The Iowa Hawkeyes finally got things, if not turned around, at least stabilized in week ten as they defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 17-12. It wasn’t pretty, but Iowa got back into the win column after a pair of losses to Purdue and Wisconsin in their two prior outings.
That’s more than can be said for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who entered last week atop the Big Ten West still in control of their own destiny and promptly lost to Illinois 14-6. That came after what had been a solid 4-game winning streak, including a critical win at Purdue. But the Gophers also have a loss to Bowling Green on their resume and are not on to their fourth string running back after the AMRBHG struck down Mo Ibrahim, Trey Potts and Bryce Williams.
Now Minnesota and Iowa prepare to face off with The Pig on the line, as well as critical positioning in the Big Ten West. Both teams are currently sitting at 4-2 in the conference, but the Gophers still have a date with Wisconsin to end the year which could decide who wins the West. A win from Iowa on Saturday would have the Hawkeyes rooting for Minnesota to take care of the Badgers in Minneapolis the final week of the year.
Here’s a quick look at the details of this weekend’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, November 13th
Time: 2:30pm CT
Matchup: Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-3, 4-2) at #19 Iowa Hawkeyes (7-2, 4-2)
Location: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
Preliminary Weather Forecast: windy with temps in the low-40s, 30% chance of rain
DraftKings Opening Line: Iowa -6.5, O/U 37.5*
There are very few opponents with whom Iowa has more history than Minnesota. These two programs have met a total of 114 times with Minnesota holding a sizable lead in the all-time series. However, the vast majority of that lead was built up in the early days of college football when Minnesota was a national power.
The Gophers won 29 of the first 34 meetings in this series, but since the end of World War II, Iowa holds a 45-33 series lead. That includes winning the last six in this one and all four meetings that have featured current head coach PJ Fleck.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is 16-6 all-time against Minnesota. The Gophers haven’t won in Iowa City since Ferentz’s first year in Iowa City - 1999. Minnesota has gone through four additional coaches since Glenn Mason took the pig out of Iowa City last millennium.
That’s a pretty good reason to hate Iowa.
Before Minnesota hated Iowa, the Hawkeyes hated Minnesota. They had good reason too. Back in the early 1930s, Iowa’s star running back Ozzie Simmons happened to be black. In 1934, Minnesota’s players reportedly went out of their way to target Simmons for unnecessary roughness on a regular basis.
As Iowa prepared for the matchup in 1935, Hawkeye fans began to stand up to the Gophers, including sending death threats to the Minnesota head coach. It got to the point Iowa governor Clyde Herring piped up indicating Iowa fans may take matters into their own hands saying:
“Those Minnesotans will find 10 other top-notch football players besides ‘Oze’ Simmons against them this year, moreover, if the officials stand for any rough tactics like Minnesota used last year, I’m sure the crowd won’t.”
After Minnesota threatened to back out of the series, governors from the two states came together to ensure the game would go on with Minnesota governor Floyd B. Olsen writing to Herring to propose a wager:
“Dear Clyde, Minnesota folks are excited over your statement about the Iowa crowd lynching the Minnesota football team. If you seriously think Iowa has any chance to win, I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota wins today.”
And so, Floyd of Rosedale was born.
While Floyd is no longer a live pig delivered across state lines to the annual winner, it remains arguably the best trophy in college football. And the history doesn’t end with the beginning. As our own Matt Reisener wrote a few years back, the racial back stories for this series continued for decades.
Not race related, but the series drama extended to last year’s meeting. You’ll recall that Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck opted to keep his starters in late in the game a season ago, scoring a touchdown in garbage time. Iowa responded by using all their timeouts to close out the game and send a message.