Iowa adds UNI to 2026 schedule

Digger1

HR Heisman
Sep 30, 2001
7,494
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113

The Iowa Hawkeyes have added the Northern Iowa Panthers to their 2026 football schedule, FBSchedules.com has learned.

A copy of the football game contract with the University of Iowa was obtained from the University of Northern Iowa via a state public records request.

Iowa will host Northern Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2026. The Hawkeyes will pay the Panthers a $700,000 guarantee for playing the game, according to the copy of the contract.

In their most recent matchup in 2018, the Hawkeyes defeated the Panthers 38-14 at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa has won 17 consecutive games in the series since dropping the inaugural matchup in 1898 when UNI was known as Iowa State Normal School.

Northern Iowa is currently a member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Panthers advanced to the FCS Playoffs last season, but fell on the road at Eastern Washington and finished the season 6-6 overall and 4-4 in MVFC action.

Northern Iowa is the second scheduled non-conference opponent for Iowa in 2026. The Hawkeyes are also slated to host the Northern Illinois Huskies on Sept. 5 that season.

Iowa is the second Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent on the schedule for Northern Iowa in 2026. The Panthers are slated to open the 2026 season on the road against the Iowa State Cyclones on Sept. 5.

Northern Iowa has never played Iowa and Iowa State in the same season. The Panthers are 1-7 all-time against the Hawkeyes and 6-24-3 against the Cyclones.
 

QChawks

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Feb 11, 2013
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Quad Cities
lame-giph.gif
 

obfuscating

HR Heisman
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It does help our fellow in-state school financially but other than that, it does nothing for Iowa's profile.
As UNI is a usual suspect in the 1AA playoffs (compared to who the SEC teams play from small from smaller schools), it "may" help - only if Iowa can get all the other "eye test" points throughout the year (points scored, allowed, etc vs D1 comp).
 

Hawkfan_08

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Nov 9, 2002
18,032
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As UNI is a usual suspect in the 1AA playoffs (compared to who the SEC teams play from small from smaller schools), it "may" help - only if Iowa can get all the other "eye test" points throughout the year (points scored, allowed, etc vs D1 comp).

I used to think this but absolutely nobody cares. When Iowa lost to NDSU, the college football world reacted by making fun of us for losing to a FCS school. It didn't matter that NDSU was better than 2/3 of the teams all SEC schools played in the non-conference.
 

obfuscating

HR Heisman
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I used to think this but absolutely nobody cares. When Iowa lost to NDSU, the college football world reacted by making fun of us for losing to a FCS school. It didn't matter that NDSU was better than 2/3 of the teams all SEC schools played in the non-conference.
Hopefully with all the NIL $$ being tossed around we will have 2 separate D1 divisions. NIL (semi-pro) and then a true college D1 level student\athlete.

I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".
 

notlongago

HR All-American
Jul 28, 2012
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Hopefully with all the NIL $$ being tossed around we will have 2 separate D1 divisions. NIL (semi-pro) and then a true college D1 level student\athlete.

I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".
Next time you have this conversation, record it. For now, this interaction is much more likely to fall under "things that didnt happen for $1000, Alex".
 

Frosty7130

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3,722
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South Dakota
No matter what we may think these types of games aren't going away any time soon. 9-game conference schedules + basically requiring we have 7 home games per season + ISU game taking away one of those noncon games every season puts us into a box scheduling wise. As uninspiring as they are, it ultimately doesn't matter when it comes to SOS considering that the CFP and bowl games prioritizes record + P5 > SOS
 

Hawkfan_08

HR Legend
Nov 9, 2002
18,032
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North Liberty
Hopefully with all the NIL $$ being tossed around we will have 2 separate D1 divisions. NIL (semi-pro) and then a true college D1 level student\athlete.

I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".

I don't understand why this had to be so complicated. Two choices:
A- give the kid traditional scholarship and all the money that goes into that for food, housing, books, etc...
B- give the money that WOULD go to tuition to the athlete. They still have to take financial literacy classes and something that would get them maybe an associate's degree in 4 years time. Pay for housing, food, etc.

These 7 figure deals are bananas...

Refreshing to hear those kids value their education as well.

That said, if Iowa has to compete at a lower level, that will kind of suck.
 

nu2u

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Aug 10, 2006
14,811
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I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".
It could be you just haphazardly ran into a couple D1 athletes who are among a handful of D1 athletes opposed to NIL, I suppose they are out there; These quotes stike me as being disingenuous or prehaps contrived. The opportunity for financial gain was widely celebrated by athetes at all levels across the board when the decision was announced.
 

FWIW4922463

HR All-State
Apr 1, 2021
874
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If Iowa wants to support UNI's athletic department, just cut them a check for $700,000 or whatever and play an actual D1 team. It doesn't matter that UNI is better at football than some D1 teams. Iowa has NO business playing UNI in football. Now basketball, hell yes. Iowa should be playing basketball against UNI every season. But it doesn't. So why is it that Iowa needs to play UNI to support them in football but not in basketball? There's just no way to spin that. It's insanely ludicrous Barta logic.

Northern Illinois and UNI . . . wow. Can't wait for those scintillating 2026 matchups. KF still goin' after the big boys. Then again, as noted, KF has lost to Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, and North Dakota State and whipped UNI by a single point after blocking not one but TWO game-ending field goals.

Most of Hayden's career, by contrast, Iowa's nonconference schedule was littered with top twenty, hell--top ten--opponents. I looked it up a while back and posted it, but Hayden played something like 18 top twenty nonconference teams in 20 years while KF has played THREE in 23 years. Go ahead, look it up. Meanwhile, count me not surprised but tremendously disappointed in this continuation of feeble scheduling.
 

SDHawkDoc

HR Heisman
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An all around "meh".

Minor upside in that it supports uni, if you care about that at all, versus giving dollars to a mac team or some other paid for sparring partner.

Other than that it's a "so what" announcement.
 

desihawk

HR Heisman
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7,399
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if uni beats ne in 2024, they’ll be coming to kinnick feeling like ndsu did several years ago.
 

Ripcord280

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I thought there was some new "alliance" where we play Pac-12 and ACC teams fairly frequently. am I wrong, though?
 

BurgHawk87

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Oct 30, 2007
582
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If Iowa wants to support UNI's athletic department, just cut them a check for $700,000 or whatever and play an actual D1 team. It doesn't matter that UNI is better at football than some D1 teams. Iowa has NO business playing UNI in football. Now basketball, hell yes. Iowa should be playing basketball against UNI every season. But it doesn't. So why is it that Iowa needs to play UNI to support them in football but not in basketball? There's just no way to spin that. It's insanely ludicrous Barta logic.

Northern Illinois and UNI . . . wow. Can't wait for those scintillating 2026 matchups. KF still goin' after the big boys. Then again, as noted, KF has lost to Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, and North Dakota State and whipped UNI by a single point after blocking not one but TWO game-ending field goals.

Most of Hayden's career, by contrast, Iowa's nonconference schedule was littered with top twenty, hell--top ten--opponents. I looked it up a while back and posted it, but Hayden played something like 18 top twenty nonconference teams in 20 years while KF has played THREE in 23 years. Go ahead, look it up. Meanwhile, count me not surprised but tremendously disappointed in this continuation of feeble scheduling.
The majority of those ranked non-conference matchups for Hayden are now conference games. The overwhelming majority. Most were Nebraska and Penn State. Overall number of ranked teams on the schedule hasn't changed much since then, Kirk has had a few seasons with 6 and Hayden's max was 5. Both have always had at least one. I'm all for spicing up the non-conference a bit but the 9 game conference schedule and the automatic ISU game really limits Iowa to maybe a neutral site with a name school and that's it. With the athletic department being apparently unable to manage the occasional year of only 6 home games that's the reality.
 
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grayhair81

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Sep 3, 2006
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The only thing I saw that gave me hope was where it said UNI was the second non-conference opponent along with NIU. No mention of Ames CC. A guy can dream anyway. I would much sooner see UNI get a payout and TV exposure than help ISU make their budget.
 
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DodgerHawki

HR Heisman
Nov 19, 2002
9,454
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If Iowa wants to support UNI's athletic department, just cut them a check for $700,000 or whatever and play an actual D1 team. It doesn't matter that UNI is better at football than some D1 teams. Iowa has NO business playing UNI in football. Now basketball, hell yes. Iowa should be playing basketball against UNI every season. But it doesn't. So why is it that Iowa needs to play UNI to support them in football but not in basketball? There's just no way to spin that. It's insanely ludicrous Barta logic.

Northern Illinois and UNI . . . wow. Can't wait for those scintillating 2026 matchups. KF still goin' after the big boys. Then again, as noted, KF has lost to Northern Illinois, Western Michigan, and North Dakota State and whipped UNI by a single point after blocking not one but TWO game-ending field goals.

Most of Hayden's career, by contrast, Iowa's nonconference schedule was littered with top twenty, hell--top ten--opponents. I looked it up a while back and posted it, but Hayden played something like 18 top twenty nonconference teams in 20 years while KF has played THREE in 23 years. Go ahead, look it up. Meanwhile, count me not surprised but tremendously disappointed in this continuation of feeble scheduling.
Had looked this up some time ago. By my count I had Hayden playing 13 non-conference opponents in his career (excluding bowl games). Could be different based on whether the team was ranked at time they played or end of season.

Context is always important in anything. Hayden played 8 ranked non-conference games in his first 6 years, as those schedules were in place when he took the job. 1979, 11 game season, 8 conference games. Iowa's OOC was Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State. Truly idiotic scheduling for a team with 20 years of non-winning seasons. Nebraska and Oklahoma were both Top 10.
1980 - Iowa played #6 Nebraska, ISU and Arizona.
1981 - Iowa played #7 Nebraska, #6 UCLA, ISU. Magical year where Iowa beat UCLA and Nebraska, and of course lost to ISU.
1982 - #3 Nebraska, ISU, Arizona
1983 - 9 game conference season for 1 season only. Iowa played ISU, #16 Penn State in non-con.
1984 - ISU, #12 PSU and Hawaii.

Then starting in 1985, Hayden got control of the schedule (actually starting many years prior as schedules are made in advance). Iowa played Drake, NIU, ISU with Hayden's best team in 1985. 1986, Iowa plays ISU, NIU, UTEP.

Then there was pressure to improve the non-conference schedule so Iowa added Tennessee in the pre-season game in 1987, added home and away games with Colorado, Oregon, Miami, and played NC State in another pre-season game.

And if you want to go down the road of bad losses, that is not unique to KF. I researched a post several years ago, and the data would show much worse losses in Hayden's tenure, especially in the last 5-6 years of his tenure. The number of .500 or below teams Hayden lost to was large and staggering. Seasons wrecked by losses to bad Minnesota teams, or Tulsa anyone? Both Hayden and KF are/were fantastic, and both were fantastic for their time. Hayden was a program reviver, and what he did at Iowa was great. Will always be the man as far as I'm concerned. What KF has done in taking over to maintain that level has been tremendous as well. If KF has another 3 good/great years, he will put together a decade from 2015-2024 that will be truly remarkable given his age and stage of career.

Iowa's non-con scheduling under KF was generally fine in my opinion until the Big 10 went to the 9-game conference slate. There is currently zero incentive to schedule tough OOC games.
 

DodgerHawki

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The only thing I saw that gave me hope was where it said UNI was the second non-conference opponent along with NIU. No mention of Ames CC. A guy can dream anyway. I would much sooner see UNI get a payout and TV exposure than help ISU make their budget.
The contract with ISU goes through 2025 I think. I would guess it will keep going, but nothing 100% certain especially once Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12.
 

onlyTheObvious

HR Heisman
Jan 3, 2021
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Hopefully with all the NIL $$ being tossed around we will have 2 separate D1 divisions. NIL (semi-pro) and then a true college D1 level student\athlete.

I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".
Obviously they are not the athletes making a bunch of money from it.
 

SoFla-Hawkeye

HR Heisman
Nov 12, 2001
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Hopefully with all the NIL $$ being tossed around we will have 2 separate D1 divisions. NIL (semi-pro) and then a true college D1 level student\athlete.

I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".
D1 athlete in what sport? Guessing by your omission it’s not football.
 

BonzoFury

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Had looked this up some time ago. By my count I had Hayden playing 13 non-conference opponents in his career (excluding bowl games).
Not sure where you get your numbers. Hayden played a lot more than 13 non con opponents.

Nebraska
UCLA
ISMoo
Oregon
Tulsa
N Ill
Central Michigan
Arizona
Tennessee
Oklahoma
UTEP
Penn St
Hawaii
Kansas St
Colorado
Miami (FL)
UNI
NC State
New Mexico St
 

BurgHawk87

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Oct 30, 2007
582
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Not sure where you get your numbers. Hayden played a lot more than 13 non con opponents.

Nebraska
UCLA
ISMoo
Oregon
Tulsa
N Ill
Central Michigan
Arizona
Tennessee
Oklahoma
UTEP
Penn St
Hawaii
Kansas St
Colorado
Miami (FL)
UNI
NC State
New Mexico St
Think the poster meant 13 ranked non con opponents.
 
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Hwk-I-St8

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I thought the B1G more or less banned playing FCS teams a few years ago and that only the already scheduled games could be played. Did I imagine that?

The majority of those ranked non-conference matchups for Hayden are now conference games. The overwhelming majority. Most were Nebraska and Penn State. Overall number of ranked teams on the schedule hasn't changed much since then, Kirk has had a few seasons with 6 and Hayden's max was 5. Both have always had at least one. I'm all for spicing up the non-conference a bit but the 9 game conference schedule and the automatic ISU game really limits Iowa to maybe a neutral site with a name school and that's it. With the athletic department being apparently unable to manage the occasional year of only 6 home games that's the reality.
Don't go making sense in a thread bashing Barta/Ferentz for scheduling.


Had looked this up some time ago. By my count I had Hayden playing 13 non-conference opponents in his career (excluding bowl games). Could be different based on whether the team was ranked at time they played or end of season.

Context is always important in anything. Hayden played 8 ranked non-conference games in his first 6 years, as those schedules were in place when he took the job. 1979, 11 game season, 8 conference games. Iowa's OOC was Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State. Truly idiotic scheduling for a team with 20 years of non-winning seasons. Nebraska and Oklahoma were both Top 10.
1980 - Iowa played #6 Nebraska, ISU and Arizona.
1981 - Iowa played #7 Nebraska, #6 UCLA, ISU. Magical year where Iowa beat UCLA and Nebraska, and of course lost to ISU.
1982 - #3 Nebraska, ISU, Arizona
1983 - 9 game conference season for 1 season only. Iowa played ISU, #16 Penn State in non-con.
1984 - ISU, #12 PSU and Hawaii.

Then starting in 1985, Hayden got control of the schedule (actually starting many years prior as schedules are made in advance). Iowa played Drake, NIU, ISU with Hayden's best team in 1985. 1986, Iowa plays ISU, NIU, UTEP.

Then there was pressure to improve the non-conference schedule so Iowa added Tennessee in the pre-season game in 1987, added home and away games with Colorado, Oregon, Miami, and played NC State in another pre-season game.

And if you want to go down the road of bad losses, that is not unique to KF. I researched a post several years ago, and the data would show much worse losses in Hayden's tenure, especially in the last 5-6 years of his tenure. The number of .500 or below teams Hayden lost to was large and staggering. Seasons wrecked by losses to bad Minnesota teams, or Tulsa anyone? Both Hayden and KF are/were fantastic, and both were fantastic for their time. Hayden was a program reviver, and what he did at Iowa was great. Will always be the man as far as I'm concerned. What KF has done in taking over to maintain that level has been tremendous as well. If KF has another 3 good/great years, he will put together a decade from 2015-2024 that will be truly remarkable given his age and stage of career.

Iowa's non-con scheduling under KF was generally fine in my opinion until the Big 10 went to the 9-game conference slate. There is currently zero incentive to schedule tough OOC games.


LOL - you know how fans bitch about our non-con...that we play teams that suck and are not interesting? We play too many cupcakes? Guess what, back then we were the cupcakes that the good teams were padding their schedules with. LMAO that people don't realize this.
 

DodgerHawki

HR Heisman
Nov 19, 2002
9,454
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Not sure where you get your numbers. Hayden played a lot more than 13 non con opponents.

Nebraska
UCLA
ISMoo
Oregon
Tulsa
N Ill
Central Michigan
Arizona
Tennessee
Oklahoma
UTEP
Penn St
Hawaii
Kansas St
Colorado
Miami (FL)
UNI
NC State
New Mexico St
13 ranked non-conference opponents. Sorry for my missing including that.
 
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Titanhawk2

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Jul 14, 2011
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Had looked this up some time ago. By my count I had Hayden playing 13 non-conference opponents in his career (excluding bowl games). Could be different based on whether the team was ranked at time they played or end of season.

Context is always important in anything. Hayden played 8 ranked non-conference games in his first 6 years, as those schedules were in place when he took the job. 1979, 11 game season, 8 conference games. Iowa's OOC was Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State. Truly idiotic scheduling for a team with 20 years of non-winning seasons. Nebraska and Oklahoma were both Top 10.
1980 - Iowa played #6 Nebraska, ISU and Arizona.
1981 - Iowa played #7 Nebraska, #6 UCLA, ISU. Magical year where Iowa beat UCLA and Nebraska, and of course lost to ISU.
1982 - #3 Nebraska, ISU, Arizona
1983 - 9 game conference season for 1 season only. Iowa played ISU, #16 Penn State in non-con.
1984 - ISU, #12 PSU and Hawaii.

Then starting in 1985, Hayden got control of the schedule (actually starting many years prior as schedules are made in advance). Iowa played Drake, NIU, ISU with Hayden's best team in 1985. 1986, Iowa plays ISU, NIU, UTEP.

Then there was pressure to improve the non-conference schedule so Iowa added Tennessee in the pre-season game in 1987, added home and away games with Colorado, Oregon, Miami, and played NC State in another pre-season game.

And if you want to go down the road of bad losses, that is not unique to KF. I researched a post several years ago, and the data would show much worse losses in Hayden's tenure, especially in the last 5-6 years of his tenure. The number of .500 or below teams Hayden lost to was large and staggering. Seasons wrecked by losses to bad Minnesota teams, or Tulsa anyone? Both Hayden and KF are/were fantastic, and both were fantastic for their time. Hayden was a program reviver, and what he did at Iowa was great. Will always be the man as far as I'm concerned. What KF has done in taking over to maintain that level has been tremendous as well. If KF has another 3 good/great years, he will put together a decade from 2015-2024 that will be truly remarkable given his age and stage of career.

Iowa's non-con scheduling under KF was generally fine in my opinion until the Big 10 went to the 9-game conference slate. There is currently zero incentive to schedule tough OOC games.
"There is currently zero incentive to schedule tough OOC games."

That and NOBODY wants to come play in IC - so no, the school is not going to trade game dollars for some unmeasurable recruiting bump fantasy
 

ICWestfan

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May 26, 2005
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I don't like it because if does nothing for their SOS if they win and if they lose, it absolutely kills their RPI, FPI, and KenPom ranking. And if they do lose they'll most likely miss the tourney.
 
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DodgerHawki

HR Heisman
Nov 19, 2002
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We should never play UNI in football. Iowa gains absolutely nothing … while UNI gets a pay check …
I know we fans go back and forth on this all the time, but one could say this about every game other than the 9 Big 10 games and the games against Iowa State. Iowa is playing 10 power conference teams per year. They will get zero credit if they were to play 11 or 12 power conference teams in a year. In the current playoff setup, a 1-loss Iowa playing 11 or 12 power conference teams still isn't going to the playoff, whereas a 1-loss OSU or Alabama is.

This could change as the playoff expands to 16 or 24 teams, where it actually matters more for the at-large berths that you could receive more credit for playing a really good team close (and losing) in the non-conference than just loading up on easy games. Iowa got to Top 4 in the country last year after the PSU game. If they had replaced Colorado State on the non-conference with Oregon (and won that game) it wouldn't have mattered whether or not they got into the playoff. If Iowa would have won all its games, they would have been in. If they didn't, they wouldn't be in.

I don't like forking over nearly a quarter of a million for UNI to play here, I think we could pay them less than that to do so. But that's minor quibbling. UNI will prepare and fight, which is good for Iowa to play against. But Iowa is still better and should win the game if they show up.
 

leiserom

HR MVP
Dec 20, 2003
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202
63
Houston Texas(far from Hawkeye country)
UNI needs the $. My grandnieces husband was the Director of Athletic Marketing at UNI. When the game was called off in 2020 it meant he basically had no budget for promotion. He was frustrated/disgruntled after that. He was offered a similar position at Boise State and they moved out there. More money of course but cost of living is higher. But they like it. Both had never lived outside the state of Iowa before that.
 

Hwk-I-St8

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Gold Member
Nov 10, 2009
13,117
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I don't like it because if does nothing for their SOS if they win and if they lose, it absolutely kills their RPI, FPI, and KenPom ranking. And if they do lose they'll most likely miss the tourney.
Be real, Iowa isn't likely to make the playoff unless they're undefeated anyway. Maybe....HUGE MAYBe...if they have one loss, but a team like that isn't going to lose to UNI. People worry so much about SOS...the real killer of our chances at the playoff is the fact that we're not a blue blood.
 
Nov 22, 2015
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Hopefully with all the NIL $$ being tossed around we will have 2 separate D1 divisions. NIL (semi-pro) and then a true college D1 level student\athlete.

I just talked with a couple of D1 athlete's this weekend, they are against the whole NIL thing - "it's simply a way to get money (lots of money) into young, impressionable kids' hands and corrupt them". "The student part of the experience is being taken away" and "the scholarships covered the cost of pretty much everything, no one was forcing any of us to participate, it really isn't that bad of gig to be honest, to be a scholarship student\athlete".
But, but, but the coaches make so much money and the school too!!! It is so unfair!!🙄
 
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May 27, 2010
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Be real, Iowa isn't likely to make the playoff unless they're undefeated anyway. Maybe....HUGE MAYBe...if they have one loss, but a team like that isn't going to lose to UNI. People worry so much about SOS...the real killer of our chances at the playoff is the fact that we're not a blue blood.
I think he was referring to basketball honestly, there is no KenPom for NCAA football.
 

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