Third time's the charm? After announcing plans to resume the season October 23-24 a few days ago, the Big Ten unveiled the new schedule for the 9-game season they plan to play this fall. This follows on from the original 9-game league schedule they had released several years ago (when Corona just referred to a cheap Mexican beer) as well as the 10-game schedule they released back in August. Will this schedule actually end up, you know, getting played? Fingers crossed.
Here's the full Big Ten schedule:
And the Iowa-only version of that slate:
|10/24/2020||Purdue||West Lafayette, IN|
|10/31/2020||Northwestern||Iowa City, IA|
|11/7/2020||Michigan State||Iowa City, IA|
|11/21/2020||Penn State||University Park, PA|
|11/28/2020||Nebraska||Iowa City, IA|
|12/12/2020||Wisconsin||Iowa City, IA|
|12/19/2020||Big Ten East TBA||TBA|
In terms of teams and locations, this is exactly like Iowa's original 2020 Big Ten schedule, with one very big subtraction: the game at Ohio State. As proud purveyors of lots and lots (and lots) of 55 to 24 jokes, we thank the Big Ten for this decision.
Iowa opens up on the road at Purdue, which means that -- yet again -- the Hawkeyes will open Big Ten play on the road. That's the 16th time in 22 years under Ferentz that Iowa has been on the road in the Big Ten opener. Thanks a lot, Delanybot 9000.
Iowa has back-to-back home games after that, against Northwestern and Michigan State. Iowa will be looking for their first win over Northwestern in Kinnick Stadium since (sigh) 2014, as well as their first win over Michigan State (home, away, or neutral site) since 2012 in East Lansing. (Iowa's last home win over Michigan State came back in 2010, in a game fondly recalled by all wearing black and gold.)
After those two home tilts, it's back on the road for a pair of games, first at Minnesota and then a week later at Penn State. Iowa will be looking for their sixth straight win over Minnesota; they last lost to the Gophers in 2014, in Minneapolis. While they'll be hoping to continue that streak, they'll be looking to end a more ignominious streak against Penn State; the Hawkeyes have lost six in a row to Penn State. They last beat the Nittany Lions in 2010 and their last win in State College came back in 2009.
Iowa returns home for a Thanksgiving week clash against -- who else? -- Nebraska. This game could get flexed to Friday, November 27th as well. Iowa and Nebraska were originally scheduled to take a break from their Thanksgiving week festivities this season (and next year), but the rejiggered schedule has thrust Iowa and Nebraska back into its usual spot on the rotation. It's kind of nice to have a small bit of normalcy in the midst of everything else going on.
Iowa wraps up the season with a road date in Champaign, followed by a home game against Wisconsin. More lengthy streaks on the line in those games, one good and one bad. The good: six straight wins over Illinois. The Illini last tasted victory over Iowa in 2008, in Champaign. The bad: four straight losses to Wisconsin (and seven of the last eight) and five consecutive losses to the Badgers in Iowa City (last Iowa win at home: 2008).
Incidentally, those Illinois and Wisconsin games will be the first Iowa games played in December (not counting bowl games or the Big Ten Championship Game in 2015) since they played Hawaii on December 1, 1984. (The good guys won that game, 17-6.) The only other December regular season game that Iowa has played? Kansas on December 5, 1891 (Iowa won 18-14). The temperature for those games is likely to be a bit nippy (not that there will be any fans in attendance), but is it too much to hope for a good old-fashioned snow game in one of them? That would make for a lovely spectacle (though it might give Wisconsin some unwelcome camouflage if it happened during the Iowa-Wisconsin game in Iowa City).
Finally, the ninth game of this slate for Iowa (and everyone else) is TBA. That's because those games are going to be determined by the records of the teams from the preceding eight games. So the Big Ten West leader will play the Big Ten East leader in the traditional Big Ten Championship Game, but we'll also get the Big Ten West runner-up against the Big Ten East runner-up, the Big Ten West 3rd-place team against the Big Ten East third-place team, and so on, all the way down to the last place teams in each division squaring off in a clash to determine the true worst of the worst. Details for those Week 9 games will be forthcoming; it's not entirely clear yet where they'll be played or if the Big Ten will tweak the match-ups to avoid rematches in any way.