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Iowa makes its case for a nat’l title bid


Iowa makes its case for a nat’l title bid

Boy, was I wrong.

I envisioned myself typing those words; writing this column about a month ago when I was looking at where Iowa, Iowa State and UNI football were sitting.

And as the season went on and Iowa continued collecting wins like seashells from the beach, I realized I got it all wrong. Week in and week out, Iowa has proven itself to be a national title contender. The mere feat of going 12-0 in a Power 5 conference, regardless of schedule, is outstanding.

It’s done by one or two teams every year, and usually those teams end up winning the national title.

However, the Hawkeyes’ toughest competition of the season lies before them. Win, and they’re in. Lose, and, well, at least you’re still playing in the Rose Bowl.

Iowa has taken a lot of flak for not having a strong enough schedule and its 12-0 record isn’t as strong as Michigan State’s 11-1 record. Maybe that’s true, but nonetheless, the best team will rise on Saturday

Stephen Koenigsfeld

Sports Editor

night in Indianapolis, and the conversation will by moot.

If Iowa wins, it will have defied nearly everyone outside of this state.

A lot of times, you’ll see SportsNation or ESPN do a “who do you think will win this game?” poll of the entire United States. Sometimes, when a notorious team is up against a well-liked team (i.e.

Florida State vs. Oregon last year), 48 or 49 states will vote for the “underdog” (Oregon) and the homes state will stand true (Florida State).

On Saturday, if a poll came out for the Iowa vs. Michigan State game, I can’t imagine Iowa pulling in many votes outside of the state.

But win. Oh man. Now you’ve got your story line.

A team that was 4-8 two years ago, on the verge of dumping its head coach into a volcano, is now in the driver’s seat to take on Alabama, Oklahoma or Clemson. Three teams that have been in the headlines for years. YEARS.

Clemson, the fresh, young team that has fostered its program behind a gutsy coach and star players.

Oklahoma: a high-caliber, spread the field, historic program pitting two former staffers under Hayden Fry — Bob Stoops and Kirk Ferentz — against each other.

And Alabama. Somewhere in Iowa City there’s a sign floating around with “We want ‘Bama” in red letters.

Can you imagine that?

Iowa would go from having one state on that SportsNation poll to having 45.

If Iowa gets in this thing, it could have a shift in how we view college football. A bunch of corn-fed kids from the Midwest taking on the might Goliath SEC?

Or arguably the most historic Big 12 team. Or the oh-so-likable kids from the East Coast?

It’s stereotyping, yes, I know that. But you all know it’s true. I mean, look how they played UNI up during the NCAA Tournament last March. Iowa has put itself in the driver’s seat. With the opportunity to prove a 13-0, 14-0 and possibly 15-0 record to everyone who ever doubted them on the line, the Hawkeyes got out of their own way and let the scores and record do the talking. I was wrong. I can admit that. But now, honestly, I’m just excited to see just how far they’ll go. Aren’t you?

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