Iowa officials say at least two Iowa football games this fall are being considered for primetime on ABC.
The two mentioned include Iowa’s Sept. 19 game against Arizona and then Sept. 26 game at Penn State, Iowa officials have said. The official primetime schedule has not been released.
Iowa (9-4 last fall) likely will have day games at home against Michigan (Oct. 10) and at Wisconsin (Oct. 17). Both games are homecoming matchups, and the schools avoid primetime for homecoming week, the officials said.
Of Iowa’s 13 games last year, only one — the regular-season finale at Minnesota— was played in primetime. Iowa played seven games on the Big Ten Network, four games on the ESPN family of networks and twice on ABC. This fall, Iowa hosts seven games and travels for five. Iowa has played in primetime four times since 2006 – twice on the Big Ten Network and twice on ABC. Two of those games were at Kinnick Stadium.
As for Iowa’s schedule, it rivals many of the toughest in the nation. Iowa’s opponents finished 87-67 last year. Iowa faces seven bowl teams, including three on the road that played in January 1 or BCS bowls. Iowa plays only three teams with losing records last year — Iowa State, Michigan and Indiana — all of whom have beaten Iowa at least once since 2006.
Iowa opens against Northern Iowa (12-3 last year), which lost in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals last December. It’s possible Iowa may win the game but not by a comfortable score to secure a high poll position.
Iowa then travels to Iowa State (2-10), a place Iowa had not won since 2003. Iowa has lost four of its last five at Iowa State.
“We pick up UNI, which obviously is a good football team,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We just have to look back to 2005 (a 45-21 Iowa win). They were a tough, competitive team and had great success and continue to have great success. Iowa State is always a tough game for both teams.”
Iowa then host Arizona(8-5), which beat a 10-3 Brigham Young team in the Las Vegas Bowl. Iowa’s final non-conference game — which comes one week after the Big Ten opener — is against Arkansas State (6-6), which upset Texas A&M last year.
Iowa hosts Northwestern (9-4, Alamo Bowl), Minnesota (7-6, Insight Bowl), Michigan (3-9) and Indiana (3-9) in Big Ten play. Iowa’s road Big Ten schedule is treacherous, where teams went 37-15 last year. Iowa plays at Penn State (11-2, Rose Bowl), Ohio State (10-3, Fiesta Bowl), Michigan State (9-4, Capital One Bowl) and Wisconsin (7-6, Champs Bowl). Iowa has lost the last five at Ohio State, last four at Michigan State and its last game at Penn State and Wisconsin, respectively.
Ferentz said he hasn’t thought much about the schedule.
“The Big Ten is always going to be a challenge,” he said. “Right now, I’m not too worried about it. We’ll move into that once we get through spring ball.”
The Alamo Bowl announced today it will play in primetime on Saturday, Jan. 2 on ESPN. The San Antonio-based bowl now makes four Big Ten bowls on either Jan. 1 or Jan. 2.
“This year’s calendar has provided us an excellent prime time Saturday time slot that will allow the Valero Alamo Bowl to reach a wide audience,” said Derrick Fox, Valero Alamo Bowl President/CEO. “The January 2 date should also work well for people traveling to the game as they can celebrate Christmas at home and then spend a long weekend ringing in the New Year in San Antonio.”
Iowa middle linebacker Pat Angerer was named to the 2009 Lott Trophy Watch List. The Lott Award is given to the nation’s best defensive player.