IOWA CITY — Iowa has signed the contract and officially will kickoff the 2017 football season with a home game against Wyoming.
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta served as Wyoming’s AD for three years before being hired at Iowa in 2006. Iowa now has a full non-conference schedule for ’17, with Wyoming, at Iowa State and a home game against North Texas.
You want to a home-and-home with Texas. You want to play Missouri in St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome. You want Iowa State off the schedule.
Never say never, but for now, none of that will happen.
Barta said Thursday that Iowa’s scheduling philosophy is “pretty aggressive.”
“We’ve always tried to play two BCS teams,” he said. “It didn’t work out every year, but we played Iowa State and this year we play Pittsburgh.”
When the Big Ten moves to a nine-game schedule in 2016, Barta said the second BCS game then will come from the Big Ten schedule.
“We’re trying to find some different types of teams that we haven’t played as often,” Barta said. “The Mountain West is a conference we’re interested in. We’ll still play some MAC [Mid-American Conference] teams. But if someone wants us to play a BCS team every week, that’s not realistic. Nobody in the country is doing that, so we have a balance.
“I know there are some people who think we’re fine and some people who complain, but with the addition of the ninth Big Ten game, our continued commitment to play Iowa State, if we run the table with that schedule, I’m very confident we’ll be considered for the national championship [playoff].
“At the end of the day, we want to win a Big Ten championship and we want to compete for a national championship. With the way we schedule, we’ll be in position to do that.”
The nine-game Big Ten schedule will wipe out the College Football Playoff non-conference game. Next season’s game at Pittsburgh is the last non-conference road game that isn’t Iowa State for the foreseeable future. Iowa will play host to Pitt in 2015 and then the nine-game conference schedule kicks in for ’16.
“We added another BCS game [CFP game starting this year] by adding another Big Ten game,” Barta said. “If someone doesn’t like that concept, they might not like what we’re doing. I think most of our fans are excited about the combination of two things, 1) we’re playing another Big Ten team and 2) with the reshuffling of divisions, we’re playing Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern and Illinois every year. What a great thing that is for fans as far as driveability.”
Not all of you are going to agree. Barta knows this.
“Our job is to win a Big Ten championship and a national championship,” Barta said. “With the way we’re scheduling, with the addition of the ninth game in the Big Ten, we have to win games, but our schedule puts us in that position.”
Another factor in Iowa scheduling is the fact that it needs seven home games for the revenue. Any game against a CFP opponent would likely require a home-and-home series. A nine-game league schedule pinches that.
“Well, if we want to pay all the bills,” Barta said of needing seven home games. “It’s not just at Iowa. When we went to nine games in the Big Ten, every athletic director chimed in, ‘If we’re going to go to nine Big Ten games, all of us have scheduled our situation so we have seven home games.’”
Barta also referenced the economic impact an Iowa home football game has for the Iowa City/Coralville area. A 2010 study compiled by the UI and the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau showed a $14 million influx for each game weekend.
“If you took one of those out, not only would it affect the athletics department budget, it would take millions of dollars out of the community,” Barta said. “Seven home games is critical. We could go to eight if that worked out, but seven is minimum.”
|30||Northern Iowa (FF)|
|13||Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series)|
|28||Nebraska (Hy-Vee Heroes Game) (S)|
|5||Illinois State (FF)|
|12||at Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series)|
|27||at Nebraska (Hy-Vee Heroes Game)|
|3||Miami (Ohio) (FF)|
|10||Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series)|
|17||North Dakota State|
|5||at Penn State|
|25||Nebraska (Hy-Vee Heroes Game) (S)|
|9||at Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series)|
|30||at Michigan State|
|24||at Nebraska (Hy-Vee Heroes Game)|
|27||at Penn State|
|23||Nebraska (Hy-Vee Heroes Game)|
|29||at Nebraska (Hy-Vee Heroes Game)|