Why (most) Iowa State Fans Suck
|Brad Gade – Hawkeye Sports News|
Starting tomorrow Hawkeye Sports News will focus on this year’s clash between undefeated Iowa and undefeated Iowa State, but for today’s commentary I’d like to take a few moments to prove this fact: Iowa is better than Iowa State. That’s right, I said fact. Historically, there is no question that the Iowa Hawkeye football program has been head and shoulders better than their in-state rival Iowa State. Tell you something you don’t already know, right? Well, if you talk to any Cyclone fans on a regular basis, it is clear that they are in constant denial of this very fact.
Before we get to the proof in numbers, let me preface this by explaining some of my frustration with this “rivalry” as an Iowa fan. You see, not only am I an Iowa fan, but my summers (and a few falls) are spent worshiping the Chicago Cubs, and as a Cubs fan I know much too well what it is like to be on the bottom end of a rivalry. The Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, in my midwestern biased opinion, have the best rivalry in all of Major League Baseball. As a true diehard Cubs fan, I am never going to argue nor even recommend that historically the Chicago Cubs have a better franchise than the St. Louis Cardinals. As much as it pains me to say it, the Cardinals have had much more success throughout history. Now don’t get me wrong, I can still hate the Cardinals with every bone in my body, but I must also be rational and say that the Cardinals are better than the Cubs. Certainly not this year, and maybe not next year, but throughout history, the Cards have been better. Only an idiot would say otherwise. The same can be said for the rival of my other autumn love, the Chicago Bears. This is certainly closer by comparison, and one may be able to argue or at least given the chance to argue that the Bears have a more successful history than their main rival the Green Bay Packers. But again my rational self tends to believe the Packers have had the better franchise. As overrated as Brett Favre may be and as stupid as cheeseheads certainly are, I must painstakingly say that Green Bay, especially since the AFL/NFL merger, has had more success than the Bears. Now to the point of this post. I ask this question. Has any true Iowa State Cyclone fan ever admitted that Iowa is better than Iowa State? I’m writing today to prove that despite some recent Cyclone success against Iowa, the Hawkeyes have the best football program in the state. It isn’t even close.
I could just say that Iowa leads the all-time series against the Cyclones 36-19 and stop there, but let me break down the comparison even further. Since the rivalry was resumed in 1977, Iowa has a record of 20-11 against Iowa State. You also don’t have to be too old to remember those 15 straight games Iowa won in the annual rivalry from 1983 to 1997, the longest winning streak in the series. Ames’ most hated Hawkeye, Hayden Fry, finished his legendary career with a 16-4 record against Iowa State. Of course I must also mention that from Hayden’s last season of 1998 to 2002, Iowa State won 5 straight against the Hawkeyes. Those were some sad times in Iowa City as Kirk Ferentz started his rebuilding project and the Cyclones were experiencing some of their greatest years in an overall sad history. Since 2003, things have been pretty even with Iowa winning 3 of the last 5 meetings. Any way you look at it, with the exception of a few years during Iowa’s transition from Fry to Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have dominated the head-to-head series.
A college football program is ultimately measured by its on-field success or lack thereof. In college football, success is often measured by conference championships and bowl games. The Iowa Hawkeyes have won or shared 11 Big Ten Championship during their history in the conference. In comparison, the only time Iowa State has finished on top of a conference was when the Cyclones were Missouri Valley Co-Champions in 1911 and 1912. They have never won nor tied for a Conference Championship since. From 1928 to 1995, Iowa State never won a Big Eight Conference Title, and since its formation in 1996, ISU has never won nor played for a Big XII Conference Championship. The Hawkeyes have also appeared in 22 postseason bowl games with a record of 11-10-1. Iowa State is 2-7 in their 9 bowl appearances. Iowa has played in a total of 9 New Year’s Day bowls including 5 Rose Bowls. The Cyclones have played on New Year’s Day a grand total of ZERO times. Never in their entire history of playing football has Iowa State been invited to a January bowl game. Furthermore, Iowa has been ranked in the final AP Top 25 Poll a total of 19 times, including 11 Top 10 finishes. The Hawkeyes finished 8th in the final AP Poll three straight years in 2002, 2003, and 2004. On the other hand, Iowa State has appeared in the final AP Top 25 only twice, with the most recent being the 2000 season when the Cyclones finished the year ranked #25. With just a quick glance at the numbers, it is blatantly obvious that the Iowa Hawkeyes have historically had the better football program than that of Iowa State.
Of course great players make a great program. Digging even deeper into history and looking at the accomplishments of each school’s athletes gives an even clearer picture of which state University has had the better history of success. Over the years, Iowa has had 60 players named 1st team All-Americans (21 consensus 1st team picks) and 30 2nd team All-Americans. Iowa State has only had a total of 32 All-Americans total: first, second, or third team. Everyone knows Nile Kinnick is the Hawkeyes only Heisman Trophy winner, while Iowa State has never had one. Cyclone running back Troy Davis finished 5th in Heisman voting in 1995 and then 2nd the next year. The great Troy Davis is the only Iowa State football player to ever finish in the top 5 of Heisman voting. In contrast, the Hawkeyes, including Kinnick, have had 5 players finish in the top 2. Alex Karras (’57), Randy Duncan (’58), Chuck Long (’85), and Brad Banks (’02) all finished second in Heisman Trophy balloting. Finally, since the merger of the NFL and the AFL in 1967, the Iowa Hawkeyes have had 119 players picked in the NFL Draft. Iowa State has had 70 players drafted since 1967. From the 2000 Draft to this year’s NFL Draft, Iowa has seen 29 former Hawkeyes selected on draft day compared to just 10 from Iowa State. In the history of the NFL Draft, 16 Iowa Hawkeyes have been selected in the first round. Iowa State has only had one player ever picked in the 1st round of the NFL Draft when the Houston Oilers selected George Amundson with the 14th pick in the 1973 NFL Draft.
Throughout the years, Iowa has had more wins, more championships, more bowl invites, more All-Americans, more award winners, and more players selected in the NFL Draft than Iowa State. The numbers don’t lie, regardless of what happens this Saturday; historically speaking Iowa is better than Iowa State. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.