COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa Western will host three perennial Jayhawk powers in 2014.
Six-time NJCAA champion Butler, Hutchinson and Coffeyville are coming to Council Bluffs next year in the first season of the new football scheduling agreement between the Iowa Community College Athletic Conference and the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
Reiver coach Scott Strohmeier said he was surprised at the scheduling meeting when he realized he'd have the Jayhawk heavyweights at home in 2014. Most of the attention, he said, was on making sure the three Iowa and eight Kansas teams ended up with five home games and five road games each.
“To be honest, I didn't really notice until after, when I'm looking at it,” he said. “Coffeyville, Butler and Hutch ... all at home? Well, that's good. But then I'm thinking of the following year.”
Iowa Western, the reigning national champs, will play all three on the road in 2015.
In 2014, the Reivers play four of their first five games at home. They then have just one game in Council Bluffs after September. They wrap up the season with the annual Kinney Cup contest with Iowa Central.
The new ICCAC-KJCCC agreement, which fell into place this spring, alleviates the scheduling difficulties junior college teams have had recently, especially with regards to finding nonconference foes.
IWCC plays three nonleague games this fall. But the Reivers also face the other four teams in the Midwest Football Conference twice, home and away, during the regular season.
The MFC will not have playoffs this season, which will likely be its last as it currently stands.
Strohmeier said he likes where the future is headed with the new arrangement.
“I just think it's neat,” he said. “It's a competitive schedule. Obviously, the top (Jayhawk) teams are solid. And the teams that are lower are really improving.
“In that league, week in and week out, you've got to play well. Some of the teams that finished at the bottom are tough road games.”
Scheduling aggressively is important for teams hoping to be in the NJCAA title picture, Strohmeier said. His team was in a position to win the crown because of its slate last year.
He thinks that can continue by facing the teams from the Jayhawk.
“You always want to put yourself in the position to be in the hunt,” he said. “If you're really that good and make it through, you deserve it. If you don't, maybe you don't deserve to be in it.
“To go unblemished is a pretty daunting task with the way everyone is redesigning their schedules. It's going to be good for our conference to go line up against those guys. It's going to be a challenge, for sure.”