I figured that for my first actual post, I'd talk a little bit about the upcoming nonconference football schedules. Cyclones.com has schedules up through 2015, and, as of right now, Iowa State has scheduled 14 different opponents between 2008-2015.
|So. Dak. State||No. Dak. State||Northern Illinois||@Utah|
|@UNLV||Army||Northern Iowa||Northern Iowa|
|@Iowa||@Air Force||Air Force||Iowa|
|Western Illinois||Iowa||@Iowa||@Western Kentucky|
|Western Kentucky||@Tulsa||Western Kentucky||TBA|
After this year, I'd say that Iowa State's footballs schedule bottoms out for a while. I-AA (I'm not calling it the College Playoff Subdivision, ever) teams South Dakota State and North Dakota State join the Gateway Conference in 2008, which is quite a coup for those two schools. Having Northern Iowa in the backyard has showcased the Gateway as one of I-AA's strongest conferences. That being said, neither team should be a challenge.
Of course, just like every year, Iowa is on the schedule for the forseeable future, which apparently is quite the feat for ISU, since the game is lose-lose to Iowa fans. I suppose they are supposed to beat State no matter what. 2008 also brings a second game with Kent State, a game that should be a W. Finally, the return game for UNLV is in '08. Chizik needs to keep the players out of trouble and the opposing coach off of the field.
Army gives us a return game in 2009. Once we get out to this point, it's hard to guess how good some teams will be, but one would figure that a school like Army won't make any dramatic leaps.
In 2010, the Cyclone football schedule upgrades dramatically. Sure, UNI is there, but the slate also includes a trip to Kinnick, as well as home visits from Northern Illinois and Utah. Northern Illinois is a usual MAC stalwart that should be a solid game. Utah will provide a quality, albeit non-BCS opponent.
The next year's schedule provides challenges as well, including Iowa, a return trip to Utah for what will be a tough road test, as well as a journey to Storrs, Connecticut in a relatively new stadium. UConn has done most things right since their transition to I-A, and with continued impovement they could be a force by this time in the usually not-that-strong Big East.
Showing up on the schedule in 2012 and 2013, Tulsa is much like Utah, being a non-BCS school that will provide a stiff test, but at least a little bit of name recognition. In fact, aside from Iowa, only UConn shows up on the schedule as a BCS opponent.
The other two teams that show up as of now include Western Illinois in 2012, and Western Kentucky in 2012, 2014 and 2015. It's pretty interesting that the Cyclones website has the 2015 meeting in Bowling Green,
as it's pretty rare for a I-A school to go on the road like that to face a I-AA school. (Note: Roll Bama Roll has informed me that WKU is moving to the Sun Belt. Still kinda weird to see a Big 12 school go on the road against a Sun Belt team.) Both Western Illinois and Western Kentucky are Gateway schools that aren't, at the moment, particularly great I-AA football teams.
I know many Cyclone fans have been looking for a beefing up of the schedule. Compared to what it's been in the past, that's happening. Hoowever, I'm of the school of thought that with a BCS school in Iowa on the schedule, as well as the Big 12 schedule, we don't need to worry about our nonconference schedule. If we are in a place where we need to worry about our nonconference slate, then we're really in a place we need and want to be anyways.