Kinnick After Dark: Iowa-Wisconsin Set for Primetime Kickoff

By RossWB on September 10, 2018 at 8:55 pm
Kinnick After Dark
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Kinnick at night? It's so nice we're doing it twice this year -- in back-to-back weeks, no less. This weekend's game against UNI was previously scheduled as a night game (6:30 PM CT, BTN), but now we know that next weekend's game against Wisconsin is also going to be a night game: 

The atmosphere at Kinnick Stadium this year through the first two games of the season has been tremendous, with the new north end zone locking in more sound and making things even more raucous. The atmosphere at Kinnick for a night game against a hated rival... who also happens to be a Top-10 opponent? That should be absolutely phenomenal. 

Iowa has a strong record in night games at home; the Iowa media guide lists an official record of 11-5, including five wins in their last six night games. The only exception? The buzzer-beating loss to #4 Penn State last season... almost exactly 365 days prior to this year's showdown with Wisconsin (that game was September 23, 2017). Gulp! 

Of course, Iowa has also developed a reputation as a giant-slayer in Kinnick Stadium, owing to their excellent recent record against Top-5 opponents. Since Daniel Murray & Co. slew #3 Penn State in 2008, Iowa is 4-1 against Top-5 opponents in Kinnick, with wins over #3 Penn State (2008), #5 Michigan State (2010), #2 Michigan (2016), and #3 Ohio State (2017). (The only loss was, again, last year's game against Penn State.) Now technically speaking Wisconsin isn't a Top-5 team -- they've never been higher than #6 in the Coaches Poll this year and they slid down to #6 in the AP Poll this week. If you want to see Wisconsin as a Top-5 team next week, root for Iowa State or Ole Miss to pull off home upsets against #5 Oklahoma or #1 Alabama, respectively -- or root for #15 TCU to beat #4 Ohio State (probably the most plausible potential Top-5 loss this weekend) in JerryWorld. Of course, it's just as accurate to say that Iowa is 4-1 against Top-10 opponents as it is to say that they're 4-1 against Top-5 opponents -- it's just cooler to say Top-5. 

Iowa will probably need all of their night game/giant-killer/Kinnick mojo, given that their recent track record against Wisconsin is fairly miserable. Since 2010, Iowa is just 1-5 against the Badgers and several of those losses haven't been particularly close. Last year's game also featured Iowa's worst offensive performance of the Kirk Ferentz era, so yeah: bring out every trick and advantage you can find for this one. 

Unlike the past few night games against Top-5 opponents, this game will be on FOX and it's going to be called by their top broadcast team, Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt. 

The last time Gus called an Iowa game... well, you may remember that: 

Let's hope Iowa gives Gus something equally as good to lose his mind over this time. 

And since we wonder about this whenever Iowa hosts a big game: could College Gameday come to town? Let's go with... definitely maybe. It's not the most loaded weekend in terms of matchups; right now there are just two games featuring two ranked opponents -- #23 Arizona State at #10 Washington and #9 Stanford at #20 Oregon. Iowa is not currently ranked (even though Tim Brando repeatedly assured us that the winner of the Iowa-Iowa State game would be ranked this week) and doesn't seem particularly likely to get ranked by next week; a win over UNI is not going to move the needle much and they're pretty far outside the Top 25 at the moment (#32 in the AP Poll and #37 in the Coaches Poll). 

It also doesn't help Iowa's cause that this game will be on FOX rather than ESPN or ABC. That's not a dealbreaker -- Gameday has gone to games aired by FOX or CBS in the past -- but it doesn't help, especially since ASU-Washington will be on ESPN and Stanford-Oregon will be on ABC. On the other hand, it has been 12 years since Gameday was in Iowa City and they would certainly relish the storyline possibilities with the Kinnick Wave and the UI Children's Hospital. We'll find out next weekend if Gameday is indeed headed back to Iowa City. If they do return, they'll be in the same spot they were in 2006 -- Hubbard Park. 

Finally, this game is also the Black-Gold Game, so if you're wondering which color to wear: 

Bring on the Badgers under the lights. 

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