Enough of those self-induglgent “I’m on vacation, but the Hlog is not” opening lines. Through the power of time-stamping, while I’m gone this blog will publish a ranking of Iowa’s 12 football games in 2013 in terms of being interesting.
To see the teams that have already been ranked, click here and scroll. To see 4, 3, 2 and 1, either wait or hop in your time-travel machine and go. If you have such a machine, can you pick me up the stock market quotations for one year from now?
No. 5. at Iowa State. Sept. 14, Game #3.
That doesn’t qualify as big-game football. But being an intrastate game between teams from two of the five major conference does, no matter who they are. Even if it’s Indiana-Purdue.
If the Hawkeyes win at Jack Trice Stadium, they could be 4-0 heading into Big Ten play. That would put a fresh coat of happiness on a program that could use a sunny splash.
If Iowa loses to the Cyclones, though, that’s three years in a row. And it would give a same-old, same-old feeling to the Hawkeyes’ fan base.
Given the 9-game Big 12 schedule is once again extremely formidable, and ISU plays at a very good Tulsa team 12 days after it faces the Hawkeyes, you have to think beating Iowa is a near-necessity toward reaching a bowl for a third-straight year.
So there’s stuff on the line well beyond the Cy-Hawk Trophy, whatever it may look like this year. It’s been a couple years now, and I still can’t get over that Norman Rockwell-ish farm family trophy that was discarded almost as soon as it was publicly displayed. What a great gag that was, no?
A lot of Iowa fans don’t like this game. They say it’s a no-win situation. Which is true … when you don’t win it.
What they overlook is how it would appear to the rest of the nation if the Hawkeyes ever ended this series. You no longer want to play a state rival from the Big 12 that has won the same number of games (17) as you have in the last three years and has beaten ranked teams on the road in each of those seasons?
Iowa’s powers-that-be are keeping the series, so the point is moot.
In truth, the vast majority of Iowa-ISU games haven’t been great. The 2011 edition in Ames was one of the best, a triple-overtime, 44-41 Cyclones win. Last year’s 9-6 Iowa State victory was so forgettable that I don’t think ISU fans celebrated it as lustily as they ordinarily would have.
From an interesting standpoint in 2013, I think this belongs in Iowa’s upper half of games. It needs this win. It needs to enter Big Ten play with some nonconference happiness.
But Iowa State has needs, too.
And the 5 p.m. starting time adds to this game’s luster, in my opinion. It’s hard for me to take 11 a.m. games seriously, no matter who’s playing in them. A game that finishes up in prime time feels important. And more fun. Because the night time is the right time.