If you were planning on taking in a beautiful fall Saturday at Kinnick Stadium this year you’ll have to pay a little more. With one month to go before the Hawkeyes host the Jack Rabbits of South Dakota State, each of the seven slated home games are now officially sold out. This marks the first time since the 2011 season that 70,000 rip roaring fans will be in attendance for every Hawkeye home game. Let’s allow Ta’Quan Roberson to remind the country what that looks like...
There are a multitude of factors that have led to all of these sell outs. The Hawkeyes are coming off of their first Big Ten West title since 2015 as well as being in the midst of Kirk Ferentz’s winningest four year stretch since 2002-2005. Three rivalries and a potential top 5 team in Michigan help as well. The quality of the teams venturing into Kinnick stadium this year are probably the main reason. Let’s break the home games into three groups by order in which they are played to get a deeper look.
Sept. 3rd- South Dakota State (Opener)
Sept. 10th- Iowa State (Iowa Corn Cyhawk Series)
September 17th- School that starts with an N whose state is flat and boring. (Night Game)
This group pulls the least amount of weight compared to the others we’ll look at. Iowa State making their first trip to Iowa City since 2018 was obviously a no brainer to be packed but SDSU and the above mentioned mystery school aren’t really the most attractive options at the dance this year. The Jack Rabbits however are coming off of a season that saw them go 11-4 andwith an appearance in the FCS semi-final. Being the first game proceeding a year in which the Hawks broke through for a Big Ten West championship is most likely behind this sell out however, as is the fact that SDSU fans will surely make the drive into town for the game. Lastly, if you didn’t pay attention to Hawkeye football scheduling you would have probably thought the final school was Nebraska until I mention that the above school finished 8-5 last year. Well now you know it’s DEFINITELY not Nebraska. This spot belongs to Nevada. Its a night game. That is all that needs mentioning.
Oct. 1st- Michigan (It’s Michigan)
October. 29th- Northwestern (Halloween Weekend/ Home Coming)
The month of October will begin and end in Iowa City. After Northwestern on Halloween weekend, the Hawks will know if they have a shot at Indy for the second consecutive season. If you were to guess which game will give Captain Kirk and his men more trouble which would it be? Here’s a hint, one of these teams are 1-5 since 2003 at Kinnick, the other is 6-3... How does Northwestern do this!?!? Only Wisconsin has matched Northwestern’s success at Kinnick in the same time period. (I honestly got up and paced around for five minutes as to not throw up after writing that last sentence). On a serious note, the Homecoming and Halloween festivities probably pushed this one to capacity.
The Michigan game has a lot of “revenge” talk heading into it but honestly this is why it’s sold out...
2016: The legend of Keith Duncan begins.
2011: Goal line stand. (fast forward to 5:00)
2009: Tate Forcier lol.
2003 (Fast forward to 11:15)
November. 12th- Wisconsin (Heartland Game/Black Out)
November. 25th (and the last game to sell out)- Nebraska (Black Friday)
This last group houses two rivalry games sandwhiching another rivalry game against Minnesota. If Iowa wants to reach Indianapolis it must win the annual rock fight against heavy West favorite Wisconsin on November 12th. In 2020, an empty Kinnick stadium was to much for Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz to handle... good luck Bucky.
As for Nebraska, it makes sense why they were the last game to sell out. Out of all the teams on the 2022 home schedule they have by far the fewest wins in the last five years with 19. Only Rutgers is worse on the schedule with 15 victories during that time and Illinois has 19 as well but they at least went to a bowl game. So Iowa ending the year with a lesser version of Illinois is why this game was lagging behind the others.
So there you have it Hawkeye fans. While the road to a West Division Championship appears to be tougher this year, you will definitely have a “voice” in who ends up in Indy.