The University of Northern Iowa football team will open the 2012 season at Wisconsin, UNI Director of Athletics Troy Dannen announced Thursday.
UNI will take on the Badgers in a road contest on Sept. 1, 2012. The Panthers are also slated to play the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sept. 15, 2012, marking the first time that UNI will face two Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams in the same season since 2001, when the Panthers traveled to Iowa State and Ball State.
"The 2012 schedule creates an opportunity for our team and fans to experience two of the greatest gameday atmospheres in college football," said UNI head coach Mark Farley. "While it is a challenge, it is also an opportunity."
The University committed to playing a second FBS contest in last year's Board of Regents approved athletic financial plan as a way to realize additional external revenue opportunities for the department. "Obviously playing two FBS opponents is a significant challenge for any FCS program," noted Dannen. "I'm pleased Coach Farley has embraced the challenge this additional contest provides."
In addition to an eight-game Missouri Valley Football Conference schedule in 2012 and the contests against Wisconsin and Iowa, UNI will add a fifth home game against a non-conference FCS opponent to complete the 11-game schedule. The date and opponent for that contest have not been finalized.
Dannen also announced the scheduling of a home-and-home series with the University of Northern Colorado to begin in 2013. The Panthers will travel to Greeley, Colo., on Sept. 21, 2013, and host a return game in Cedar Falls on Sept. 6, 2014.
"We look forward to the start of this series with Northern Colorado," said Dannen. "This inter-conference matchup between members of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the Big Sky Conference will match schools from two of the top FCS leagues in the nation."
UNI opens the 2011 season on Sept. 3 at Iowa State.