Iowa to open 2012 season in Chicago

Iowa is coming back to the Windy City.

For the second time in a six-year span, the Hawkeyes will open a season against Northern Illinois at Chicago's Soldier Field. Iowa and NIU have agreed in principle to play on Sept. 1, 2012, and the Hawkeyes have listed the game in their spring football prospectus.

The two schools also met to open the 2007 season, and Iowa came away with a 16-3 victory.

The 2007 contest was announced as a sellout, although there were thousands of empty seats at Soldier Field. Not surprisingly, Iowa fans dominated the crowd and will do so again in 2012.

This appears to be a great deal for Iowa, which would still have seven home games at Kinnick Stadium in 2012. Iowa fans travel extremely well and will jump at the chance to spend the weekend in Chicago at the optimal weather time of the year.

My only hope: a much better game than the 2007 contest, which was pretty brutal to watch live, despite a perfect day on the lakefront.