Iowa will resume its most-played football rivalry this weekend at Minnesota. The Hawkeyes have played the Gophers 104 times, making it the fourth most-played rivalry among Big Ten schools (tied with Illinois-Northwestern, behind Minnesota-Wisconsin, Indiana-Purdue and Michigan-Ohio State).
Iowa has played Wisconsin 86 times, the second most-played rivalry for the Hawkeyes. That’s no real surprise either.
But which Big Ten school is next for Iowa? Why it’s permanent cross-divisional opponent Purdue. The Hawkeyes and Boilermakers have played 81 times, outdistancing Indiana and Northwestern by eight game for Iowa’s third most-played rivalry. Iowa and Purdue played every year from 1959 through 1994. The Boilermakers beat Iowa 20 consecutive years from 1961 until 1981, when Hayden Fry’s Hawkeyes stopped Purdue 33-7 en route to the Rose Bowl. Iowa won every game from 1982 through 1992.
As for the rest of the Big Ten, Iowa has played both Northwestern and Indiana 73 times, Illinois 69, Ohio State 63, Michigan 56, Michigan State 42, Nebraska 41 (all non-conference) and Penn State 24.
Among current non-conference opponents, Iowa has played Iowa State 59 times, easily the most. Next in line? Notre Dame with 24. Iowa played the Fighting Irish every year from 1945 through 1962. In fact, the Hawkeyes were scheduled to end their regular season against Notre Dame every season from 1951 through 1964. The 1963 game was cancelled after President Kennedy’s assassination.
As for in-state opponents, Iowa has played Northern Iowa and Drake each 15 times, a tie for third most until next fall, when UNI plays at Kinnick Stadium. Second-most currently goes to Grinnell with 17. The Hawkeyes last played Grinnell on Oct. 20, 1917, and Iowa lost 10-0.
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