The Iowa Hawkeyes had a disappointing season in 2012, finishing with a record of 4-8 and winning just two games in the Big Ten. This season, Iowa returns 13 starters and will look to improve upon last year’s poor performance. There are still some questions on this team, especially at the quarterback position. However, one thing in the Hawkeyes’ favor is the fact that the schedule could set them up for some success.
Iowa opens up the season with five games that can all be labeled as winnable.
Northern Iowa visits Kinnick Stadium in Week 1 for a rematch from last year. Iowa was victorious in that game, and holds an 8-0 record all-time in the series. Following that game, the Hawkeyes will host Missouri State out of the Football Championship Subdivision. Iowa has not lost to an FCS team in over 70 years.
Following two home games, Iowa goes on the road to face in-state rival Iowa State. This game can always be unpredictable, but the Hawkeyes, who were defeated 6-9 by the Cyclones last season, should have the better team this year and come out on top. Games against Western Michigan at home and at Minnesota should also be chalked up as Iowa wins. Iowa defeated Minnesota 31-13 last season.
After the first part of the schedule, things get much tougher for the Hawkeyes as they enter into the meat of the conference schedule.
Luckily for the Hawkeyes, they get to host Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Michigan. While that’s some of the best competition in the conference, stealing a win or two from that list isn’t out of the question. Over the last 10 years, Iowa is 51-16 at home. By hosting these games, the Hawkeyes has a great chance pull off an upset and put together a successful season.
There’s no doubt that when looking at the schedule, the Hawkeyes face some very difficult competition. However, several big home games and a fairly easy first part of the schedule will give the team an opportunity to improve upon their 2012 record.