The 2020 college football season was a wild ride. From delayed starts to limited attendance to cancelled games, things always seemed to be in limbo.
As we turn now to the 2021 season, college football appears to be on more stable footing. As we appear to be on the upswing in this pandemic with a significant portion of the US population now vaccinated and live sports happening all the time, we’re set for a full schedule.
For the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Big Ten, that means a return to non-conference games and fans back in the stands for the first time since the fall of 2019. As exciting as that is, it’s sure to be another difficult campaign for the Hawkeyes with a loaded schedule once again.
After finishing the 2020 season 6-2 and riding a six-game winning streak, Iowa gets off to a difficult start in 2021. With the Big Ten taking a page out of the SEC’s playbook, Iowa will open the year at home against Indiana. In year’s past, that would have looked like a nice tune up game. But the Hoosiers are fresh off a 6-2 campaign of their own where they finished just outside the top-10 nationally. And not only do they have virtually everyone back, but they’ve added some nice pieces via the portal.
The Hawkeyes open up the non-conference schedule on the road at perhaps the best Iowa State team in the last two decades. The Cyclones figure to be ranked inside the top-10 nationally in week two and will present an enormous challenge for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa rounds out the non-conference slate with home games against Kent State and Colorado State before hitting the meat of the Big Ten schedule.
The Hawkeyes avoided Ohio State in the reshuffling of the conference schedule last season and again avoid the top-5 Buckeyes in 2021. Instead they get crossover games at Maryland and at home against Penn State.
In the West, Iowa has road trips to Wisconsin and Northwestern in back-to-back weeks, wedged right between home matchups against Purdue and Minnesota. They finish up with the Bret Bielema-led Illinois Fighting Illini before a road trip to Nebraska on Black Friday.
At first glance, there are really no weeks off with the obvious exception of the bye week in mid-October. There are three games against teams currently ranked in the top-25 according to Athlon, including two to open the season and two on the road overall.
As we count down to kickoff on September 4th, we’ll take a look at each opponent as things stand this offseason. Here’s a look at the full schedule, which we’ll follow as we dive in to each team.
Iowa Football 2021 Schedule
Saturday, September 4th - Indiana
Saturday, September 11th - @Iowa State
Saturday, September 18th - Kent State
Saturday, September 25th - Colorado State
Saturday, October 2nd - @Maryland
Saturday, October 9th - Penn State
Saturday, October 16h - Purdue
Saturday, October 30th - @Wisconsin
Saturday, November 6th - @Northwestern
Saturday, November 13th - Minnesota
Saturday, November 20th - Illinois
Friday, November 26th - @Nebraska