Sometimes the simplest gameday decision can be the toughest.

Something black? Something gold? Bit of both?

Some fans have so many choices they can’t decide what to wear to a Hawkeyes game. Maybe you take inspiration from polls. Or posters. But the University of Iowa Athletics Department is here to help, announcing themes for the 2023 home football games that will lock in your fall wardrobe.

The goldout used to be the opener, which made sense because avoiding black on what is often the hottest game of the year is a smart choice on a day often filled with bad ones as fans old and new get into tailgating shape. Notice there are no links in this paragraph, but I could share some stories, as could you, I imagine.

This season, the goldout is against Western Michigan on September 16, with Harvest Kick-off serving as the game sponsor. Of course, just because you’re wearing all-gold doesn’t mean the team will. But if any alternates deserve a second chance to make a first impression, it’s the 2019 gold uniform with the throwback wings, a.k.a. the banana peels. They can double their 12-point output this time around — Brian Ferentz will make sure of it. Oddly, those modern classics were worn for a Black and Gold Spirit Game, which of course stripes the stadium.

This year, the Iowa Farm Bureau’s ANF Black and Gold Spirit Game is October 21 against Minnesota. A former Hawkeye will be added to the ANF Wall of Honor.

The blackout is reserved for the Hawkeyes’ home Big Ten opener against Michigan State on September 30. Here’s an instance where a lack of color coordination makes sense, since it’s sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield. Iowa barely has whiteouts, so blueouts won’t become a thing… yet.

The season opener has no dress code, but it still has a theme. Utah State arrives September 2 for the annual “Extra Yard for Teachers Day and Educator Appreciation Day.” Teachers from around the state will be honored, as well as members of the Junior Hawk Club. The National Iowa Letterwinner Club will celebrate the 2023 Hall of Fame class, which will be introduced at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.

Iowa hosts Purdue for homecoming on October 7. The Hawkeyes have an all-time homecoming record of 60-44-5, but are 2-4 against the Boilermakers in recent years, so something will give in this once-protected rivalry.

Family Weekend joins forces with Military Appreciation Day as the Hawks host Rutgers on November 11, then Senior Day wraps up the regular season against Illinois on November 18.

Start times will be announced at a later date, but the closet can be organized now.

2023 themes in chronological order
September 2 vs. Utah State: FryFest, Hall of Fame, Educator Day
September 16 vs. Western Michigan: Gold Out Game
September 30 vs. Michigan State: Black Out Game
October 7 vs. Purdue: Homecoming
October 21 vs. Minnesota: ANF Black & Gold Spirit Game
November 11 vs. Rutgers: Military Appreciation Game
November 18 vs. Illinois: Senior Day

The Iowa Hawkeyes take the field at Kinnick Stadium in alternate gold uniforms on October 12, 2023. (Ryan Jaster,