So Tom Brands joined Twitter a few weeks ago. And by joined I literally mean "he just created a Twitter account." Those hoping for the most intense collections of 140 characters this side of @ZODIAC_MF (warning: sometimes NSFW) were let down, though; Brands failed to tweet anything. Until yesterday.
What brought Iowa's resident Intensity Master-in-Chief out of Twitter hibernation? Why, our good friend Cael Sanderson, of course, who happened to notice that there was something... missing from the Iowa and Penn State wrestling schedules this year. Something B1G. And Brands noticed it, too.
@caelsanderson yeah. I agree . Lets do something about it.— Tom Brands (@TomBrandsHAWK) September 5, 2013
Hell. Yeah. The devious Delanybot 9000 wants to try and deny us a Penn State-Iowa dual meet this year? Screw it. Just circumvent the damn machines and make it happen anyway.
But where to hold such a dual meet? Cael opined first.
@TomBrandsHAWK yes! let's figure it out. Rec Hall??— Cael Sanderson (@caelsanderson) September 5, 2013
Rec Hall? For Iowa-Penn State? BOOOOO.
When Brands didn't reply quickly enough, Cael threw out the dreaded s-word.
@TomBrandsHAWK warning stalling— Cael Sanderson (@caelsanderson) September 5, 2013
That woke the Brands from his Twitter slumber.
@caelsanderson I'm thinking Carver Hawkeye Arena. Remember you owe us a 'two in a row'— Tom Brands (@TomBrandsHAWK) September 5, 2013
The 'two in a row' comment by Brands refers to the fact that Penn State hosted back-to-back dual meets against Iowa in 2011 and 2012. (CHECK)
Sanderson's response? BRING ON THE PINK LOCKER ROOM.
@TomBrandsHAWK ok fair enough. can u guarantee we get the tiny locker room with pink walls?— Cael Sanderson (@caelsanderson) September 5, 2013
When Brands didn't respond swiftly to Sanderson's question about when such a dual meet might take place, it was almost time to call the whole thing off.
@TomBrandsHAWK u know this late this might be too much of a hassle, it was a fun to play with idea though. we'll see you guys at B1G tourney— Cael Sanderson (@caelsanderson) September 5, 2013
@TomBrandsHAWK just kidding, we are in. let us know when and we'll be there!! #IowaVsPennState— Cael Sanderson (@caelsanderson) September 5, 2013
So when might such a dual happen?
@caelsanderson listen. Sometime in December. Around the 'good will toward men' holiday. Your calendar open?— Tom Brands (@TomBrandsHAWK) September 5, 2013
Sanderson and Penn State sound on board.
@TomBrandsHAWK schedule's tight but we'll make it work. Send a date and we'll lock it in.— Cael Sanderson (@caelsanderson) September 5, 2013
Meanwhile, Tony Ramos had an idea about where the dual meet could go down, too...
@TomBrandsHAWK @caelsanderson we need to lay down a mat on Kinnick field in December with some outdoor heaters and break the record!— Anthony Ramos (@T_Ram133) September 5, 2013
Whoa. Eat your heart out, Wrestlemania. (Also: potentially BRRR.) Hey, if those namby-pamby hockey players, with their giant sweaters and their enormous pads, can play outside in December and January, surely the manly men of the Iowa and Penn State wrestling teams can grapple in the frost, right?
In all seriousness, though -- will this dual meet actually happen? I certainly hope so, although it's not a sure thing. As Sanderson indicated, the scheduling is tight, although there are options. Iowa hosts Buffalo on 12/12, then is off until Midlands on 12/29 and 12/30. Penn State hosts Ohio State on 12/15 and is off until the Southern Scuffle 1/1 and 1/2. But could we squeeze something in that window of time from mid-December to the end of the month?
Let's assume that the meet will be at CHA; that's Brands and Sanderson informally agreed to on Twitter, after all. (Sidenote: I want to see more schedule negotiations happen on Twitter.) The men's basketball team has dibs on CHA for home games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Nebraska on 12/22 and 12/31, respectively. The women's basketball team is hosting home games at CHA against Drake and North Dakota on 12/21 and 12/28, respectively. And there is the little matter of Christmas (or as Brands calls it, the "good will toward men" holiday) in the middle of that span, too. But how about Friday, December 27? It looks like CHA would be free that night and it splits the difference between Christmas and Midlands.
Whether or not this dual meet ends up happening (although I certainly hope it does), this is certainly not the first time in recent memory that we've seen Brands and Sanderson working together. They've found themselves on the same side of the debate surrounding National Duals, adamantly opposing Rob Koll's proposal to radically transform the event (the most significant change of which would have been to make the NCAA-acknowledged champion the winner of the National Duals, rather than the top team at the individual NCAA Tournament) and, this year, sitting out the event altogether. They've also fought side-by-side in the fight to save Olympic wrestling, a crusade which is reaching its endpoint this weekend. And now they're working together to try and make an Iowa-Penn State dual meet happen this year, despite the best efforts of the Delanybot 9000 and the Big Ten's schedulers.
On one hand, it's certainly encouraging to see two of the sport's most powerful coaches working together, especially when the outcome is so obviously desirable (saving Olympic wrestling, getting an Iowa-Penn State dual meet to happen when it otherwise wouldn't). On the other hand... it's also kinda weird. This is like Superman and Lex Luthor teaming up. It just seems a bit... unnatural. I mean, between stuff like this, his cheeky and good-natured Twitter feed, and the fact that he drives a Vespa around State College, how am I suppose to keep disliking Sanderson? The fire of my sports hate needs fueling, Cael! Gimme something to work with here!
We'll keep you apprised of any updates regarding this story. And if you haven't seen the Iowa Nice Guy's video about wrestling, well give it a watch:
FILA makes its presentation before the IOC on Sunday, September 8th, with the vote on which sport (wrestling, squash, baseball/softball) to include in the 2020 Olympic programme occurring directly afterwards.
[UPDATE, 1:30 PM: OH, IT'S ON. THE MEET IS ON. THE M IS O. ANNOUNCEMENT HO!
The University of Iowa and Penn State University announced Friday that the two schools will meet in a nonconference wrestling dual on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 8 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Mat inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions have met every year since 1982, but their annual meeting was omitted from the Big Ten schedule when conference dates were announced earlier this summer. The upcoming dual will be the 36th meeting between the schools. Iowa leads the all-time series, 26-7-2.
GO IOWA AWESOME. LET'S SELL THE PLACE OUT. --AJ]