I suppose, in light of the best game I've ever seen, it's only fair to Cats fans to mention the worst game I've ever attended, also one that involved Northwestern. It made me want to kill Gary Barnett to death, a seething rage that continues to this very day. And as long as he's never President, my murderous rage shall never be illegal.
So without further ado, an ode to November 9, 1996.
Fuck you, Darnell Autry. Fuck you and your 240 yards. Fuck your four touchdowns.
Fuck the bitter cold. Fuck the snow that teased us for 30 seconds during halftime. Do you have any idea what the game would have been like with half a foot of powder on the ground by gametime? No?! Well neither do I, but there's no goddamn way it would have ended worse than 40-13.
Fuck the clock operator that kept a second on the clock before halftime so Northwestern could kick a field goal. Whose side are you on, anyway?! If the other team's got the ball near the end of the game, once that clock hits six seconds, you do not stop it for any goddamn reason. So they spiked it at 0:05? Tough. You didn't hear the whistle. Guy runs out of bounds? Then, uh, forward progress or something. Whatever. You certainly never, ever keep a second on the clock if Steve Schnur is sailing a pass through the back of the end zone and aiming it into one of the Sousaphones.
Fuck Wisconsin. I gave up tickets to that game to see Northwestern instead. Iowa ended up winning the Wisconsin game one week later in a 31-0 squeaker, where Ron Dayne totaled about 60 yards and just as many cupcakes. No, watching one of Iowa's 10 worst home losses in the past 30 years was much, much more important.
Fuck all of you fucking fucks. I hope you get butt cancer and when you take a dump, your brain falls out all covered in shit.
I'd never left a game early before, and I haven't left one early since. But that night, I understood why people plunge themselves to such mental depths over college athletics. And I was unfortunate enough to meet Alcoholic Daddy for the first time.
Why did Iowa lose by 27? Was it something I did wrong?
Anyway. That's all done now. Darnell Autry's not walking through that door. D'Wayne Bates's not walking through that door. [JOKE REDACTED]* The only effect that a game in 1996 has on this coming contest is the one on fans' psyches. Nonetheless, Iowa's got to win at Northwestern, something that's only happened once in the last 13 years. Seriously. Let's hope they can, because any bowl committees aren't going to be very impressed if Iowa's only win away from home came at Soldier Field against Northern Illinois. Also, I think people are starting to wonder why I keep "falling down the stairs" so often.
*I know. It was an indefensible cheap shot. And while I'm not deleting any of the other 300+ indefensible cheap shots that comprise what's known as "my entire comedic repertoire," this is one I wouldn't be able to defend to either this man's family or mine. --OPS