The broad strokes of Iowa's 2019-20 wrestling schedule have been known for a while, but some of the details were missing and nothing had been officially confirmed by Iowa. Well, now at last we have an official schedule. And it's a good one:
|SUN 11/17/19||2:00 PM||CHATTANOOGA||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|SUN 11/24/19||2:00 PM||IOWA STATE||Ames, IA||--||--|
|SUN 12/1/19||--||WISCONSIN||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|SUN 12/8/19||2:00 PM||PRINCETON||Princeton, NJ||--||--|
|SUN 12/29/19||all day||MIDLANDS||Hoffman Estates, IL||--||--|
|MON 12/30/19||all day||MIDLANDS||Hoffman Estates, IL||--||--|
|FRI 1/10/20||--||INDIANA||Bloomington, IN||--||--|
|SUN 1/12/20||--||PURDUE||West Lafayette, IN||--||--|
|SAT 1/18/20||7:00 PM||NEBRASKA||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|FRI 1/24/20||7:00 PM||OHIO STATE||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|FRI 1/31/20||7:00 PM||PENN STATE||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|SUN 2/2/20||--||MICHIGAN STATE||East Lansing, MI||--||--|
|SAT 2/8/20||--||MICHIGAN||Ann Arbor, MI||--||--|
|SAT 2/15/20||7:00 PM||MINNESOTA||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|SUN 2/22/20||7:00 PM||OKLAHOMA STATE||Iowa City, IA||--||--|
|SAT 3/7/20||all day||BIG TEN TOURNAMENT||Piscataway, NJ||--||--|
|SUN 3/8/20||all day||BIG TEN TOURNAMENT||Piscataway, NJ||--||--|
|THU 3/19/20||all day||NCAA TOURNAMENT||Minneapolis, MN||--||--|
|FRI 3/20/20||all day||NCAA TOURNAMENT||Minneapolis, MN||--||--|
|SAT 3/21/20||all day||NCAA TOURNAMENT||Minneapolis, MN||--||--|
A few thoughts:
The downside to the Big Ten's current schedule rotation is that it can result in some massively disappointing schedules with a lack of compelling matchups, like last year's slate for Iowa that was sans Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan. The good part of that rotation is that when it does click for Iowa, it does so in a big way, which is evident on this schedule, which brings Nebraska, Ohio State, and Penn State to Iowa City on back-to-back-to-back weekends in January, as well as a February trip from Minnesota. (February also brings a non-conference visit from Oklahoma State.) Overall I think a rotation that guaranteed Iowa at least one marquee conference dual a year at home would be better, but if the Delanybot 9000 can't accommodate that, at least we get absolute dynamite schedules like this every now and then.
Just to emphasize the point: this is an absolutely stellar home schedule. The Penn State dual on 1/31 should be absolutely electric, but the Ohio State dual should be very good as well and the Oklahoma State dual is always intense. You know it's a great home schedule when duals with Minnesota and Nebraska, hated border rivals and perennial Top 10 teams, are the fourth and fifth best duals on the slate.
Iowa is set to open up the year with a home date with Chattanooga in mid-November; if you wanted to make a Hawkeye sports weekend out of it, you could hit up the men's basketball game with Oral Roberts on Friday night, the football game with Minnesota on Saturday, and the dual meet with Chattanooga on Sunday afternoon. (Women's basketball is also at home against North Alabama on Thursday night, although they'll be at Cedar Falls for a game on Sunday.)
The annual Cy-Hawk tilt follows that, the weekend before Thanksgiving. Last year's Cy-Hawk dual was the closest in a decade, so we'll see what the teams have in store for an encore this year.
December opens up with a visit from Wisconsin (which could see a few big-time clashes between Seth Gross and Austin DeSanto at 133 and Evan Wick and Alex Marinelli at 165), before Iowa heads out to New Jersey to face Princeton in the back half of a home-and-home series that began last year. That 12/1 Wisconsin dual is the last chance to see Iowa in CHA until mid-January, incidentally.
As usual, Iowa will head to Midlands around for some tournament action around Midlands.
After a weekend road trip to the Hoosier State on 1/10 and 1/12 to face Indiana and Purdue, the good part of Iowa's schedule kicks into gear. Minus Iowa State and Midlands, the first half of the schedule is really just an appetizer; but the main event that hits in mid-January to mid-February is all killer, no filler (well, some filler -- there's a trip to Michigan State sandwiched in there).
Again, the gem on this schedule is the 1/31 Friday night fight with Penn State. They haven't visited Iowa City since sweeping Iowa aside 26-11 in 2017. They've been putting together an impressive dual meet winning streak over the last few years; assuming they win all of their pre-Iowa duals this year, that winning streak should be at 67 when they hit CHA. Iowa's best-ever dual winning streak is 69 (nice), which ran from 2008 to 2011 and ended with a 15-15 tie with Oklahoma State. The all-time dual winning streak in the sport is 74, held by Oklahoma State from 1937-1951. The atmosphere for Iowa-Penn State should be off the charts anyway, but adding the winning streak to the mix will only add a little more fuel to the fire.
Incidentally, the Iowa-Penn State dual is also listed as the "Pioneer Showdown" on Iowa's schedule page. I hope this means that both teams have to wrestle in pioneer-era outfits.
The dual meet schedule wraps up with a visit from Minnesota (always fun, even if the Gophers haven't been up as much in recent years) and Iowa's oldest rival, Oklahoma State. The Cowboys embarrassed Iowa in Stillwater last year with a 27-12 thumping; time for Iowa to get some revenge this year.
Postseason-wise, the Big Ten Tournament will be hosted by Rutgers out in Piscataway, NJ, while the NCAA Tournament will be hosted by Minnesota and held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.
- TV information hasn't been set yet, but I'd expect several of these duals to air live on BTN if you're not able to attend them in-person. As always, we'll update our schedule page with more TV/start time information when it's available.
This year's Iowa team would already be extremely exciting to watch just based on the returning firepower it has -- two-time NCAA champion Spencer Lee, plus All Americans Austin DeSanto, Pat Lugo, Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli, Michael Kemerer, and Jacob Warner. This is the best team Iowa has had in several years and one that's poised to make a legitimate run at Big Ten and national championships. But on top of that they're also wrestling a loaded schedule against hated rivals and some of the best teams in the sport? Get your season tickets, because there's going to be a lot of great action to see on the mat this winter.