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ESPN: What did the Hawkeyes ever do to you?

November 4, 2009 - Troy Banning

What is this: Kick the Iowa football team in the...well, you know where...week?

            Pick an hour — any hour, in fact — of the day and the odds are good that you can turn your television to ESPN and listen to one of its talking heads (massive spray tan and all) spout on and on and on about the deficiencies of the Hawkeyes. If it’s not Mr. Bachelor himself Jesse Palmer, then it’s Pat Forde, or Lou Holtz, or Kirk Herbstreit.

            You can’t turn on your radio either. ESPN has it covered there as well with quite possibly the most irrelevant personality of all time — Mr. Colin Cowherd — going crazy with his venom about Iowa. Seriously, Herd, why don’t you just ask Pete Carroll if you can be his best friend and get it over with?

            The Hawkeyes’ wins against inferior opponents are way too close, they all say. The Hawkeyes are boring. The Hawkeyes come from the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes don’t have any style points. The Hawkeyes...I think you get the point.

            OK, ESPN, we get it. Us Iowans may not be as sophisticated as all of you out on the East Coast, but we’re actually pretty bright. You don’t like the Hawkeyes. Now please, move on.

             Iowa sits at No. 4 in the latest BCS rankings heading into Saturday’s home game with Northwestern. Wins in their last three games will put the Hawkeyes in position to sneak into the national championship game if Florida, Texas and Alabama should stumble. And that’s got everybody — EVERYBODY — a little twitchy.

            Hey, I get it. Nobody with money invested in the BCS national championship game wants Iowa within 300 miles of the Rose Bowl on Jan. 7. They want the marquee names — Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy — and the big-time schools — Florida and Texas. What they don’t want is a blue-collar team that relies on a tough-as-nails defense to override the offensive unit’s inconsistencies.

            The Hawkeyes are like the kid brother who is always picking his nose. Deep down you love him, you just don’t want to be seen in public with him.

            But as my good buddy Herm Edwards (another ESPN guy, but one I like) once said: You play to win the game!

            Iowa has played nine of them...and won them all. So deal with it, ESPN.

            And it’s not like head coach Kirk Ferentz’s team has been butting heads with the La James College of Hairstyling week after week. Do I need to remind everybody that Iowa has defeated more teams with winning records (6) than anyone else in the BCS top eight? Or that Iowa is tied with Oregon for the most wins over teams currently ranked in the BCS top 25 (3)?

            And do all of these so-called national experts forget that Alabama was forced to block a field goal to beat Tennessee? Or that Florida struggled to knock off Arkansas and Mississippi State? Or that Texas hasn’t played a team with a pulse yet this season?

            I’m not saying that Iowa deserves to play for a national championship. Even at 12-0 (and that’s still a far-fetched dream, in my opinion), if two of the Big Three are still undefeated, then I wouldn’t go running home crying to my mommy talking about how the Hawkeyes were treated unfairly.

            But enough is enough. The constant bashing is getting old and, quite frankly, a little boring. Go pick on TCU for a while. Or — and this is just a suggestion — remember that Oregon has a loss!

            Please, ESPN, go cover more fishing for a few weeks. Give Cowherd a show about quilting. Let Mike Golic see if he can eat his weight in chocolate chip cookie dough on live TV.

            Anything with a little originality.


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