:30 PM CT on Saturday, September 23. Both Iowa and Penn State are 2-0 so far this season, though the Nittany Lions have had an easier time getting there than the Hawkeyes. They torched Akron 52-0 in week one and beat local rival Pitt 33-14 last week. Iowa, of course, beat Wyoming 24-3 in their opener, before outlasting their own local rival, Iowa State, 44-41 in OT on Saturday.
Iowa and Penn State have more than a little history playing games under the lights, of course. Officially, Iowa and Penn State have played four games kicking off in primetime, in 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2016. Iowa and Penn State have gone 2-2 in those games, with Iowa picking up a very memorable win in Happy Valley as part of their 9-0 start to the season in 2009 and a comprehensive 24-3 win over Penn State in Iowa City in 2010. Penn State has had more success in recent years, throttling Iowa in Iowa City in 2012 and in Happy Valley in 2016. Still, football after dark has been pretty good to the Hawkeyes in the Penn State series -- in addition to the games already mentioned, the 2008 game kicked off in the afternoon, but finished under the lights, with Daniel Murray slaying the Nittany Lions.
Iowa's recent history in night games at Kinnick is also strong -- they won all four games played under the lights in 2015 (beating Pitt and Minnesota in thrillers) and in 2016 (crushing Iowa State and upsetting Michigan). In fact, since night games became a regular part of Iowa's schedule in 2006, Iowa has gone 11-5 in regular season night games, including 8-2 at home (the only losses were to Ohio State in 2006 and Penn State in 2012).
This game could also see the return of ESPN's College GameDay pregame show to Iowa City. While Gameday doesn't always broadcast from the same location as the Saturday night ABC game, it often does. The college football schedule isn't loaded with big games in two weeks, either. The only ranked-vs-ranked games (based on current rankings) are set to be #20 TCU at #9 Oklahoma State and #25 UCLA at #19 Stanford. GameDay was in Stillwater for the Bedlam game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in November 2015. Stanford has only ever hosted GameDay once, in 2011, for a USC-Stanford clash. GameDay locations aren't set until the weekend before, so we'll have to wait until next Sunday to know if Iowa City will be hosting College GameDay for a third time or not.
Bring on the lights. Bring on the black-and-gold striping in Kinnick. Bring on the drama. To get you properly hyped, why not watch this excellent video from Iowa's 2009 win in Happy Valley, starting with Brent Musberger's tremendous pregame hype spot:
P.S. Don't forget that you can get all the Penn State football information you need from our blog pals at Roar Lions Roar.