[Bumped. Esoteric? You bet your ass it's esoteric. And it's twice as great.--AJ]
"As You Like It"
Kinnick Stadium: The Globe Theatre
The parallels are striking to Iowans conversant in the Bard.
As the protagonist, Rosalind, addresses the audience in the play's epilogue: this one is for the fans. Shakespeare, via her character's monologue, practically admits as much by alluding that As You Like It may not be his most ambitious or meritorious work. In fact, the Bard retreads Thomas Lodge's contemporaneous and widely read potboiler romance Rosalynde, leading modern scholarly critics to proclaim the play scant more than the Bard "phoning it in" for the paycheck. (Hello $800K!)Nevertheless, the play was (and remains) an audience favorite -- because one can never gorge on enough Cardinal cupcakes. But is that really true; or is it possible to have: "too much of a good thing?" (Rosalind, Act IV, Scene 1.) whereby the sweetness of victory ultimately overwhelms the palate and becomes cloying?
Rephrased for the gridiron here, by what margin must the Hawkeyes pummel Ball State to cleanse last week's bitter aftertaste that still lingers on the tongue? (Vegas puts the line at 4 touchdowns, so wouldn't something along 2005's 56-point shellacking be cathartic? Or would such a lopsided victory be less salving as it would juxtapose the outcome in the desert to stand in such stark contrast that it assaults the fan with newfound levels of cognitive dissonance. [Again, what is good for an impartial, detached AP voter isn't necessarily the same for an impassioned and devoutly committed fan.])
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P.S. I could have just made a Testicle/Ball State joke about a male actor playing the female Rosalind character who disguises herself as the male Ganymede ruse and love interest for much of the play before reverting back to Rosalind at the end in order to hold forth for the audience and let slip the mask that "she" is actually a he. Follow all that? Yes, no... maybe? It's confusingly ouroboros.
P.P.S. There weren't enough parenthetical asides to get the gentle reader through the author's postscript within the construct of the main post. In fact, as it stands now we've obliterated more of the fourth wall than As You Like It ever did and we should probably just stop here before the black hole at the nexus of the universe manifests in situ.
(Whatever You Do, Don't) See Part II: Arizona Wildcats
See Part I: Iowa State Cyclones