After a solid 2018 campaign, Iowa football will enter 2019 with pretty high expectations. Kirk Ferentz’s team will face a number of tough opponents along the way, though.
In the Big Ten West, there is obviously stalwart Wisconsin, defending division champion Northwestern, an impressive Purdue team, and Nebraska, which is expected to improve a ton in year two under Scott Frost. The Hawkeyes also travel to Michigan and host Penn State in back-to-back weeks.
The non-conference slate isn’t too daunting, at least at first look. Rival Iowa State is the headliner of that group, as usual.
Both the Cyclones and Hawkeyes are in strong stretches right now, so the Cy-Hawk game could have some added intensity this year.
In a new ESPN college football article, Adam Rittenberg thinks it is another non-conference match-up that Iowa should make sure not to overlook.
ESPN took a look at the game on the schedule that each Top 25 team should “beware.”
Iowa comes in at No. 23, and Rittenberg writes that the Sept. 28 game against Middle Tennessee, right before the two daunting Big Ten East opponents, could be a trap game spot.
Iowa State was a nonstarter, in case you wondered, as the Cy-Hawk game could feature two ranked teams. Two weeks later, Iowa returns to action against a team it should beat but one that has recorded just one losing regular season since 2008. Open weeks often create sluggishness, and Iowa until recently would always struggle in one non-league home game. Michigan and Penn State loom after this one, but Iowa shouldn’t look past the Blue Raiders.
MTSU is usually a very solid Group of Five program, and it has been game to upset some Power Five teams in recent years.
Under longtime head coach Rick Stockstill, the Blue Raiders have wins at Syracuse, Missouri, Georgia Tech, and Maryland twice.