A look at the significance of today’s Purdue-Iowa game? Nope, I can’t pull that off.
Iowa is 4-5, Purdue 3-6. Iowa has lost three straight games, Purdue five. They’re riding the same downbound train. One will hop off it today, at least temporarily, and get itself a victory. The other will roll deeper into the valley.
A focus on the great Iowa-Purdue rivalry? I can’t sell that, either. They’re in the same conference and have played each other 82 times since 1910. But the Hawkeyes don’t make the blood of the Boilermakers boil, and vice versa.
Oh, we could revisit Iowa’s memorable 31-28 home win over the Boilers in 2002, the Dallas Clark game. But that was 10 years ago. Of the meetings between the two programs that followed, does any trip your sentimental trigger?
OK, maybe last year’s does. Iowa won in West Lafayette, 31-21. James Vandenberg threw three — that’s right, three — touchdown passes. Two were in the first quarter alone.
It was a different time.
Hey, let’s cut through the disappointment and angst about this Iowa season for a moment here. What are we, children? (OK, some of you may be. But that’s no excuse.) Let’s all suck it up today and say hey, it’s a football game. Maybe it will be entertaining. Maybe it will be good.
No, it isn’t BCS-altering, conference-deciding, or life-changing. It’s like life. Some years, you have a child or you have major surgery or you change jobs. Some years you just buy groceries and mow the lawn.
But Purdue-Iowa is an opportunity for two downtrodden teams to rise up for a day. It’s also a chance for head coaches Danny Hope and Kirk Ferentz to give the following paint-peeling pregame speech:
We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat. And we sit watching our TVs while some newscaster tells us that today we had 15 homicides and 63 violent crimes as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
We know things are bad, worse than bad. They’re crazy, it’s like everything everywhere is going crazy. So we don’t go out anymore. We sit in a house and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller and all we say is “Please at least leave us alone in our living rooms and let me have my toaster and my TV and steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.”
Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest, I don’t want you to riot and I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression, the inflation, the Russians, the crime in the streets. All I know is you’ve got to get mad!
So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take this anymore!”
Paddy Chayefsky wrote that for the brilliant 1976 movie, “Network,” and it was delivered by the brilliant Peter Finch. But guess what. Things haven’t really gotten worse since then, other than that trifling little matter of climate-change. They might even be lots better in some ways.
So it will be again for Iowa football one day in the future, and for Purdue, too. But for now, today’s game pits grocery-shopping against lawn-mowing. The Boilermakers and Hawkeyes have got to get mad!
Happily, someone will win. And it won’t be those pesky Russians.
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