Iowa stays on Black Friday with Nebraska
IOWA CITY -- Iowa better make the most of its trip to Columbus this week because the next time the Hawkeyes play in Ohio Stadium will be 2020 at the earliest.
The Big Ten released its 2018 and 2019 football schedules, and the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes won't compete in either season. That means Saturday's game in Columbus is the only meeting between the schools at the Horseshoe over at least an 11-year period.
The schedules extend the Iowa-Nebraska series on Black Friday. The schools began playing each other the day after Thanksgiving in 2011, the first year the Cornhuskers joined the Big Ten. As first reported by The Gazette, Big Ten officials considered shaking up the season finales by pitting the Cornhuskers against Wisconsin and moving Iowa back to its traditional finale against Minnesota.
In cross-divisional action, the Hawkeyes will play at Indiana, Maryland and at Penn State in 2018. Iowa opens the Big Ten slate in 2019 with a Sept. 7 date against Rutgers. The Hawkeyes also play at Michigan and home against Penn State.
Some other interesting scheduling notes:
Iowa does not have a home game scheduled against Michigan State through at least 2019. The Hawkeyes' only regular-season match-up against the Spartans is slated for Sept. 30, 2017 in East Lansing.
Over the two-year period, every Big Ten week with at least two games contains at least one match-up of traditional league heavyweights (Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State) except for Nov. 2, 2019.
The league shook up its traditional start dates by staggering early-season match-ups into the schedule. In 2018, Northwestern and Purdue open the season on Sept. 1 against one another. Rutgers plays at Ohio State on Sept. 8.
In 2019, like 2013 and 2014, is a year with double idle dates. Iowa-Rutgers play on the second week, while Ohio State plays at Indiana on Sept. 14. Three league match-ups take place on Sept. 21.
The league adjusted its final weekend of rivalries for four East Division squads. In 2017 and 2018, Penn State and Maryland close out the season against one another. In 2019, Rutgers concludes its season against at the Nittany Lions.