Should Iowa end season against same rival or change it up?

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ANSWER: This remains an interesting topic and it will continue to generate headlines once the Big Ten releases its 2022-23 schedule. Iowa has concluded its season against several different teams over the last 70 years, so let’s give a historical rundown before I share my opinion.

From 1951 through 1964, Iowa was scheduled to play Notre Dame at the end of every season. The only year the teams didn’t play was in 1963, a day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

For two years Iowa ended its season against nonconference opponents Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina State before finishing against Illinois from 1967 to 1972. Then from 1973 to 1982, the Hawkeyes ended their season against Michigan State. Beginning in 1983, Iowa and Minnesota completed their seasons against the other almost annually through 2000 (Iowa had a nice trip to Hawaii in 1984).

With 11 teams in the Big Ten, the league schedule was unbalanced enough that the Hawkeyes and Gophers couldn’t play last every season. In 2001, Iowa faced Iowa State in a rescheduled game because of the September 11 terrorist attacks. The Floyd of Rosedale game concluded Iowa’s regular season in 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2008-10. In 2003 and 2004, the Hawkeyes played Wisconsin and the latter meeting decided a share of the Big Ten title. In 2007, Iowa faced Western Michigan. When Nebraska joined the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers were scheduled to meet last every season from 2011 until 2019. In 2020 and 2021, Iowa and Wisconsin will play last.

Some rivalries demand final-week status, such as Ohio State-Michigan or Indiana-Purdue. Not to sound like a milquetoast, but I’m fine with any of Iowa’s trophy games as the season finale, whether that’s for an extended period of time or in a rotation.

I thought the Iowa-Nebraska series built up a ton of equity on Black Friday. Iowa-Wisconsin would make for a terrific annual finale. I think the Cy-Hawk and Floyd of Rosedale rivalry games have better spotlights at different times of the season, but I’d be fine there, too. Shoot, you could throw Northwestern in the final week and that would be just as spirited as the others.

If you had to pin me down, I’d go with Iowa-Wisconsin based on the game’s importance, the programs’ recent success, the proximity, rivalry and tradition. But if you topped the Heroes Trophy with a turkey, I’d change my mind.

Iowa’s regular-season finale opponents (1951 to 2021)

Notre Dame 1951-1962, 1964 (1963 cancelled)
Michigan 1963
North Carolina State 1965
Miami (Fla.) 1966
Illinois 1967-1972
Michigan State 1973-1982
Minnesota 1983, 1985-2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008-2010
Hawaii 1984
Iowa State 2001
Wisconsin 2003, 2004, 2020, 2021
Western Michigan 2007
Nebraska 2011-2019

The post Should Iowa end season against same rival or change it up? appeared first on Land of 10.

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