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Friday, November 12, 2004

The Battle for Floyd 

Tomorrow the Iowa Hawkeyes will attempt to extend their 5 game Big 10 winning streak in the Metrodome, where they will face the Minnesota Golden Gophers for Floyd of Rosedale, a highly prized bronze pig. For those not in the know, the rivalry between neighboring Iowa and Minnesota is particularly fierce, and goes well beyond interscholastic competition. (For instance, it has been said that by ceding the northern tier of counties to Minnesota, Iowa would improve the collective IQ of both states).

As the Des Moines Register notes, the Hawkeye and Gopher football programs are going in different directions. Minnesota opened the season 5-0 and had Michigan on the ropes before letting the game get away from them in the final minutes. They have gone on to lose 4 out of 5. Iowa, meanwhile, has been slowly improving after a mediocre 2-2 start behind a stout defense and the emergence of QB Drew Tate.

Two years ago Iowa clinched its Big 10 football title (shared with Ohio State) in Minnesota, finishing that year with a perfect 8-0 record in conference play. The Iowa crowd was estimated at 40,000 and made a spectacle of itself by storming the field and tearing down the goal posts on the opponent's field, a humilating gesture that Gopher fans are not likely to forget tomorrow. The Hawkeyes have not played their best football on the road, but Captain Kirk Ferentz will ensure they are not looking ahead to next week's game with undefeated Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes will slow down the Gopher running attack and Tate will make hay in the dome. Predicted score: Iowa wins 24-21.

Meanwhile, another big game transpires in my new home town of Charlottesville, where the Hoos host the stumbling Miami Hurricanes, losers of two in a row. There is plenty at stake (although in the ACC they don't seem to play for cool rivalry trophies such as Floyd, Paul Bunyan's axe, and the Old Oaken Bucket) as Virginia has a chance to take control of the ACC with victories against Miami and Virginia Tech next weekend. Alas, I do not foresee a Miami 3 game losing streak. Predicted score: Miami wins 31-24.

1 Comments:

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