For the first time in the matchup's 10-year history, the Big Ten has won their annual battle with the basketball-obsessed ACC this season. And for that, they can thank... the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Granted, if you want to be all technical about it, Iowa didn't "win" their part of the series, having lost to perennial powerhouse* Virginia Tech. We're not so sure the Hawkeyes didn't lose on purpose.
Hear us out.
Had Iowa selfishly and short-sightedly won their game, the series would have stood at a deceptive 4-2 lead for the Big Ten coming into today.
John Wooden Todd Lickliter, ever wise beyond our comprehension, knew such a lead would have a deleterious effect on the conference's remaining teams, lulling them into a lethal complacency.
After all, with a two game lead in their back pocket, does Illinois expend the energy necessary to storm back from a 23-point deficit? Does Wisconsin not cede just a couple more points to Duke in the second half? Does Ohio State even bother to show up against Florida State?
We submit that they do not. In fact, were it not for Iowa reminding the conference of its own fallibility, a five-game ACC sweep tonight would have been all but certain.
As Todd Lickliter would say if he were made of John F. Kennedy molecules, "ask not what your conference can do for you, ask what you can do for your conference." That, naturally, includes throwing the game.
So yeah, Iowa lost to Virginia Tech last night. YOU'RE WELCOME.
*strictly in football, mind you, but the fact remains.