Iowa wrestling officially released the 2018-19 schedule, despite the fact that many of the dates and opponents had been known for some time thanks to releases from other schools. It's frankly not a very enticing schedule, although to be fair, I did warn you that this was likely.
Here's the full schedule:
|FRI 11/9/18||CSU Bakersfield||Kent, OH|
|FRI 11/9/18||Kent State||Kent, OH|
|FRI 11/16/18||Princeton||Iowa City, IA|
|SAT 11/24/18||Purdue||Iowa City, IA|
|SAT 12/1/18||Iowa State||Iowa City, IA|
|SAT 12/8/18||Lehigh||Iowa City, IA|
|SAT 12/29/18||Midlands Championships||Hoffman Estates, IL|
|SUN 12/30/18||Midlands Championships||Hoffman Estates, IL|
|SUN 1/13/19||Minnesota||Minneapolis, MN|
|FRI 1/18/19||Rutgers||Iowa City, IA|
|FRI 1/25/19||Illinois||Champaign-Urbana, IL|
|SUN 1/27/19||Northwestern||Evanston, IL|
|SUN 2/3/19||Nebraska||Lincoln, NE|
|FRI 2/8/19||Maryland||Iowa City, IA|
|FRI 2/15/19||Indiana||Iowa City, IA|
|SUN 2/17/19||Wisconsin||Madison, WI|
|SUN 2/24/19||Oklahoma State||Stillwater, OK|
|SAT 3/9/19||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, MN|
|SUN 3/10/19||Big Ten Tournament||Minneapolis, MN|
|THU 3/21/19||NCAA Tournament||Pittsburgh, PA|
|FRI 3/22/19||NCAA Tournament||Pittsburgh, PA|
|SAT 3/23/19||NCAA Tournament||Pittsburgh, PA|
Start times and TV information will be added later.
A few thoughts:
- As we figured, Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan are rotating off the schedule. They'll be back next year, but it's unfortunate that they're all gone this year -- and it leaves quite a hole in Iowa's schedule, especially on the Big Ten side of things, where the most difficult dual is... Nebraska? Maybe Minnesota if their turnaround is further along?
- This is an especially weak schedule if you're a season ticket holder because the best home dual is... Iowa State? The Big Ten opponents at home are Purdue, Rutgers, Maryland, and Indiana; the most enticing league opponents (Minnesota, Nebraska) are road duals. And the top non-conference opponent (Oklahoma State) is also a road dual this year. The fact that Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan all rotated off the league schedule at the same time AND Oklahoma State is an away dual is really just a perfect storm of misfortune.
- On the other hand, this also would have been a great opportunity for Iowa to try and schedule something with a top-tier non-conference opponent they rarely see, such as Arizona State or Cornell or Missouri or NC State. Alas, that didn't happen.
- Lehigh is a somewhat novel opponent, but they've visited Iowa in recent years and, stylistically, they're unlikely to be an opponent Iowa fans enjoy watching. Their matches tend to be very... tactical, if you're being generous. (Or stall-happy if you're not feeling so generous.) Princeton is the other notable non-conference home opponent and they'll be a fresh opponent as well as a team able to provide a few interesting matchups (such as Pat Lugo vs Matthew Kolodzik, who finished 3rd at the NCAA Tournament at 149 lbs last year).
- It's also a lousy home schedule if you, uh, just want to go to Carver and see the Hawkeyes wrestle. Iowa has only seven home dates this year and four of them are in November and December. There's a two-month stretch (December 8 to February 8) where Iowa's only home event is a dual meet with Rutgers on January 18.
- Iowa opens the year on the road with a pair of duals against CSU Bakersfield and Kent State in Kent, OH. That's an interesting change of pace.
- For the first time in quite a while, the Iowa City Duals aren't on the slate. That event could be frustrating because of the non-competitive nature of so many of the bouts, but it was a cheap way for local fans to see Iowa in action, as well as a chance for wrestlers at smaller programs like Iowa Central or Cornell College to have a chance to wrestle at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, so it's still a little sad (and surprising) to see it apparently gone.
- The Oklahoma State dual is very late in the season (2/24), which is unfortunate since they're easily the most intriguing (and challenging) opponent on this schedule.
- Barring something hugely unexpected, Iowa should win their season-opening dual with CSU Bakersfield on November 9th; that will be a momentous win for Iowa, as it will be the 1000th dual meet victory in program history
- This year the Big Ten Tournament is in Minneapolis and the NCAA Tournament is out east in Pittsburgh.
- On the whole, this is definitely not a super-exciting schedule, but there will still be some good individual match-ups and we'll still get lots of chance to see Iowa's very exciting team (led by the likes of Spencer Lee, Michael Kemerer, Alex Marinelli, Jacob Warner, Sam Stoll, Pat Lugo, and Austin DeSanto) go out and do their thing.