From Rittenberg's latest mailbag...
Steve from Washington D.C. writes: Adam, Just judging from the intensity of the exchanges between Hawks and Wildcats fans on the message boards, my sense is that there is a growing rivalry between these two schools. I don't know if it's just that I'm a native Iowan who graduated from Northwestern or if it's because Northwestern has had Iowa's number in recent seasons, but this is a game I always have circled on the schedule. Are you picking this up too as you travel around Big Ten Land?
Adam Rittenberg: I definitely sense the same thing, Steve. Iowa certainly has bigger rivalries with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa State and other teams, but Hawkeyes fans seem to get ticked about losing to Northwestern seven times since 1995. Northwestern really had no business winning the game last year, which only fueled things, as did Iowa getting a better bowl bid despite losing the head-to-head. The Wildcats don't have a true rival in the Big Ten, and I know some of the team's recent players considered Iowa their top rival. I don't think the feeling is necessarily mutual, but this year's game in Iowa City should have a bit more buzz than normal.
We haven't got the slightest idea what he's talking about.
So, um, BHGP may have been a material contributor to this dynamic, though (lest we take undue credit) that ball started rolling with Gary "Women are for strip clubs, not special teams" Barnett in Evanston about 15 years ago. But pay special attention to how Rittenberg phrases his answer:
I know some of the team's recent players considered Iowa their top rival. I don't think the feeling is necessarily mutual, but this year's game in Iowa City should have a bit more buzz than normal.
We've said it before, but it's now official: Iowa has another little brother.