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Debunking the "Super Bowl" Myth

ISUSuperBowlFirst off, I want to say that the game this weekend was wildly entertaining, and even if Iowa State had come out on the short end of the stick, it would have been a good time. Also, I would like to compliment both fan bases on keeping everything civil before or after the game. As someone who has seen full beers thrown at ISU fans in Iowa City, and merciless taunting of Hawkeye fans in Ames, this was a breath of fresh air.

That being said, I've heard a lot about the "Iowa State Super Bowl" myth... and while you may be able to argue that Iowa State fans care slightly more about the game than Iowa fans, the "Iowa State's Super Bowl" excuse is unbelievably stupid. Let's look at why:

1. History: Were Hawkeye fans complaining when Hayden Fry beat the living shit out of the Cyclones, year after year, sometimes running up the score? It's a rivalry, coaches and players don't want to tell in state recruits and fans that they were beat by the other FBS school in the state. Was it the Cyclones' Super Bowl the previous two years when they beat Nebraska and Texas, but got shitstomped to the tune of 70-10 against Iowa?

2. Effort: So apparently, if it's Iowa State's Super Bowl, the Iowa State players try harder.... and the Hawkeye players treat it like any other game. Well, believe it or not, for a "National Championship contender" (As the Hawkeye fans say) like Iowa, every game should be treated like the Super Bowl, since a single loss in college football will knock you out of the BCS Title Game most years. If you can't get up for a game against an in-state rival, that's just poor coaching and laziness by the players. The "they tried harder than us... possibly way too hard" excuse has an application in rec league sports, but nowhere else.

3. Trash Talk: The more you downgrade the other team for winning, instead of just saying, good game, we played hard, you bested us today, the more credence you lend to the fact it's NOT just another game for your team. If you want to act differently, win or lose, you're doing nothing to disprove the fact you care more about Iowa State than other games on your schedule. Conversely, this goes for ISU fans as well. I saw some ISU fans rub it in Iowa fan's face that we won in 2007 and how that makes our season successful. A steaming pile of dogshit was more acceptable than the season we had that year.

4. Records: Iowa State is generally the better team when they beat Iowa, based on wins and losses.  Perhaps the biggest myth in all of this is that Iowa State routinely beats Iowa and then goes on to "blow it" down the stretch.  Since 1998, ISU has won 7 out of 13 games against Iowa.  In all but 2 of those 7 seasons, Iowa State finished with a better or equal record to Iowa.  I know this will just likely cause brains across Eastern Iowa to explode, but this means that ISU was a better team in the eyes of everyone but Hawkeye fans.  In those 2 seasons where ISU finished with a worse record than Iowa, ISU's strength of schedule just blew Iowa's out of the water.  There is no doubt that in 2002 Iowa had a team that finished the season in MUCH better shape than ISU's.  ISU DID fall apart that year.  However, Iowa lolly-gagged through a weak Big 10, avoiding eventual national champion Ohio State.  ISU had road games against Top 25 teams in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State, and Colorado.  4 ranked teams on the road.  It's unlikely Iowa runs the table with that schedule.  In 2007, both teams pretty much sucked.  Once again, ISU hosted ranked teams in OU, Texas, and went on the road to take on ranked Mizzou and KU squads, and a tough TTU team.  Iowa finished the season losing to Western Michigan. So why does Hawk fan tell themself that ISU just goes on to suck while Iowa rises to greatness?  Because it happened once in the past 13 years?  Because outside of 2002, this statement, as you've just seen, is completely and utterly false.

Someday, perhaps both schools can meet in a BCS Title game, and we can rightfully call that both team's Super Bowl. Hey, one can dream, right?