This seems to be the year that we find out what heights the University of Iowa football program can soar to. Forget the respect, disrespect, closer wins than expected, easier wins than expected, and everything in between. Do you remember how you felt about Iowa football one year ago today? Let me refresh your memory. We had just lost on a game-winning field goal to The Zookers after tying the game late. That dropped Iowa to 5-4 with the 3rd-ranked, undefeated Nittany Lions coming to town. I haven't looked back through the posts from last year, but it wasn't good times. That game left this life-long loyal Hawk with a lot of questions. That game was also the last time Iowa lost.
The Tiger Slam, as I understand it, is winning all of the majors, but not in one season. I believe Tiger won the British Open and PGA Championship one season, then won the Masters and U.S. Open the next season, meaning that he held all 4 major championships at the same time, but not the same season. Iowa has pulled off the college football equivalent of the Tiger Slam: an undefeated 13-0 record over the last 365 (now 368) days, covering two seasons.
What a year it has been. The best year of my life. Let's reminisce for a second, shall we? Did you forget what happened after that ill-fated day in Champ-Bana? Of course, not. The Big Ten Network wouldn't let you, and, really, how many times have we seen Daniel Murray's "Euphoria" on this site? Then we got the ultimate preview of this season- though we really didn't know it at the time- against Purdue. That is, a home game that was waaaaaaaayyyyyyy closer and more nerve-wracking than it really needed to be. And, ah, the closing of the dome as only the Hawkeyes could do? Who could forget the month of Smelley Cock jokes?
Next came the summer of Jewel's in, Jewel's out, and all of the other preseason hand-wringing that we all so eagerly take part in, with only the promise of Kinnick and Melrose on Saturday in September to keep us slogging through the dog days.
Then... 2 blocked field goals against UNI or we lose? This season is going to suck. (As an aside, I have listened to all of the "lucky" stuff, and I have a theory: one blocked field goal is luck, a second from the same spot by the same kicker on the next play is knowing how to play football and using your God-given talent.) Next we proved without a shadow of a doubt who the class of the HAWKEYE state was. After taking it to a solid PAC-10 team, we go to Happy Valley, and for the second time in the last calendar year, defeat an undefeated, top 5 Penn St. team. Then 5 more rather routine, anti-climactic wins (I kid, I kid, just tired of typing and afraid I am letting my fingers run away with my brain.)
So 365 days, 13 wins, and all three rivalry trophies later we are sitting on the precipice of what could be the biggest season in the last 50 years for our beloved Black and Gold. I can't even begin to understand that, as fun as the last year has been, it could (and I stress COULD) get even better. I just have to say:
Thank you to the players, coaches, and everyone that has made this past year so enjoyable. We talk and talk and talk, but, ultimately, it is you who put in the blood, sweat, and tears that allow us to do so. To the players, specifically, I love you guys. You are the grittiest bunch of people that have put on the TigerHawk in a long time, and you are (mostly) a joy to watch.
Thank you to the staff and readers at BHGP. It has been funny, insightful, sometimes aggravating (I get it, we're fucked), but always interesting.
Here's to hoping the next 13 wins come in as rapid succession as the last 13 have. GO HAWKS!