I was scrolling through some Hawkeye football news last night and I came across the 2014 football schedule. So, I took a glance and to say the schedule favors the Iowa Hawkeyes is an understatement. Lets take a look at who the Hawkeyes will face this upcoming football season.
August 30: Northern Iowa
September 6: Ball State
September 13: Iowa State
September 20: at Pittsburgh
September 27: at Purdue
October 11: Indiana
October 18: at Maryland
November 1: Northwestern
November 8: at Minnesota
November 15: at Illinois
November 22: Wisconsin
November 28: Nebraska
The average Hawkeye fan looks at this and immediately realizes that the two hardest games of the year are the last two weeks of the year. In non conference play only one team was above .500 this past season, and that team was Ball State. Northern Iowa had a tough year in the MVC. Iowa State was absolutely dreadful, while Pittsburgh ended the year 6-6.
The non conference definitely favors the Hawkeyes.
Conference play might be even more favorable. Purdue and Indiana won a combined 3 conference games this past season and I don’t see it getting much better for the Boilermakers or Hoosiers. Maryland finished 3-5 in the ACC and 7-5 overall this past year, which doesn’t make them a scary looking team when you glance at a schedule. Northwestern won just one conference game this past year after battling a host of injuries.
Minnesota had a fine year this past season, but the Hawkeyes had no trouble with the Gophers back on September 28th defeating them 23-7. Illinois was brutal in the Big Ten, they won just one game. Iowa could go into the final two games of the year undefeated. Wisconsin and Nebraska pose the biggest threats to the Hawkeyes. The Badgers will have a good club and I expect the Cornhuskers to get back on track.
I’m just going to go out on a limb and say that Iowa has the most favorable schedule of all top tier teams in the Big Ten. Iowa plays the four worst teams in the conference this upcoming year in Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, and Northwestern.
I expect Iowa to only get better as well, they’ll return a lot of their position players and a lot of their offensive line. The only big problem will be filling the three holes at the linebacker positions when James Morris, Anthony Hitchens, and Christian Kirksey all graduate this spring.