The Iowa football team began preparation for the 2019 season this month. Here is an early look at the 2019 slate of games.
Last season the Iowa football team finished with a second consecutive bowl victory after defeating 18th ranked Mississippi State in the Outback Bowl, capping off their season with a 9-4 record.
The 2018 season started off great with three straight non-conference wins before entering the schedule of Big Ten play. After defeating the two other Iowa schools UNI and ISU, the Hawks dropped a tough one to Wisconsin, but they would rebound their next three games to get to 6-1 before dropping three straight to Penn State, Purdue and Northwestern. Iowa would rebound once more by defeating Illinois and Nebraska to end the regular season at 8-4.
As we look ahead to this upcoming season, the Hawks will once again face some tough conference foes: Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Let’s not forget, however, we can’t overlook Purdue and Northwestern as they came away with big wins against the Iowa football team last season. Furthermore, Northwestern would go on to claim the Big Ten West title.
As far as the non-conference schedule goes (and the overall September schedule for that matter), the Iowa football team’s schedule will look a bit different than in the past as they will face Miami of Ohio for the season opener before quickly entering Big Ten play against Rutgers in week two.
After what should be an easy Big Ten opening game against Rutgers, the Iowa football team goes right back to their non-conference slate with an away game versus in-state rival Iowa State and a home game against unfamiliar Middle Tennessee State to end the month of September.
As soon as the Hawks end their non-conference battles, they face a tough conference schedule as they will take on Michigan (in Ann Arbor), Penn State, Purdue, and Northwestern (in Evanston) in four consecutive weeks. After a much-needed bye week, the Iowa football team then travels to Madison to take on the Badgers. This stretch of games will arguably be the most important to the Hawkeye’s season as they look to avenge those tough losses from a season ago in their attempts to claim the BIg Ten title.
Taking a deeper look at a couple of the Hawks upcoming opponents, Middle Tennessee State is a newcomer to Iowa City as Iowa has never faced the Blue Raiders before. Middle Tennessee State finished 2018 with an 8-6 record and received a bowl invite to the R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl for the second time in school history. Unfortunately, their season ended with a 45-13 loss to Appalachian State.
Meanwhile, Miami of Ohio finished 2018 with a 6-6 record overall and 6-2 record in the conference. The Redhawks were not invited to a bowl game, and they have not played the Iowa football team since 2016. History is on the Hawks side in this series as Kirk Ferentz’s squad is 4-0 against Miami of Ohio.
The other opponent that I would like to bring up for 2019 is Michigan. The Iowa football team and the Wolverines took a year off from facing off in 2018 after a big upset in 2017 that gave the Hawks their biggest win of the season. This is quite possibly the toughest game on the schedule as Michigan finished 2018 at 10-3 and 8-1 in the Big Ten Conference and they return a slew of players including former five-star quarterback Shea Patterson.
Next season could be a tough one for Kirk Ferentz’s team. With half of the 2018 starters gone, the Iowa football team will have an entirely new (albeit very talented) defensive line, inexperienced tight ends, and a young secondary to go along with a tough schedule that features five difficult away games (Iowa State, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Nebraska).
If the Iowa football team can win three of the five away games and take care of business at home as they should, we could be looking at a 10-2 season. As we saw last year, however, things can get ugly quickly as the losses pile up. Either way, we are just five months away from Iowa football again.