Don’t Freak Out Over UNI On Football Schedule

October 12, 2017

Written by Jon Miller

On Thursday, Iowa announced that it has completed it’s 2020 football schedule with the addition of Northern Iowa.

Some fans tweeted me their concerns over this move.  ‘What does this do for Iowa?’ was the gist of the dissenters, one telling me the following:

We are all entitled to our opinion on such trivial matters, and I disagree with the dissenters. I am fine with Iowa adding Northern Iowa to their 2020 slate for a few reasons. First, here is the schedule for 2020:

Northern Iowa
Iowa State
at Minnesota
Northern Illinois
Michigan State
at Ohio State
at Penn State
Northwestern
bye
at Illinois
Nebraska
at Purdue
Wisconsin

Road games at Ohio State and Penn State back to back? Home games against Nebraska and Wisconsin? Each of those contests are big games. Home against Michigan State? Yup, another big game against a quality foe. Northwestern has given Iowa fits, and the game at Minnesota could be a stiff challenge if PJ Fleck rights the boat up there. Purdue seems to be moving in the right direction under their new coach, too.

On the whole, this is a very challenging schedule, so the inclusion of an FCS foe from the state of Iowa? I have no problems with it.

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Now, the aforementioned tweeter does have a point:

I won’t argue with him on the ‘schedule a weaker FCS foe’ point. But I think playing UNI is probably a good thing for a lot of people in the state, especially UNI. I don’t agree with loading up with another stout FBS foe, in an era where Iowa plays nine conference games. That’s too much too soon for an Iowa program that is nearly always developing in September.

I’d be fine doing something like that if you could play the game in say mid to late October, but that is unlikely to happen.

For those who just don’t want to see Iowa play an FCS team, thinking it hurts them and or their stature, or the respect card…

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11 of 14 SEC teams currently have games scheduled against FCS teams for the 2020 season. The three that do not, Alabama, Arkansas and Missouri. Each of those programs plays an FCS team on an annual basis and still has open schedule slots for 2020, so you can assume they will also join their SEC brethren in scheduling FCS foes during that season.

The SEC also plays an eight-game conference schedule, not the nine-game slate the Big Ten plays.

So on the whole, I have no qualms with Iowa scheduling an FCS opponent, even if the wanted to do that on an annual basis. They’d still play as many Power 5 games as most of the SEC schools and the nine-game conference schedule compared to the eight played by the SEC isn’t as fair to begin with when you consider the dog and pony show that is required for FBS playoff inclusion.

But hey..did you see next year’s schedule? When you look at how it lines up, and with how many key players Iowa will return next year, I REALLY like this one:

Northern Illinois
Iowa State
Northern Iowa
Wisconsin
bye
at Minnesota
at Indiana
Maryland (HC)
at Penn State
at Purdue
Northwestern (FW)
at Illinois
Nebraska

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