Is More Northern Iowa Good for Iowa State?


How hard were you clinging to your loved one, nachos, or beer in the tailgate lots as Iowa State was able to cling to a 20-19 victory over Northern Iowa last season?

Sep 15, 2012; Iowa City, IA, USA; Northern Iowa Panthers head coach Mark Farley prepares to lead his team to the field before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register via US PRESSWIRE

Get ready to put the ambulance on standby for seven of the next 11 years.

The FCS-powerhouse Panthers, who nearly defeated a maybe-awful Wisconsin and Iowa team this season, has agreed to a deal with the Cyclones to extend the series by three more games.

Without question, it’s good news for the state. It’s also good for Jack Trice Stadium, who usually packs in over 50,000 fans  for the game. It could be much worse when hosting an FCS squad. Bethune-Cookman went to Miami, Florida, over the weekend. The attendance was announced at 39,435 – but you can tell me if that stadium really packed as big of a crowd when the game started.

But Iowa State already plays an always-tough schedule each season. Just a year ago, the Big 12 moved to a nine-game schedule AND had to start playing all those teams from the former southern division. Then the conference doesn’t have Missouri and Texas A&M anymore and replaces them with TCU and West Virginia.

Oh, that’s cool, a Texas A&M team that underperformed all along in the conference with only one AP poll showing in the 2000’s and a Missouri team that was always supposed to be better than they were until 2007. Also, let’s bring in two teams who showed unprecedented success in their history with the Big East and Mountain West Conferences.


So with that nine-game gauntlet, Iowa is always on the schedule, and now with UNI on it seven of the next 11 years, that guarantees a strength of schedule in the 20’s. That doesn’t include the Panthers.

I’m not saying ISU should be Texas Tech and go all-patsies with Upper Iowa, DMACC, and Kirkwood (everybody in Iowa would get it), but this is an absolute murder schedule for Paul Rhoads to try and build his program into the upper-echelon of the Big 12.

This team has the right coach. Better athletes are coming in each season, but we still don’t obtain the top recruits. In my eyes, we lack the athleticism to power through this daunting of a schedule every year. Unless a power-shift happens when these Texas and Oklahoma schools get pummeled with illegal recruits and banned from postseason play, scheduling a tough FCS opponent like Northern Iowa is a good move for attendance and revenue, but it doesn’t build a successful football team in the future.

Brian Spaen is the lead editor for Clones Confidential. Keep up with the latest sports fails and disdain toward the Big Ten by following him on Twitter.

Read his other work on the Oregon Ducks blog, Autzen Zoo, and Lacrosse the Web.