Credit for the interim CyHawk trophy picture goes to Scott Dochterman, who slakes our collective thirst for knowledge.
Despite having grown up on the other side of the fence, I've always had a special place in my heart for the Cy-Hawk game. As a kid, it was the one rivalry that I knew actually knew people on the other side - in rural Iowa, you rarely see a Miami fan, or a Buckeye fan. Sure, there's the occasional transplant who cheered for the Gophers or the Jayhawks or the Wildcats, but they were rare. My graduating class had 66 people in it - and to this day I can still tell you where each of their allegiances lied. And I was as hardcore of a hawk fan as they came back then.
Our family had Cyclone fans in it, of course. They were farmers and they lived in some strange, far-away place called "Eldora." We only ever saw them at Christmas and Easter, and they arrived in an old Bronco that smelled of cow shit and dusty straw. And at some point during these visits, the last Iowa-Iowa State game would be brought up and hashed out at length in a volley of jokes, insults, and taunts. (Football at Christmas. Basketball at Easter. No quarter given or expected.)
You're going to hear a lot of stuff about this weekend being the 10th anniversary of 9/11. We all know the reasons for the significance of the date (and I don't wish to go into them here), but it was also significant because it caused the immediate cancellation of the Iowa-Iowa State game. The game was played at the end of the season instead, and Iowa State pulled out a gritty 17-14 win on the shaggiest field I had ever seen. It was actually my first win as a "pledged" Cyclone, having chosen to attend Iowa State's Engineering school the week before.
So Iowa State won, and I cheered, but my heart wasn't really in it. It wouldn't be until the magical first half run of 2002 that the Cyclone programming would truly take hold, and I would become a fanatic. When Seneca went nuts in 2002, so did I, trash talking my black-and-gold-bleeding Father in an act that essentially served as the first symbolic victory I ever had against him. Six years of teenage angst wiped out in a single, beautiful half of football.
And then, they got Texahoma'ed and went 1-6 and we all know how that ended up. And to top off my betrayal of my old team, the Iowa State loss was the only thing keeping them from a perfect season, and potential national title BCS screwjob. (And once Ohio State's title gets vacated and Miami's season gets vacated, a potential national title by default.) But no, they got to go out and run into the pro team known as the 2002 USC Trojans. And got smoked in their bowl as well. (<--- Insert DJK Joke Here)
So I'm a soul torn between my favorite teams, as much as I hate to say it. This year especially, I really want Iowa State to win - I think for the first time in the Rhoads era, they have the pieces in place to win what most Cyclone fans consider to be "The Big One." And he really needs to win one of these games, because despite being a great coach for the program, the Cy-Hawk trophy counts in this fanbase's mind.
On this week's podcast, John Bohnenkamp talked about a conversation he had with James Vandenberg about the hostile environment in Ames. Vandenberg, who filled in at quarterback on the road against Ohio State in 2009, acknowledged that Ohio Stadium is generally a louder environment than Jack Trice, a function of size and tradition. This is not news, of course. What was news, at least to me, was that Vandenberg acknowledged that, while Columbus may be louder, Ames is more hostile, and that increased level of hostility can be felt. That's true of Jack Trice Stadium in comparison with Columbus, just as it will be in comparison with Lincoln and St. Paul and Happy Valley. Ames might not be as loud, but that sound is angrier than virtually every other place Iowa plays, hostility so palpable it can be separated from the roar by the players on the field.
Who hate Iowa? WE HATE IOWA.
But at the end of the day, despite the outcome, there will have been grilling. Tailgating. Alcoholic Beverages shared with friends and family. A celebration of college football. A true rivalry game. Not to be given up for all the Pac 12 and Big East invites in the world.
One team is a national brand on a rebuilding year with a comfortable spot in a stable conference, who can probably cement a B1G championship game appearance if they can beat Michigan at home. The other is a livin'-on-a-prayer outfit that seems to be outmatched at every position, who win games with heart and grittiness and all that good wholesome football crap. Iowa State has everything to gain with this game. Iowa has very little to lose, other than an ugly ass trophy. Look for Jack Trice to make a difference. Jantz throws a pick-six early but rebounds to take over in the 4th while Ferentz plays just a bit too conservative and Coker gets shut down late. Guyer hits a big kick to win it.
IOWA STATE 20
Game is on Fox Sports Network. This is your open gamethread.
Every Yard for ISU