IOWA CITY, Iowa - Thursday was a milepost for the summer — 100 days until Iowa’s football season opens with a home game against Indiana.
By that afternoon, we knew the start times of seven of the Hawkeyes’ 12 games.
So it was easy to start thinking about football before we had even gotten to the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. It doesn’t really seem right, but after the uncertainties of last season, it’s OK to start looking ahead.
It looks like it’s going to be a back-to-normal season after the pandemic-induced shortening of the 2020 season — full stadiums, non-conference games, etc. — so I started thinking about what this season could look like.
• Look at those first two games.
Indiana should be nationally ranked heading into that 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa State certainly will be ranked, likely in the top 10, when the Hawkeyes go to Ames on Sept. 11 for a 2:30 p.m. game.
Split those two games, and you have a choice of either one win in the Big Ten standings, or a win over your in-state rival.
Lose both, and the vise on the season ahead gets a little tighter, and you really don’t want that in mid-September.
Win both, and suddenly you’re high in the national polls with plenty of momentum.
It’s not going to be an easy start.
• I’m glad the Iowa State game isn’t going to be at night.
But 2:30 p.m., with a spot on ABC, is a perfect time for what should be a classic game in the rivalry.
• I don’t know how I feel yet about Iowa playing a Friday night game Oct. 1 at Maryland.
I’m not a big fan of Friday night college football, certainly not in October when it’s competing against the high school games. But it is a reality in a world where the TV networks need inventory.
• I’ve been trying to picture what a Friday night game at Kinnick Stadium would be like. I know it likely isn’t going to happen, given the logistical nightmare for the neighborhood and the campus. But it would be interesting to see it happen.
• Kirk Ferentz doesn’t like Friday games in the middle of the season.
It comes at an interesting time. It’s a short week, but the Hawkeyes play Colorado State at home the weekend before. It also gives an additional day to prepare for the Oct. 9 home game against Penn State.
Given all of that, it will be a crucial test for the Hawkeyes as the hit the bulk of their conference schedule.
• That Penn State game feels like it’s going to be a night game.
• I find it interesting that the Oct. 30 game time at Wisconsin has already been set. It could have major West Division title implications, but it’s set for 11 a.m.
• The back-to-back road games against Wisconsin and Northwestern, followed by back-to-back home games with Minnesota and Illinois, make for an interesting stretch run.
• A 12:30 p.m. start at Nebraska for the annual Black Friday game is perfect.
• The next 100 days will go quickly.