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IOWA CITY - The Big Ten's new alignment and scheduling rotation will give Iowa the chance to play its league border rivals every year and the flexibility to continue its series with Iowa State on an annual basis.
Talk about your ultimate win-win.
The league's council of presidents and chancellors approved a geographic split among its 14 schools and a nine-game league football schedule beginning in 2016.
The West Division, which includes Iowa, will play four home games in even-numbered years and five home games in odd-numbered years. That scheduling sync allows Iowa to keep its rotation with Iowa State intact. The Hawkeyes host in even-numbered years; the Cyclones play host to Iowa in odd-numbered seasons.
Iowa requires seven home games each season for financial stability.
“As it turned out, the way it's split, we're able to keep our seven home games, which I've said from the beginning is critical,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said. “All of us agreed that we needed to preserve seven home games. In order to do that, the 5-4 split was critical for us in Iowa to continue our rivalry with Iowa State. It worked out. We had the opportunity to continue to play that game uninterrupted.
“Jamie (Pollard, Iowa State's athletics director) and I have talked over the years. If the conference scheduling ever changed, beyond either of our controls, that would be something that we'd have to take a look at. The options in that case would have been, do we interrupt it and restart it? Do we stop the series? But fortunately it didn't come to that. The way that it came out, we're able to continue the series uninterrupted.”
Iowa and Iowa State have played every season since 1977. The schools have a contract through the 2017 season.