This is written with zero disrespect to Northern Iowa. I’ll laud UNI’s football program as much as anyone. The Panthers took me to a national-title college football game, something Iowa and Iowa State never have.
But Iowa — and any other Big Ten team — should never lose to an FCS team. With the advantages in scholarship numbers, with much-larger athletic budges, with everything they have to attract better recruits, there’s no reason a Big Ten team should fall to anyone from the FCS division.
Tell that to Michigan, which lost to Appalachian State in 2007. Tell it to Minnesota, which fell to South Dakota in 2010 and North Dakota State in 2007 and 2011.
North Dakota State was the FCS national-champion last year, by the way. It won at Colorado State last Saturday.
North Dakota State is in the Missouri Valley Football Conference along with UNI. And Youngstown State, which won at Pittsburgh on Sept. 1.
Iowa hasn’t fallen in the FCS trap. Since 1995, it has played eight games against FCS teams, and has won them all. The only one that sticks out, of course, was the Hawkeyes’ 17-16 squeaker over UNI in 2009.
The Panthers could have won that game, and perhaps should have. Iowa didn’t bring it. UNI did.
UNI is a cut above the vast majority of all FCS programs, so I don’t begrudge Iowa playing the Panthers one little bit. UNI is a better opponent than many nonconference FBS teams Iowa has dragged into Kinnick Stadium over the years, many of them from the Mid-American Conference.
The Hawkeyes host UNI again in 2014. And it has North Dakota State in 2016. Fine. Good opponents, both. But Iowa also plays Missouri State next year and Illinois State in 2015. Yecch.
Here is Iowa’s results against FCS clubs since 1995:
1995 UNI W 34-13
1997 UNI W 66-0
2005 UNI W 45-21
2006 Montana W 41-7
2008 Maine W 46-3
2009 UNI W 17-16
2010 Eastern Illinois W 37-7
2011 Tennessee Tech W 34-7
That’s an average score of 40-9. Yecch.
UNI, it should be noted, is a very respectable 9-22 vs. FBS teams, including three wins apiece over Iowa State and Kansas State, as well as victories over Eastern Michigan, Ball State and Ohio.
That was pre-Bill Snyder Kansas State, in 1985 and 1986, and in Snyder’s first year there, 1989. Snyder has scheduled many, many teams not up to UNI’s standards in his history as K-State’s coach. He probably wanted nothing more to do with the Panthers after that game in ’89.