Four years ago, as the Big 12 looked to be on the verge of implosion, Iowa State and its sympathizers in the legislature told Iowa's president that she should push for Iowa State to get a place in the Big Ten. It didn't matter that Iowa State meets literally none of the standard requirements for joining the B1G. The parents were telling Iowa that Iowa State had to play, too.
But no, they're totally not little brother.
This August, a reporter got a look at a tackling dummy at Iowa State's preseason camp.
But no, this totally isn't their Super Bowl.
Their media mouthpiece, a guy who use to cover Iowa but now reports on the Clones while wearing one of their shirts, says the game isn't that important:
I'm aware Iowa State has won three in a row in games immediately after facing the Hawkeyes, so don't give me the line that Cyclone teams get more jacked for Cy-Hawk than other opponents.
In the last 25 years, Iowa State has lost to Iowa and still won five games once.
But no, this game totally isn't important at all to Iowa State or its fans.
Their bozo of a head coach, a man who makes Fran McCaffery's sideline demeanor look priestly, a man who now melts down on referees in every game, got angry because other coaches recruited.
Of course, the alleged phone calls didn't happen, not that it would have mattered if they had.
But no, Iowa's not in their heads. Not by a long shot.
Their athletic director is frantically trying to tell everyone that Jack Trice Stadium is soon going to be almost as big as Kinnick, as if he can find 70,000 to watch Rhoads have yet another nervous breakdown. He's clearing space in their one trophy case. He's scouting billboard space, because winning against Iowa is such a monumental event that news of it needs to be shouted from the highest mountaintops.
But sure, Iowa State is totally on par with Iowa.
Their fans have told themselves that having non-alumni fans is somehow a bad thing, that generating enough success to make a nonpartisan observer into a supporter shows weakness. It's a mentality built on conspiracies about referees and conference officials and Vegas bookies and, yes, Iowa fans. I'd say they are Cubs fans, but at least Cubs fans have a cosmic view of their futility.
Taking a cue from his team's football coach, an Iowa State fan actually tried to chase down the opposing coach at a basketball game not too long ago.
That was followed by racism and threats over Twitter at the player who had just beaten them. But no, they're completely reasonable people.
Let's just say what we all know: For the vast majority of Iowa State fans, beating Iowa makes their year. It has since they changed the name of the school to BEAT IOWA for the 1977 game, and while some of the more hardcore ISU fans have moved past it and set their sights on bigger things than the second Saturday in September, they are few and far between. And it's not hard to see why: Iowa is arrogant. There's no doubt about it. Iowa has more cachet, more clout, and more prestige in just about everything. The University of Iowa has been ranked higher in every collegiate ranking in the history of collegiate rankings. It has the state's premiere hospital and law school. It draws students from across the Midwest and the nation, people who actually want to live in the town where it is located.
Ames? Ames has tap water.
I had no idea Jamie Pollard's tears were so free of impurities.
This isn't a must-win game for Iowa; this team probably isn't a playoff contender, and a win or loss likely has no bearing on the team's eventual Big Ten outcome. Iowa lost this game in 2002 and went undefeated in the conferece; it won in 2006 and completely imploded. EIther possibility is there for 2014. Iowa already has landed five of the top six players in the state for 2015 -- the sixth being an offensive lineman that Ferentz never offered -- so any recruiting effect is minimal. This is a non-conference game that has added meaning to the fans. Nothing more, nothing less.
But it doesn't mean I don't want Iowa to win by triple digits Saturday. Because I do, and every Iowa fan in state, Tavernhok or not, does too. It's not for superiority -- even before kickoff, ISU fans are turning toward basketball season as their last bastion of hope -- but rather just to shut the little brother up for 365 more days, to force him to stop tugging on our pant leg, begging for his turn, demanding an equal share of an unequal pairing. I've enjoyed the peace and quiet of the last year. I want another year of it. I want 20 more years of it, like Hayden Fry gave us. I want peace and quiet until the end of time.
Year two starts Saturday.