Hey now! It’s No. 3 on the Hlog’s list of Iowa’s 12 football games in 2013 in terms of being interesting. I started with the least-captivating and moved up. You know, for dramatic purposes.
No. 3 Northwestern. Oct. 26, Game #8.
I thought about putting this No. 1. It is, after all, the only game Iowa will play all season against a team that won a January bowl last season. Michigan, Nebraska, Northern Illinois and Wisconsin all went down swinging last New Year’s. Northwestern beat Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl.
Can Iowa have a good season if it includes a loss to Northwestern?
Well, obviously it’s possible. But has it ever happened? OF COURSE IT HAS. The Wildcats beat the Hawkeyes in Kinnick Stadium in 2009, 17-10. Iowa went 11-2 that year.
So that’s cleared up. But can Iowa have a good season this year if it loses at home to the Wildcats? Ummm, yes, but it would be tough.
This game will come the week after the Hawkeyes have played at Ohio State. So it’s quite possible the Hawkeyes will have to pick themselves up and dust themselves off after saying goodbye, Columbus. If Iowa beats the Wildcats, it has two imminently winnable games immediately afterward, Wisconsin at home and Purdue on the road. I said winnable, not gimmees.
The Hawkeyes have to win games like these to be anything other than ordinary. Northwestern, on the other hand, has relished in its success against Iowa, having gone 5-2 against the Hawkeyes in Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure. Fitz knows that to be one of the Big Ten’s big boys, you have to stay ahead of the Minnesotas and Michigan States and Iowas, all of whom his guys defeated last season
So it’s a game with a lot of interesting elements. And it’s in Iowa City, where Northwestern has evolved into a much-disliked opponent after decades of evoking little but apathy.
Northwestern was a good road team last year, winning at Syracuse, Minnesota and Michigan State, losing to Penn State in a close game, and losing to Michigan in overtime. The Wildcats won at Nebraska the previous season.
If Iowa wins this game, it’s a very good win for the program. Even if OSU whomps the Hawkeyes the week before, there ought to be a good buzz for this game in Iowa City.
While Northwestern fans love their “Fitz,” no Fitz puts on a tighter show than this guy and the Tantrums:
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