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VOTE: Which 2018 Iowa Football loss would make you most angry?

We ranked the opponents we’ll be most angry if Iowa loses to them

Minnesota v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

In the lead up to each football season, I (BoilerHawk) find myself going through the Iowa Hawkeyes schedule about 1000 different ways. One I continually come back to is how will I feel if they lose to this team? It’s a good way to ground myself in expectations so I can remind myself of them when they inevitably lose a game they should in heart-wrenching fashion (i.e. Penn State). It’s difficult for me to be angry about that loss, though there were obviously frustrating moments throughout the game.

But what about a loss to a superior rival (Wisconsin)? Or a recent conference bottom-feeder (Purdue)? Certainly the way those played out contributed to the angst I, and many, felt after those games. Going into the season, however, one would have made me angrier than the other.

So we at The Pants took a crack at ranking the angriest we’d be if Iowa loses to each team on their schedule with 1 being the angriest and 12 being the least angry with a short blurb expressing our hopefully hypothetical frustration.

At the bottom is a poll for you to submit your vote (most easily done on a desktop or tablet). We can fight about who is wrong in the comments.


(or not because this is kind of an exercise in self-flagellation)

12) Penn State (79 points)

Max: Full disclosure - I don’t even particularly think this game is one I would be furious about if they lose (I ranked it 9th out of 12), but it turns out I’m the only one who didn’t have this 11th or 12th on my list and that was good enough for me to draw this game’s blurb. Penn State’s a good team, the game will be played in Happy Valley, and Iowa hasn’t beaten ‘em in a good bit.

But my goodness, if there’s one reason I had this game a little higher than my fellow bloggers, it’s because I find a good majority of Penn State fans I’ve encountered on the World Wide Web to be incredibly insufferable. They’ve rediscovered their past success under James Franklin, and it’s only inflated their collective egos. For this reason and this reason alone, I have them a bit higher on my list.

11) Wisconsin (64 points)

Ben: Alright, Chicken fuckers.

Wisconsin should be in the top-2 for loss ire and I really don’t understand how it’s SECOND TO FRIGGIN LAST HERE.

I realize Wisconsin is probably the best team Iowa will face all year. Why does that make it OK if we lose to the Cheddar Spreaders?

Wisconsin has won five of the last six against Iowa. Losing to the Badge would almost certainly be DISASTROUS for Iowa’s Big Ten West title hopes, and that’s the goal this season, isn’t it? To make it to Indianapolis?

If an October loss to Wisconsin ends up being the reason Iowa can’t represent the West in Indy, I’m going to be #MADONLINE, and you should be too.


10) Maryland (61 points)

JP: I can only assume Maryland is this far down the list because most people have forgotten Maryland is actually in the Big Ten. It’s an easy thing to do. They’re way out on the east coast, they aren’t particularly good at football but they aren’t so bad to be rutger and they’ve only been in the conference for a few years.

BUT, a loss to Maryland would make me pretty upset and it should you as well.

First, this is Homecoming. Who wants to lose on Homecoming? Nobody. More than that, it’s the only home game in the month of October. How terrible would it be to spend an entire month without a win in October? Worse yet, it could be longer. Iowa plays Wisconsin on September 22nd and after Maryland they aren’t back in Kinnick until November 10th. A loss at home to forgettable Maryland could mean 8 weeks without a home win in Iowa City.

If that doesn’t do it for you, consider the circumstances surrounding Maryland football right now. They are without their head coach after he and staff were discovered to be abusive to their players, to the point one of them collapsed of heat stroke over the summer (RIP). This is a team in turmoil. They’ll be not good to terrible this season. A home loss to them would be both embarrassing and a potential season killer.

Iowa can afford losses to good teams if they’d like to find themselves in a solid bowl. Maryland will not be a solid team. A loss here would ruin my October and possibly the Hawkeyes’ season.

9) Purdue (57 points)

BoilerHawk: One might ask how, exactly, Our Most Hated Rival could place ninth on this list? And that’s fair. After all, I remember being incredibly angry I wasted my one trip to Kinnick last year on that soggy turd of a game which featured all elements of a frustrating Kirk Ferentz-led loss: letdown after a big win, the resistance to change, the stale offense, the horrible math. That might all return when Iowa visits Ross-Ade this season and I for one, am not looking forward to the prospect of Iowa replicating last year’s performance.

BUT - this could also be a jovial, high-scoring affair since each team loses some key pieces on defense and returns tons of firepower on offense. After all, sometimes it’s difficult to be too mad after a loss like that.

Nevermind, that would suck, too.

8) Indiana (52 points)

Ben: It’s funny. Just last night I was hoisting some adult beverages with a few folks I went to Iowa with and we were discussing how we’re going to see our Hawks in person this year.

The home schedule isn’t that great. Wisconsin and Iowa State are really the only two games that excite me, but I’ll be in Munich for Oktoberfest when Iowa plays the Badgers.

So the prospect of going to an away game was raised. Iowa does play Illinois, just a short drive from home for us, but I’ve been to Champaign before. I don’t need to go again.

I’ve never been to Bloomington, however. And my current roommate is a Hoosier.

If my first experience in Bloomington results in a loss while in the shadow of my cackling cave troll roommate, I will, again, be #MADONLINE.

7) Northwestern (49 points)

Jerry: When I finally arrived on campus in the fall of 2008, I was ecstatic for my first full season of Iowa football. After starting 3-1, including a weird 17-5 win in my first ever CyHawk game and a heartbreaking 21-20 loss to Pitt, I went into that Northwestern game ready to end their “greatest start in 46-years”. With a 17-10 lead at half, I thought the Hawkeyes were ready to accomplish just that. But, four fumbles, an interception and four final chances inside the Wildcats 10-yard line to win that game outright, it was all for naught.

Once again, in 2010 -- my last football season as a student -- I drove home to Chicago to finally, FINALLY watch the No.13 ranked Hawkeyes take out Northwestern. With hopes of a Big Ten Championship still in sight, a win here was crucial to keep those hopes alive.

But, of course, that didn’t happen. Instead, I watched a dreadful game that ended with Dan EFFING Persa celebrating a last minute touchdown so hard that he ruptured his Achilles tendon. That was the first of a three game losing streak that would put an end to all of my Big Ten Champion hopes and dreams.

Fair to say, I HATE losing to Northwestern. I hate watching Pat Fitzgerald be happy. I hate his smug smile and his stupid face. I hate that they think they are Chicago’s “Big Ten Team” (copyright). I hate C.J. Bacher. I hate Corey Wootton. I hate Dan Persa. I hate Kain Colter. I hate Austin Carr. I hate Clayton Thorson. I hate the color purple. And, just for good measure, I hate John Shurna.

If Iowa loses to Northwestern for the third straight year in a row for the second time since I was in school, I will lose my effing mind.

6) Illinois (35 points)

Max: This game was my #2 behind Nebraska, and for good reason - the Fighting Illini haven’t had a winning season since 2011, when they went 7-6. That’s their best finish since 2007, when they won nine games and went to the Rose Bowl. Last year, they started 15 true freshmen and quite frankly, they might improve a bit on 2017’s 2-10 record. Maybe 4-8? Because they sure as hell aren’t going bowling unless there’s a complete miracle in Champaign. This is without a doubt the worst team on Iowa’s schedule in 2018, and if Iowa loses to the lowly Illini in front of 3,000 fans at Memorial Stadium, I will be utterly furious.

T-4) NIU (33 points)

Jerry: Can you all tell that I’m from Illinois? Here’s the thing about NIU this year… if we lose it will be our own damn fault. It was one thing losing Brady Reiff for the opener against the Huskies, as the defensive line looks like it’s deeper than its ever been under Kirk Ferentz. The greater will of that unit could overcome that mistake. Brandon Snyder’s departure hurt a little more, but again, the talent in the secondary and Phil Parker’s willingness to play talented and deserving freshman would be able to overcome that loss.

But once Tristan Wirfs, Alaric Jackson and Cedrick Lattimore also got the hook for Iowa’s season opener against Northern Illinois, I started to get antsy. At full strength, Iowa should be able to get past NIU in Iowa City. But when both returning starting tackles get taken out of the picture in favor of redshirt freshman without a snap to his name and either a fifth year senior with limited experience or a spot-start guard, well, NOT GREAT, BOB!

Throw in a juiced up Sutton Smith going up against those two on the outside and an NIU offense that will challenge an inexperienced defense and is it wrong for me to get a little pissed off at Iowa for shooting themselves in the foot before the season even began?

T-4) UNI (33 points)

JP: Quite frankly, I can’t decide if I would be more mad if Iowa loses to UNI than I am that they are somehow sitting at 4th in these rankings. It’s ludicrous. Northern Iowa should far and away be the number one choice here. Why? It’s freaking UNI!

This isn’t about an annoying fanbase or a ridiculous coach. Thsoe things, sure, would make losses to other teams frustrating, but they wouldn’t be in the same universe as the frustration, anger and disappointment of managing to lose to an FCS opponent from within the state at home.

Maybe my age and perspective have again given me wisdom and clarity lacking my younger BHGP brethren here, but anyone who sat in Kinnick back in 2009, resigned to the fact that a team with high hopes was about to lose to lowly UNI can tell you the varying degrees of frustration and downright anger that such a loss would evoke.

A loss here and you can kiss any hope of a decent season goodbye. A loss here and Hawkeye fans will have more media exposure than they can imagine, and not the good kind. A loss here and the comments would be Thunderdome. This game has no business being ranked anywhere but the top of the list for games that would upset Iowa fans with a loss.

3) Nebraska (29 points)

Jordan: In some ways, it’s rather incredible Nebraska has become such an important game to me (and, I’d assume, many of you as well) over the past few years. Outside of Iowa State, there isn’t a team I personally want to beat more than the stupid blackshirts. I mean, hell, I’m STILL a little miffed about what Shawn Eichorst said in 2014 about Iowa (An aside: I am a completely normal and rational person, leave me alone).

Anyways, Scott Frost taking over has made the unbearable fans somehow even more unbearable than they already were. Iowa-Nebraska is going to be an incredibly important game this season and if we lose, it’s going to be infuriating. I know some Cornhusker fans still don’t like to call it a rivalry, but it very much is one — even if the Hawks have completely dominated it as of late.

This game, during this season, is simply one Iowa needs to win. My ire levels will be through the roof (which is saying something, because I live at 5,700 feet) if they don’t.

T-1) ISU (27 points)

Matt: I’m a firm believer that Iowa football should never lose to Iowa State. Only Nebraska and Nebraska fans irk me to a level even close to Iowa State and its fans. Losing to Iowa State is irksome in itself because we don’t hear the end of it for 365 days about losing to a team that more than likely will suck for the rest of the season, but it’s even more irksome now. Matt Campbell is a Grade-A troll and everything he does drives me up the wall.

T-1) Minnesota (27 points)

Boiler: A soul-scorching Iowa loss requires three elements: beatability of opponent, nature of the rivalry, and a focus of the ire. In Minnesota, all three exist. Minnesota is a bottom tier opponent. Their fans literally yell about their hate for Iowa - not just the team, not just the fans, but the entire state. (assholes) And P.J. Fleck is the embodiment of everything people hate about millennials. If you’re a millennial, you should hate him for giving your generation a bad name. If you’re of a different generation, you should hate him for being a millennial and that’s what everyone who isn’t a millennial does.

If that doesn’t fire you up, just pictureFloyd with a gotdang oar.

That’s what I thought.


Reminder: 1 is the most angry like the DEFCON scale


Iowa Hawkeye Loss Anger Ratings

Game BoilerHawk mattcabel JPinIC GospelOfMax HelloJerry Ben Jordan Aggregate
Game BoilerHawk mattcabel JPinIC GospelOfMax HelloJerry Ben Jordan Aggregate
Penn State 11 12 12 9 11 12 12 79
Wisconsin 10 11 11 12 12 2 6 64
Maryland 12 9 5 6 8 10 11 61
Purdue 7 10 9 10 9 8 4 57
Indiana 9 8 4 8 7 6 10 52
Northwestern 6 5 10 11 1 7 9 49
Illinois 4 4 2 2 4 11 8 35
NIU 8 3 3 7 3 4 5 33
UNI 5 6 1 4 5 5 7 33
Nebraska 1 1 6 1 10 9 1 29
ISU 3 2 8 3 6 3 2 27
Minnesota 2 7 7 5 2 1 3 27