A lackluster Big 10 West and luck of the draw ensures Iowa will not have to test its regular season mettle against Ohio State or Michigan State for the second year in a row. Other than a visit to Penn State for a night game, Iowa's road schedule features games against Rutgers, Minnesota, Purdue, and Illinois, all of whom had losing records last year. The home schedule (Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska) is less cupcake-y, but still void of the kind of schedule that might impress a committee attempting to assign competitive post-season play (ahem, Rose Bowl).
It’s OK to admit that Iowa has very little control over its conference scheduling, yet snicker at the lack of competition. For those of you wholly entrenched in the Big 12 conversation and less familiar with our Big 10 counterparts, we’ve re-imagined Iowa’s schedule as cupcakes to illustrate the level of competition our rivals to the east will face this season.
Miami (OH) = Vegan Cupcake
It may look and smell like a cupcake, but let’s stop calling it what it isn’t: a cupcake worth eating. The vegan counterpart is missing key ingredients that are required to compete with the big boys, and to be honest, it seems a bit cruel to pit a vegan cupcake against its full-fatted brethren.
Iowa State = Maple Bacon Cupcake
It looks harmless and tastes sweet. And who doesn’t love bacon? But beware the chunks while engaging this cupcake, as patrons from the Eastern side of the state have consistently choked about halfway through this one.
North Dakota State = Red Velvet Cupcake
Let’s tell it like it is: red velvet is just a chocolate cupcake with red food coloring. It’s not fancy. It doesn’t even taste all that good. But try as you might, you’ll never be able to convince fans of red velvet that it’s not superior to the upper-tier cupcakes just because it’s won a few competitions against the Little Debbies of the world.
Rutgers = Chocolate Chip Muffin
We know what you’re thinking: a chocolate chip muffin isn’t a cupcake. It’s a measly dessert muffin trying to pass itself off as a cupcake. It doesn’t even deserve to be in the same list. What’s it even doing here? Nobody knows, guys. Nobody knows.
Northwestern = Pinterest Fail Cupcake
You’re going to eat it. It’s a cupcake, and cupcakes are delicious, but it’s ugly as hell and looks nothing like it should, so expectations are low. Really low. In fact, the execution is so far off, you’re amazed when it actually turns out to be decent – on the rare occasion it does turn out to be decent.
Minnesota = Ice Cream Cupcake
Because it may be 11 degrees on the sidelines during a Minnesota winter, but it’s never too cold for a little halftime ice cream, am I right, Goldy?
Purdue = Eggnog Cupcake
Not a cupcake that should be eaten outside of basketball season. Enough said.
Wisconsin = Strawberry Cupcake
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. The strawberry cupcake is consistently good, sometimes teetering on the edge of greatness, but is never quite able to get over the hump.
Penn State = Cupcake with Cookie Dough Center
Cookie dough: a powerhouse at this cupcake’s core with longstanding tradition that’s been temporarily waylaid by issues involving children. Rid the bad eggs from the recipe and you’ve got yourself a rebuild that doesn’t quite taste the same, but is still fighting to return to relevance nonetheless.
Michigan = S’More Cupcake in an Ice Cream Cone
Just a nationally recognized and respected flavor of cupcake, known for camping out with teen boys. And it works. It totally works. Teen boys choose this flavor often over other, sometimes more prestigious ones, despite this cupcake’s top half always being tucked into a perpetually tan-covered lower half.
Illinois = Hostess CupCake
The cupcake you remember from your youth is not what you once thought it was. Changes in ownership muddied the quality of the product, and though it looks like the same cupcake you used to love, the aftertaste leaves much to be desired.
Nebraska = Stale Vanilla Cupcake
A bland white cupcake that’s a hit with the old people who can remember its storied history. Though it’s been sitting on the counter since 1997, this cupcake still thinks it’s good. Really good. So good they won’t ever let you hear the end of it. Like, ever.