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Wednesday Scrambler: An Ode to Indy

What better way to spend a Wednesday morning than a trip down memory lane?

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Iowa vs Michigan State Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Come Sunday morning, there will be a new Big Ten Champion. Come Sunday afternoon, that Big Ten Champion may or may not be in the College Football Playoff. When Wisconsin and Penn State learn their New Year’s Plans, 364 days will have elapsed since Iowa and Michigan State played in the Big Ten Championship game.

What’s that you say? A perfect time to look back some of the most nerve-wracking, exciting, emotional moments in Hawkeye football history? Please, find a better way to drive pageviews pass some time on a Wednesday morning.

Despite the outcome and LJ Scott’s second effort, that weekend in Indianapolis was one of the best weekends of a memorable 2015 season for the Hawkeyes.

Hawkeye fans totally overtook Indianapolis, drank the Cadillac Ranch out of beer, and watched an awesome Brett Greenwood feature at College GameDay, all while enjoying the freedom to carry and drink open adult beverages wherever they pleased.

That’s the law, right? It wasn’t just my roommates and me?

You probably hear the “night before Christmas” cliché used often before big games, but the Friday evening before the Big Ten title game meant more for every Hawkeye fan I encountered that weekend.

Having the opportunity to play in that game created a sense of joy and vindication for the Iowa faithful. It’s something I hope you were able to enjoy every second of because, as we saw this season, it’s no easy task to get back there and something we shouldn’t take for granted.

There was this.

I’ll never forget the feeling in Lucas Oil Stadium after Tevaun Smith came down with the ball, crossed the goal line, and hit the most emphatic dab in recent memory*. The place felt like it was going to collapse, and I remember turning to my neighbor on press row saying “Holy shit, Iowa’s actually going to the Playoff.”

Of course, what happened with 27 seconds left in the game nullified that thought and made the trip back to Iowa City pretty miserable, but I’ll be damned if everything prior to that 3rd and goal and the futile offensive attempts that followed wasn’t a crazy-fun experience I wouldn’t trade for the world.

The football gods weren’t kind enough didn’t give us a return trip to Indianapolis this weekend — maybe they will a year from now. Who knows, maybe it’s a good thing they’re sparing us from having to play Penn State again.

To preface what you’re about to read: it probably won’t be the case in future years, but — and as much as this reinforces what Colin Cowherd says (sorry) — it was fun being in the club.

Now next time, please just win the thing.

It hasn’t explicitly been said on this site yet, but I’ll go out on a huge limb and mention how ludicrous it is that above-average linebacker Jabrill Peppers won the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. That’s all.

This is a cool post we came across on LinkedIn, of all places.

Although they’re going to have a challenge replicating the production of Joel Booker, Tyler Peyton, et. al. from last season’s Big Ten Tournament Championship appearance, our new friend Matt Lisle is correct — Iowa is a program worth following.

Rick Heller’s done a great job getting his program back to relevancy (at minimum) since taking over prior to the 2015 season and has what should be a solid squad coming back with players like Robert Neustrom, Nick Gallagher, and Mason McCoy leading the way. And, Heller is a plus-plus guy, so we have that going for us.

The Hawkeyes open the season Feb. 17 against South Florida in Tampa. Yes, it’s news to me USF is in Tampa, which is not really in South Florida.

Hawkeye wrestling has what should be a fun dual on the schedule Friday evening at South Dakota State. We’ll detail it more in tomorrow’s primer, but here are the Spark Notes, courtesy of The Gazette: Tom Brands is going for his 200th win, Cory Clark will face a former teammate at 133, and this could be a ‘trap’ dual.

One last thing worth mentioning before you’re out of here — there’s a fantastic debate to be had on the NCAA women’s volleyball equivalent of PTI regarding Purdue’s berth in the NCAA Tournament over Iowa. While having one fewer Big Ten and overall win, and splitting the season series, the Boilermakers still made it over the Hawkeyes. Madness!

*Before this came along Tuesday.