Although this isn't a popular opinion from a national perspective, the Iowa Hawkeyes are getting a front row seat to the strengthening of the Big Ten. While the media focuses on an apparent changing of the Big Ten guard in Columbus, other teams are coming to the fore: Iowa just doesn't know how to lose, Penn State is still, well...Penn State, and Michigan will soon (if their coach stays in Ann Arbor) have a potent offense on the back of not one, but two very good young quarterbacks. What's more, three other teams with talented new coaches (Michigan State, justNorthwestern, and Purdue) are quite obviously pointed in the right direction. The Big Ten is not in trouble, its opponents are.
It's been an especially sweet reemergence for Iowa fans. As a little kid in the stands during the late 80's and early 90's (I cried after the loss to Ohio State in 1990) I remember the feeling of always being close. Even though Iowa didn't always win, they never seemed far from one. Fry always seemed to be one "exotic", one big throw, one long Nick Bell rumble away from pulling one out. This season (and, really...last season) feels a lot like those days. Since that freezing cold evening when the Daniel Murray "I-win-you-lose-Penn-State-extravaganza" happened, we've seen a lifetime of amazing wins in 12 games: the Murray kick, the Outback Bowl stomping, the UNI miracle, the Penn State sequel, and oh, yeah...last night. These are the seasons fans hope for, the seasons we all dream about when looking at two deeps, watching spring ball, and pouring over every post of this amazingly awesome blog. My point in the end is this: go buy up the last remaining tickets on stub hub, go scalp to your heart's content, go buy a handle of Hawkeye vodka and a grill...and enjoy this year.