Iowa has four nonconference football dates. It has chosen to fill two of them this year with games against teams from the Mid-American Conference.
The reason for this: The Hawkeyes wanted two games they would have very good chances to win.
That's not exactly a revelation. But perhaps you aren't aware of just how pronounced Iowa's (and the Big Ten's) dominance over MAC teams has been.
The Hawkeyes are 7-0 against their Sept. 1 opponent, Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes have outscored the Huskies, 281-67. Rounded off, that makes the average score of those games 40-10.
Iowa is 2-0 against its Sept. 22 foe, Central Michigan. The Hawkeyes outscored the Chippewas in those meetings by a total of 90-21.
The MAC has the same 85-scholarship limit as the Big Ten, but you know how that goes. When is the last time you ever heard of a prized recruit spurning a Big Ten program for, say, Akron or Eastern Michigan?
This is what is passed off as September competition in major-college football. Sure, a few of the Big Ten-MAC games will be competitive. The MAC may even steal one or two. Central Michigan won at Michigan State in 2009. It went 12-2 that season. (It then went 3-9 in 2010 and 2011). And while Iowa is 18-0 against the rest of the MAC, it is a blood-curdling 0-2 against Western Michigan.
Hey, who's to say Northern Illinois can't knock off Iowa this year? Maybe Ohio will sting Penn State next Saturday. Ohio is good. But overall, there isn't a MAC-Big Ten game that stirs the soul before they kick off.
Here are the Big Ten's records against the 13 current MAC members. I did not take away the wins that have been taken away from Penn State and Ohio State in light of their recent NCAA sanctions. As I've said before and will say again, the NCAA is not the boss of me.
Ohio State 28-1
Penn State 19-2
Michigan State 34-6
There are 11 more Big Ten-MAC meetings this season. The over-under on Big Ten wins is 10.5.