Thursday, November 3, 2011

Who Are You and Why Do We Care?: Iowa Hawkeyes

First of all, apologies for no post last week. Who knew that being a high school math teacher in the inner-city would include twelve hour days followed by three hour meetings?

Is there a rivalry here?
Michigan has been playing Iowa since 1900, but in 56 meetings, Michigan has a 40-12-4 record. Although the match up has been back and forth over the past decade, historically there is not a rivalry.

So who is their biggest rival?
Iowa is one of the few Big 10 teams whose biggest rival is not in the Big 10. Their rivalry with Iowa State is so fierce that they had to bring in a Corn Mascot to keep the peace. They also created the worst trophy in the history of trophies for the winner.

When did we see them last?
Michigan was very slow to start and Iowa took a 28-7 lead. In the third quarter, Denard Robinson got injured and did not return to the game. After going down 35-14 after three touchdown passes from Ricky Stanzi, Tate Forcier entered the game and lead Michigan's comeback. Tate made the game interesting with a touchdown pass to Junior Hemingway followed by a three yard rushing TD. It was all for nothing as Michigan out-gained Iowa 522-383, but Tate and Denard combined for three interceptions and Vincent Smith fumbled, and Iowa came away with a 38-28 win.

When did we last win?
In the midst of the 2006 undefeated streak, the Hawkeyes entered the Big House with a 5-2 record. Lloyd Carr decided to give the ball to Mike Hart early and often. Hart ended the game with 31 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns. (Can you even imagine a Michigan running back getting 30 carries now?!) Those two touchdowns plus two field goals from Garrett Rivas gave Michigan more than enough points to come away with the 20-6 victory.

What do they look like?
The Pittsburgh Steelers. Compare. In 1979, Hayden Fry (Iowa's Head Coach) wanted to have his team dress like champions so they would play like champions. He gained permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers to use their uniform design, and Iowa has worn them since. Supposedly they wore this monstrosity in 1995.

Do they have good coaches?
When Hayden Fry retired in 1998, Iowa needed their first new Head Coach in ten years. Then University of Iowa President, Mary Sue Coleman, hired Kirk Ferentz for the job. Ferentz played linebacker at the University of Connecticut, and went straight into coaching. He was an Offensive Line Coach in the NFL for both the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens from 1993 to 1998. As Head Coach of the Hawkeyes he has a 94-63 record, lead the team to Conference Championships in 2002 and 2004, and is currently in the midst of a three year bowl win streak.

Have they won a National or Big Ten Championship?
The Hawkeyes were National Champions in 1958 with a 8-1-1 record and a Rose Bowl victory. They have won 11 Big Ten Championships including five since Hayden Fry took over as Head Coach in 1978.

Where do they play?
In 1929, the University of Iowa opened Iowa Stadium, which has since been renamed Kinnick Stadium. Kinnick Stadium is named after Nile Kinnick, the only Heisman Trophy winner in Iowa history. The most interesting thing about their stadium is the away team locker room, which is pink. Very pink.

Do they have a goofy mascot?
Herky the Hawk was created in 1948, and started appearing at football games in 1959. Although Iowa has had the same uniform since 1979, Herky has never worn it. He wears a shirt with an I on it, yet has the team's football pants and a helmet.

This is not your average Iowa Hawkeyes team. Usually, a team based on defense, the Hawkeyes are now the worst in the Big Ten against the pass. Last week they made Marquis Gray look like he is actually a Quarterback. If Gray can throw, that means Denard will be able to. Mattison will break out ridiculous blitz packages to mess with the immobile Vandenberg. Prediction based on everything but football: Michigan 35 - Iowa 21.

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