Iowa Hawkeye Football Schedule Prep: Week 6 vs. Washington

Each Monday, we'll look ahead game by game with a brief preview of the 2024 football schedule. In Week 6, the Hawkeyes get their first real taste of the new-look Big Ten.
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington
2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

The Big Ten Conference has expanded to 18 teams with the addition of four former PAC-12 programs. In Week 6, the Iowa Hawkeyes will get their first opportunity to square off with one of those teams as they host the Washington Huskies.

Iowa hasn't played Washington since the 1995 Sun Bowl, which Iowa won 38-18. The only times these two met in the Rose Bowl, Washington took both games by a combined score of 74-34. However, Iowa and Washington are tied in the all-time series 3-3.

So, what can Iowa expect from one of the Big Ten's newest additions in a more modern age?

Last season, the Huskies had a remarkable run, going undefeated until the final game - the College Football Playoff National Championship.

While that game was just a few months ago, for Husky fans it likely already feels like a decade ago. Seemingly no team, short of the Michigan Wolverines, that had national championship aspirations last year has undergone more turnover since the conclusion of the college football season.

Head coach Kalen DeBoer bet on himself and will replace Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa. Michale Penix Jr and nearly his entire cast of elite talent are either in the NFL or with another program.

The Huskies had their best season in decades in 2023, and somehow, everything is worse now.

Washington returns just two starters from 2023, the fewest of any FBS program. Those players are linebacker Alphonzo Tuputala and cornerback Elijah Jackson - while fine players, they're not two of the elite players headlining last year's national championship runner-up roster. (To Jackson's credit, he did break up the final pass of the Sugar Bowl.)

The Huskies have to look to new faces going forward.

Jedd Fisch takes over as the new head coach after rebuilding Arizona from one win to 10 in three seasons. He brings along 12 former Wildcats via the Transfer Portal.

Fisch and the Huskies had to be aggressive in the Transfer Portal and they were, securing 22 commitments. Washington lost 29 players in the portal, though. Effectively, the Huskies broke even, ranking 24th in On3's 2024 Transfer Portal rankings.

However, the recruiting class (including the incoming transfers) ranks No. 49 in the country, and 15th in the Big Ten, according to On3. The elite talent DeBoer had acquired is largely gone and it's not clear that Fisch has enough to start with to replicate immediate success.

Will Rogers, a record-setter at Mississippi State the past four years, takes over at quarterback. Dermaricus Davis and Demond Williams Jr. are two promising young quarterbacks behind him on the depth chart.

Outside of Rogers, the Huskies lack established star power. Of course, there is talent, but how well they mesh is a huge question mark for this program in 2024.

All of that said, it wouldn't be wise to completely write off the Huskies.

Iowa will be coming off its road trip to Ohio State. Washington hosts Michigan before their road trip to Iowa City. On one hand, if both teams are coming off of losses, Iowa's will be more painful. If Iowa is coming off a win and Washington isn't, overlooking the Huskies could be an issue. If the roles are reversed, Washington rolls in with a ton of confidence.

Washington is a team Iowa should beat, but we start to get into that stage of the season where context is everything. The biggest benefit for the Hawkeyes is playing this one on home turf, saving the cross-country trip against one of these new conference foes for later in the season.

The game is set for October 12 with kickoff time and television and streaming channels to be announced at a later date.

You can check out last week's early preview against Ohio State here.

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