All things considered, it was a pretty good year to be a Hawkeye. There were some high highs and low lows, but that’s what being a fan is all about anyway, right?
It may not have been as great a year as 2015, but still.
We at The Pants decided to speak amongst ourselves and rank our top-5 moments this year in Hawkeye fandom. We don’t agree on most things, and this wasn’t any different.
You probably don’t agree with us either. That’s fine! Air your grievances and maybe post your favorite Hawkeye-related moments from the past year below.
- Beating Minnesota in everything:
I know Iowa State might be our “real” rival, and true, we did beat Iowa State in everything of consequence this year, but nothing gives me more pleasure than beating the Gilded Rodents. I grew up in Minnesota. I even grew up a Gopher fan, taking full advantage of my dad’s season tickets for the basketball team from an early age. Going to those games at the Barn was good; they conditioned me to a life of despair and pain. Which is why I LOVE seeing Iowa beat Minnesota in anything and everything. Minnesota fans in general see their teams in the most unrealistic light. Jerry Kill is the second coming of Bud Grant. Richard Pitino is a good guy and isn’t constantly covered in grease. Mitch Leidner is the best quarterback in this draft. HA! And don’t even get me started on the athletic department, which has been the most dysfunctional of any major university not named Baylor for the better part of the past decade. Beating Minnesota should be a given, and I love it when we do.
2. No. 3 ranking in basketball. That was fun for a week!
3. Beating Michigan in football.
4. Husking Nebraska in football.
5. Rose Bowl appearance. The game never happened.
- Being ranked in the top 5 of both hoops and football in the same month:
This may be a bit of a cop out, but I'm going with it anyway. It was only a brief moment in 2016 when the Iowa football team was ranked #5, and it never quite overlapped with the hoops teams being ranked in the top 5 (they climbed to #3 a week or two later if memory serves), but few things are better than being able to gloat about both major sports programs at nearly the same time. It's rare for schools to have such highly ranked football AND basketball teams (some OSU and Texas years of past come to mind, I'm sure there are more) and I doubt I live to see another month where both programs at Iowa are sitting in the top 5, regardless of the length of stay there.
2. Getting to the Rose Bowl for first time in 25 years.
3. Beating Michigan.
4.Beating ISU in literally everything they have.
5. Everything about football up to the kickoff of the NDSU game (recruiting, ranking, outlook).
- Beating Michigan:
As of this writing, yours truly is the only one to take the win over Michigan as his No. 1 Hawkeye moment of 2016, which is somewhat expected. I grew up and, admittedly, still am an Ohio State fan, so seeing the Wolverines lose in anything is always wonderful. On the flipside of my ‘keyes fandom, this game was so so so gratifying to watch. The program’s temperature was as down in the dumps as it had been in recent memory coming off the Penn State loss. The season had seemingly gone to the wind, and just like that, Jim Harbaugh walked out of Kinnick without a win for the first time all year. The field storm was an awesome exclamation point on a great and much-needed win for the senior class. Toss in the fact I was lucky enough to take in this game at amongst college friends in the comfort of Iowa City’s finest drinking establishment, and it’s my favorite Iowa sports memory of 2016.
2. Beating Nebraska.
3. Everything about the Rose Bowl until the game started.
4. Sammy Brooks and Cory Clark winning Big Ten wrestling titles.
5. Beating Iowa State in all of it.
- Making Iowa a Hawkeye state, beating ISU in everything that matters:
Sure, beating Michigan was huge and unexpected. But that’s just one sport. But to beat the Cyclones into submission in football, basketball, and wrestling means the Hawks have all the bragging rights this year.
2. Every minute of beating Michigan. Especially the last 3 seconds.
3. Crushing Nebraska.
4. Every Peter Jok jump shot (each one is a thing of beauty).
5. The Ron Coluzzi show against Michigan, especially the head over heels flip.
- Upsetting Michigan at Kinnick:
This one was easy for me to rank because I had the opportunity to experience it in person. Never in my wildest dreams could I have foreseen what took place that night.
2. The moment I saw the Hawks were in the Rose Bowl… Then it happened.
3. Crushing Nebraska’s hopes and dreams.
4. All of the Akrum Wadley ankle-breakers.
5. Beating Iowa State in nearly every sport known to man.
- Iowa 40, Nebraska 10:
Beating Michigan two weeks prior was so, so sweet, and nothing will change that. But for some reason, beating Nebraska was so damn great in a whole different way. Maybe it was the way that Iowa blew them out and I was able to enjoy it the entire game. Maybe I just really enjoy seeing sad Nebraska fans. Iowa dominated in defense in both the Michigan and Nebraska games, but offense sure is nice, right? I’m not sure what the exact reason, but it’s my top moment in Hawkeye sports from 2016.
2. Iowa 14, Michigan 13. Keith Duncan has HUEVOS.
3. Adam Woodbury’s game-winner to defeat Temple in the NCAA Tourney.
4. This play was pretty cool.
5. It’s a Hawkeye State.
- Knocking off Michigan:
When I think back to the mood around the team coming off the dismantling in Happy Valley and the way the Hawkeyes rallied down the stretch of the season, it’s clear that beating the Wolverines was the turning point in this season. Beyond that, it’s always supremely satisfying to take down some of the Big Ten’s heavy hitters and I will never complain about ruining Michigan’s season.
2. Rose Bowl appearance (I’ve since forgotten that a game was even played that day).
3. Crushing Nebraska 40-10.
4. Beating Temple in the NCAA Tourney.
5. Top-5 ranking in basketball.
What say you, Friends of The Pants?