IOWA CITY — Iowa will close the 2020 and 2021 season with Wisconsin, according to the Big Ten schedules released Tuesday afternoon.
That will end, at least temporarily, the game against Nebraska that has been played on the Friday after Thanksgiving since 2012 and will be through the 2019 season. This year’s Heroes Game, as it has been named, will be Nov. 24 at Nebraska, and will be televised on FS1.
Instead, the Hawkeyes will play host to the Badgers on Nov. 28, 2020, and will play at Madison on Nov. 27, 2021.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz shrugged off the change.
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“At the end of the day, we’re playing 12 games,” Ferentz said during his Tuesday press conference. “Nine of them will be Big Ten games and they’ll all be tough.
“We’ll play them as they come. Personally, I like playing on Black Friday. It’s great for a lot of reasons.”
Ferentz liked that it gave players a chance to get away a little earlier after Thanksgiving.
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“Believe it or not, that little window of Friday, especially when you play at home, guys can walk out of here Friday before 6 p.m., and the ones that live locally getting to home and maybe eat some turkey with their family and stuff like that,” Ferentz said. “So selfishly I think that’s another reason it’s a pretty good deal.”
Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said the change was just part of the Big Ten’s schedule rotation.
“It’s been presented to us, we accepted it, and away we go,” Barta said.
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Barta said the change won’t affect the budding rivalry with Nebraska.
“In my opinion, the game with Nebraska will always be big because it’s on our border,” Barta said. “Whether it’s the first game, the last game, I don’t think it changes anything there. What I like about the new setup is that our fans get the opportunity to drive to so many games that have a trophy associated with them. Playing a border school — playing Minnesota, playing Nebraska, playing Wisconsin, playing Northwestern, it’s good for our fans to be able to drive to them, whether they’re the first game or the last game. I don’t think it will change things.”
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The 2020 schedule also includes a stretch of East Division opponents that has Iowa playing Michigan State at home before back-to-back road games with Ohio State and Penn State.
Iowa’s 2021 season opener will be a conference home game against Indiana.
“It’s just like playing on Thanksgiving,” Ferentz said. “It’s all a sign of the times. There are powers that are way higher than my level that decide all this stuff.” ___
This article is written by John Bohnenkamp from The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.