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Friday, October 15, 2010

Know Your Foe - Iowa 2010

The Wolverines face their second straight Big Ten test this week. It is homecoming week, we don't play Minnesota this year, but who had the brilliant idea to schedule one of the top teams in the conference? This will be the 56th meeting between Michigan and Iowa. The Wolverines hold a 40-11-4 lead in the all-time series, and have a 21-4-3 mark at Michigan Stadium.

History: The State University of Iowa was founded on February 25th, 1847, only five days after Iowa was admitted into the Union. In contrast to what the official school seal reads, The State University of Iowa is still the official name of the school. As you can imagine, this causes some confusion with Iowa State University which is officially known as The Iowa State University of Science and Technology. Just in case you are having trouble keeping all of this straight: Iowa is actually Iowa State, Iowa State is actually Iowa Tech, and officially there is not such thing as THE University of Iowa.

Iowa takes great pride in claiming to "be first" in a lot of things. It was the first U.S. public university to admit men and women on an equal basis. The first classes were held in 1855 when 124 students (41 of them women). It also established the first law school west of the Mississippi, and was one of the first institutions in America to grant a law degree to a woman (Mary B. Hickey Wilkinson, 1873) and to grant a law degree to an African American (G. Alexander Clark, 1879). In 1870 the university opened the first co-ed medical school. The original campus was 10 acres, including the state capital building. When the state moved the capital to Des Moines two years later (1857) the old capital building became the home of the university.

Iowa educates many of the state's professionals. 79% of Iowa's dentists and 50% of Iowa’s doctors come from here. 80% of Iowa's K-12 school districts employ teachers and administrators with degrees from Iowa.

Location: The University of Iowa straddles the Iowa River. The university is made up of 11 different colleges and has highly-ranked programs in nursing, creative writing and art. The school is located in Iowa City, Iowa. Not to be confused with Iowa City, California. The city is located in Johnson County, in the south eastern part of the state. Iowa City is the fifth largest city in Iowa, serving as home for approximately 68,000 residents. In 2007, Forbes Magazine named Iowa City the fifth Best Small Places For Business And Careers.

Even though it is no longer the State Capitol, The Old Capitol building remains as a National Historic Landmark and is the centerpiece of the Iowa campus. There are a lot of smart people wandering around here. Iowa City has the honor as the US metropolitan area with the highest percentage of adult’s holding a bachelor degree (44%, tied with Stamford, Connecticut) and is recognized as one of the most enlightened places in America.

Iowa City is home to the ACT (American College Testing) where most college bound high school students take “the test” to determine the trajectory for the rest of their lives.

Nickname: They call themselves Hawkeyes. The state of Iowa is known as the Hawkeye state. How the state (and university) got to the name Hawkeyes is the subject of a bit of a debate. Some claim the name is a tribute to Chief Black Hawk, the Sauk Indian Chief who fought against the US on the side of the British in the War of 1812 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He later led a group of warriors against Midwestern settlers in the 1832 Black Hawk War. Of all the wars fought in United States history, the Black Hawk War is the only one named for a person. Chief Black Hawk died in 1838 while in captivity in southeastern Iowa. He is viewed as a tragic hero and yet another stain on the shameful history of United States Indian affairs.

The Iowa Athletic Department maintains the name originally came from James Fenimore Cooper’s 1826 novel: The Last of the Mohicans. In the book, Hawkeye was the name given to the Anglo hero originally named Nathaniel "Natty" Bumppo. A famous marksman, Hawkeye carries a rifle named Killdeer and has earned the French frontier nickname La Longue Carabine (The Long Rifle). His closest bonds are with Indians, particularly Chingachgook and Uncas, but he frequently asserts that he has no Indian blood. Hawkeye provides a link between Indians and whites.

Mascot: Yet another school with a funky costumed creature on the sidelines. This one is known as Herky (a shortened version of Hercules).

The university has had a number of mascots, including Burch, a black bear cub who lived under the football bleachers until he was found drowned in the Iowa River in 1910.

Herky has been around since 1948 when he was drawn by a journalism instructor as cartoon character cross between Woody Woodpecker and a bald eagle. The name was selected based on a statewide contest. His first appearance at a football game came in 1959, but he was soon banned from the sideline after a couple of problems. In Evanston he came close to starting a riot when he pulled the tail off Northwestern's Wildcat mascot and he caused some heartburn when he climbed an electric pole at a home game.

Originally made of papier-mache and chicken wire, today’s mascot has several seven pound Kevlar heads, two wearing football helmets and one without. They heads are manufactured by the same Minnesota company that makes Sesame Street costumes, and cost a total of $5,880.

Colors/Logo/Helmet: Officially they wear Black and Old Gold. I search high and low, but could not find any related story as to how and why they picked these colors. Like most schools that claim gold as one of their colors, the “gold” for Iowa more of a yellow. Given we are talking about Iowa, and they grow a lot of corn here, it would make sense that their yellow is actually maize.

The logo is a very cool looking Tigerhawk (although when turned on its side, it looks a hell of a lot like Fred Flintstone). It was introduced in 1979, when former head football coach Hayden Fry arrived from North Texas State University. Fry was allowed to hire a marketing group to create the logo to in an effort to reshape the image of the Iowa football team; they last had a winning season in 1960. It must have worked, because Fry turned the Hawkeyes into a respected football program where he gathered 143 wins, 3 Big Ten titles, and 14 bowl appearances in 20 years. He also painted the visitors locker room in Kinnick Stadium pink, believing the color relaxes and calms the other team.

In case you haven’t noticed, their football uniforms look a lot like those of the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Another thing Hayden Fry did when he became the coach in 1979 was change the look of the uniform. With the approval of the Rooney family, Fry basically copied the Steelers uniforms. Prior to that, Iowa had a series of non-descript yellow and black helmets. About the only thing that has changed on the Iowa helmets since 1979 is the addition of a small, circular yellow decal containing the letters "ANF" on their helmets; the acronym stands for "America Needs Farmers" and was intended to draw attention to the economic plight experienced by many farmers in the American midwest.

Fight Song: The Iowa Fight Song was written in 1951 by Iowa native Meredith Willson, creator of Broadway play The Music Man. The song is copyrighted in a subsidiary of Paul McCartney's holding company (MPL Communications). In addition to handling McCartney's post-Beatles work, MPL is also one of the world's largest privately owned music publisher.

The word is "Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,
Let every loyal Iowan sing;
The word is "Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,"
Until the walls and rafters ring (Go Hawks!)
Come on and cheer, cheer, cheer, for IOWA
Come on and cheer until you hear the final gun.
The word is "Fight! Fight! Fight! for IOWA,"
Until the game is won.

Academics: The school is well known for its Writers’ Workshop. For more than 70 years emerging writers have come to Iowa City to work on their craft. The Workshop is a two-year residency program and it’s alumni have won a dozen Pulitzer Prizes, and four graduates of the program have been named U.S. Poet Laureates. Given the school’s lofty reputation amongst the literary community, I find it a little surprising that Iowa is only rated #72 on the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Last year, Iowa was tied at the bottom of the Big Ten with Michigan State and Indiana. Thankfully for them, the Hawkeyes have seperated themselves from both the Hoosiers (ranked #75) and have left Sparty to bring up the rear of the conference (ranked #79).

Football: Football was first played as a club sport at Iowa in 1872, but it was not a varsity sport until 1889. They lost their first official varsity game to Grinnell College in the one and only game they played that season. The next year they won a game. Ten years later they went undefeated and were offered a place in the Western Athletic Conference, which later became the Big Ten. Iowa has won eleven Big Ten championships, the last in 2004. Nile Kinnick won the 1939 Heisman Trophy, beating out Tom Harmon. In 1970, Michigan’s Bump Elliott became Iowa’s Athletic Director a year after Don Canham replaced him as coach with Bo Schembechler.

Iowa finished the 1958 regular season with one loss and ranked #2 in the AP poll, behind undefeated LSU. In those days, the AP vote was taken before the bowl games. Iowa convincingly won the 1959 Rose Bowl over Cal where they set or tied six Rose Bowl records. The Football Writers Association of America, arguably the most prestigious organization at the time to vote on a national champion after the bowls were played, awarded Iowa The Grantland Rice Award (Their version of the national championship trophy).

Over the years, 92 Hawkeyes have been named a first-team or second-team All-American, and 22 have been named consensus first-team All-Americans. They have produced three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Michigan native Paul Krause. Nine players and five coaches represent Iowa in the College Football Hall of Fame, including 1985 Heisman runner up Chuck Long. As previously mentioned, Hayden Fry brought Iowa football back to life in 1979. They have been a consistently tough Big Ten opponent since.

Other Sports: The University of Iowa currently fields 24 varsity teams. When you think Iowa sports, you need to begin with wrestling. Legendary Olympian Dan Gable and 2 other coaches have led the wrestling Hawkeyes to 21 national and 32 Big Ten titles, includes nine straight national titles (1978-86). Their men’s basketball team has had some success, making it to three Final Fours. Their baseball team made the drive to Omaha and the College World Series in 1972.

Famous alums: Famous non athletic Hawkeyes include Actors Gene Wilder, Tom Arnold and Ashton Kutcher. TV news anchor Tom Brokaw and Pulitzer Prize winner Tennessee Williams. The founder of famous public opinion poll, George Gallup was a football player and editor of school paper. Grammy winning singer Al Jarreau and Academy Award winning Diablo Cody (screenplay for the movie Juno) both spent some time in Iowa City. Finally, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine General James E. "Hoss" Cartwright graduated from Iowa in 1971.

On the athletic side of the list, You could fill a football stadium with the number of Olympic gold medal wrestlers they have. College football Hall of Fame coaches Eddie Robinson and Lou Holtz both hold graduate degrees from Iowa. Wisconsin football coach Bret Bielema, Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops and Arizona football coach Mike Stoops also went to Iowa. They can also claim Baseball Hall of Fame player Cap Anson and two Hall of Fame broadcasters: Milo Hamilton and Harry Kalas. And finally I have to mention the late great Reggie Roby. He was my favorite NFL punter of all time, because he wore a watch when he played to measure his hangtime.

Current University of Michigan President, Mary Sue Coleman was the President at Iowa before she traded up and came to Ann Arbor.

Game: This will not be pretty.

Last year we played at Iowa in prime time, played decent, but made too many mistakes and too many turnovers to win. This year, I have to keep telling myself we have the same chance. The Iowa defense line is big and likely the best in the conference while their offensive will attempt to pound us like Sparty. Another experienced senior QB. Ouch. I just hope our defense can make a stop or two and we can score every time we get the ball. Not likely.

Iowa 45
Michigan 24


Yost said...

Sadly, I must agree with your assessment, Andy.

ChicagoWolverine said...


If you're going to pick games like this without the "reverse blog psychology" tag -- you might as well just post healing photos now.

Reed said...

Regarding the logo, an Iowa alum once pointed out to me that if you turn it sideways, it bears a strong resemblance to Fred Flinstone. I have never looked at it the same way since...

Andy said...

If you are looking for some jaw dropping additions to your computer (or iPhone & iPad) wallpaper collection....

Check this out

This guy knows what he is doing....

Brian said...

Two further noteworthy items for the Iowa preview: an Iowa alum once showed me that the Hawkeye logo (which was designed by Hayden Fry) is made up of the letters in Fry's last name. The largest shape resembles the letter "F", the upper part of the beak is an "r" and the bottom-most shape resembles a "y."

The other interesting point is that in the late '50s, Iowa had some powerhouse teams, as was pointed out in the preview. Their head coach was Forest Evashevski, the captain of the 1940 Michigan football team and a great blocker for his teammate Tom Harmon.

Yost said...

Good stuff, Bri.