Report: More Iowa-NIU games on the way

Iowa and Northern Illinois will meet in a season opener for the second consecutive season Aug. 31 at Kinnick Stadium and for the fourth time since the 2006 season.

The Hawkeyes and Huskies should be seeing more of each in the future.

CBSsports.com reports that Iowa and Northern Illinois are close to finalizing games in 2018 and 2020 at Kinnick Stadium. NIU athletic director Christian Spears tells the website that a 2019 game also is a possibility.

Although some Big Ten fan bases frown upon games against the MAC, Northern Illinois isn't a typical MAC team, as it reached the 2013 Orange Bowl and has won 23 games in the past two seasons. Like every Big Ten team, Iowa is looking to upgrade its non-league schedules and remove games against FCS opponents. It's a very easy trip from DeKalb, Ill., to Iowa City, and if a 2019 game takes place, don't be surprised to see it in Chicago, where Iowa and Northern Illinois played in 2007 and 2012.

Overall, I don't mind seeing more of these games, although at some point, it would be nice to see Iowa spread its wings more in scheduling and mix in some new opponents.

Northern Illinois and Nebraska in December announced a three-game series with the first game (2016) at Chicago's Soldier Field and the other two (2017 and 2019) in Lincoln. Nebraska will have to drop a non-league game from its 2016 slate as the Big Ten moves to a nine-game conference schedule that year.