An honest talk about the Cy-Hawk game and Iowa’s nonconference football schedule, a potential in-state NCAA Tournament game and more
The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Wednesday, April 19.
Time for a Cy-Hawk chat
Gather round. We need to talk. This is a conversation we can’t ignore anymore. Really it’s a public service announcement and starts with a reminder.
Iowa chooses how it fills out its nonconference schedule.
It needs to be said. In news cycle years, the Iowa nonconference schedule is old enough to collect social security and it doesn’t appear it’s going away anytime soon.
The debate started anew with Iowa scheduling Middle Tennessee State for 2019 on April 11. The move made headlines when Fox Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd trashed Iowa’s nonconference scheduling practices. It transformed into a referendum on whether the Iowa and Iowa State series needs to end, thanks to stories from the Des Moines Register, Hawkeye Nation and, yes, Land of 10.
Well, the conversation has continued with the extension of the Cy-Hawk series through 2023 on Tuesday.
The Iowa-Iowa State game isn’t going anywhere. If we’re being honest, it’s a good thing. The nonconference rivalry benefits both teams, engages both fan bases and adds a little spice and unpredictability to a sport that comes off more regimented than the Army.
Yes, an improved Iowa State team would help the Hawkeyes, but there is no reason to complain about the Cyclones when that isn’t the case. Iowa doesn’t control how good Iowa State is.
This is just 1 game. The Hawkeyes are free to schedule anyone else for the other 2 nonconference contests. Anything from Alabama to a gimme game is an option.
The Hawkeyes decide to bring in the likes of Wyoming, North Texas and Northern Illinois. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with how Iowa schedules. One Power 5 conference opponent and 2 lesser Division I teams is as common in college football as finding a Law & Order rerun on cable.
If the Hawkeyes were concerned about the strength of their nonconference schedule, Middle Tennessee State would be replaced with a stronger opponent.
Why doesn’t Iowa do it? In 2011, the Big Ten announced it a 9-game league schedule would begin in 2017. The days of 4-game nonconference schedules were done. The Hawkeyes typically played an FCS opponent, a MAC-like squad, Iowa State and a TBD opponent, which alternated between a Power 5 opponent and a MAC-type foe.
Iowa got rid of the TBD opponent. Gone were Pittsburgh and Western Michigan. In were Big Ten games with the likes of Maryland and Michigan State. When the Panthers were on the schedule in 2014 and ’15 it was a net wash, flipping 1 Power 5 program out for another. Compared with Western Michigan in 2013, the future schedules are tougher.
It was a logical move for an athletic department wanting to host 7 games in Kinnick Stadium each season. Land of 10’s Scott Dochterman and Cedar Rapids Gazette’s Marc Morehouse explained the reasoning in their latest On Iowa podcast.
The extra home game helps balance Iowa’s budget and helps local businesses, aka donors, which in turn also helps the Hawkeyes’ bottom line.
So Iowa does what it wants … but there is an unused option. The Hawkeyes could schedule a marquee nonconference opponent in a neutral site game every few years, when they think the team will be on an upswing.
And it’s easier to do than it may appear. One nonconference opening exists in the 2020 schedule. Iowa State is the only nonconference opponent scheduled thus far for 2021-23.
Facing someone along the lines of Oklahoma, TCU or Oregon 2 or maybe 3 times in a 10-year period is a win for everyone: Talk of the nonconference schedule goes away. Those wanting another big matchup get it. The local businesses and athletic department that rely on the additional home game still get it most years.
Most importantly, it ends the possibility of the Iowa nonconference schedule debate residing next to Keith Richards and some cockroaches when the world ends.
Bring on March Madness
The NCAA named Des Moines a first- and second-round site for the 2019 Men’s Basketball Tournament on Tuesday.
2019 #MarchMadness sites
First Four: Dayton
Salt Lake City
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 18, 2017
Now Iowa fans can start dreaming about an in-state tourney game or 2 for the Hawkeyes — it could be a real possibility. The core of the roster will be upperclassmen and the biggest glaring weakness with the current roster construction — rim protection and post defense — is mitigated by the underclassmen.
DSM hosting in 2019. Potential Iowa roster in 2019. Pretty salty. NCAA tries to place 1-4 seeds close to home (16 teams) pic.twitter.com/RKhERKLXue
— Jon Miller (@hawkeyenation) April 18, 2017
Jane Meyer trial update
The jury heard opening statements in the Jane Meyer sexual-orientation and gender discrimination case on Tuesday. Mark Emmert of the Des Moines Register described her lawyers and those for Iowa painting 2 different portraits of Meyer.
Expect the case to come down to whether the jury believes that Meyer was a dutiful employee wronged by her supervisor or an insubordinate staff member.