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Kicking Off Hate Week 2014

Hate Week has arrived, and we're here to tell you that there are better approaches than others when it comes to addressing our foes to the East.

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Well, that time of year has arrived. For 51 weeks out of the year, Iowa State and Iowa fans manage to coexist in spite of a mutual loathing, holstering their hate with only occasional bursts of aggression boiling to the surface. This week, though, is the week when the proverbial gloves come off.

It's all fair game during Hate Week. Lines will be crossed and in our little corner of the Internet, a giant pissing match will ensure on this on this blog and on that of our rival brethren at Black Heart Gold Pants. The easily offended should just disconnect all electronic devices right now just to be safe.

But in lieu of the impending battle to be waged, I would like to offer up a word of advice to my fellow Cyclone fans; it's time to evolve.

Let me explain...

In recent years, I've more or less sat on the sidelines during Hate Week. Last year, I even went so far as to call it "Derp Week" because the collective IQ of each fan base plummets when these two schools meet on the field. But this year, I'm asking for you to be better.

Be better with your insults. Be smarter with your quips and jabs. Don't recycle the old standbys and actually put that brain and that education to use. Here's an example:

"What do Iowa State fans and most Iowa fans have in common? Neither went to the University of Iowa".

Is this still your go-to joke? Well if it is, stop it. Iowa has more fans. Deal with it. While Iowa has never been considered a traditional power, they've still enjoyed a far better football history than Iowa State. That disparity in success has begat generations of Hawk fans who simply wanted to root for a winner.

So instead of trying to insult the intelligence of Iowa fans by really paying them a back-handed compliment, why not change the phrasing to illustrate a better point?

As of 2013, Iowa State's enrollment surpassed Iowa's by a little more than 2,000 students, making it the largest university in the state. The linked article from the Des Moines Register cites an increased demand for grads from the engineering and agriculture fields. Also noteworthy, is that Iowa restricted its admission to its graduate law program, "because of low demand nationwide for law school graduates". But that's not the end of it.

In June, the Iowa Board of Regents adopted a new funding model that would reward the state universities for focusing their recruiting efforts on attracting and admitting students from the state of Iowa. As a result of this change, the University of Iowa stood to lose nearly $13 million as the school lagged far behind that of Iowa State when it came to the number of in-state students.

The fact of the matter is, Iowa State has positioned itself as the university for Iowans and whether or not you want to debate the merits of the Board of Regents' decision, you can't deny the fact that Iowa State is churning out more and more graduates than ever before in its history and most of them are home grown.

Bringing this back to athletics, it would only make sense that the increase in Cyclone graduates has bled over into the realm of attendance at Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum. When you're feeding a growing alumni base at that type of rate with a healthy portion of those graduates landing only 30 minutes away in Iowa's largest metropolitan area, you're going to see sold out football games like we have consistently seen over the last 6-7 years and you're going to see 15,000 Cyclone fans take over the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City.

So while there may not be a succinct way to put it, when your Hawkeye coworker gives you grief this week, drop some of these facts on him and casually remind him to take a look around the office. "Little brother" isn't so little anymore.

Moving along, I'm sure we'll hear more than our fair share of Paul Rhoads jokes this week. That's to be expected. That sideline demeanor that we used to celebrate just isn't as palatable when Iowa State isn't winning and some would say it even makes him look like a jackass.

The easy retort is to fire off something about Fran McCaffery and you know what, sometimes the easy route is the right route. You see, while Rhoads' mannerisms and speeches that once made him a cult hero now make him look like a desperate man at the end of the line, can you ever say that he embarrassed his university?

As for Iowa, as long as Mad Fran is at the helm, we can sit back and enjoy those late season collapses and middle of the conference finishes all while laughing at his stupid facial reactions and pathetic sideline antics.

Now, before you accuse me of the pot calling the kettle black, why don't you tell me how many times Rhoads has been flagged for his in-game actions. Don't bother looking it up. The answer is "zero". Furthermore, just how many games has Rhoads been suspended and fined for acting like a belligerent asshole? Again, the answer is "zero".

Sure, different sports and different codes of what's acceptable, but at least Rhoads' outbursts gained him some national respect on occasion. Watch that clip above and tell me you tell me between Rhoads and McCaffery, who the real jackass is.

And then there's Kirk Ferentz. In his 16th season at the helm, he's managed to not only successfully follow a legend, but even surpass his predecessor in some respects. One thing he hasn't done, however, is consistently beat lowly Iowa State. In fact, entering this week's game, Ferentz's career record sits at 7-8 against the Cyclones.

Now, you know that when that's brought up, we're going to hear the "Super Bowl" excuse. Instinctively, Iowa fans will blurt this out and in the same breath, convince themselves that this is a rational explanation, all while failing to realize that there is a trophy on the line after all, so yeah, there is a little more at stake when this game is played. Then again, Iowa has some type of ridiculously forced and manufactured trophy on the line for most of their games (it's coming Rutgers and Maryland, just you wait), so perhaps this one really doesn't mean that much to them?

In any event, Iowa is probably going to win this week and that could be another nail in Paul Rhoads' coffin (but far from the reason that he would be fired for). That's beside the point, though. Ultimately, what matters is that of the three coaches that have come through Ames in Ferentz's 16 seasons, all have enjoyed some level of success against Captain Kirk.

Coach Record vs. Ferentz
Dan McCarney 5-3
Gene Chizik 1-1
Paul Rhoads 2-3

As you can see, only Rhoads is under .500 against Ferentz. Now, while some may see this as an indictment on Ferentz's ability to beat lesser competition, I see it another way. The once colossal gap between these programs has narrowed and while Iowa State is still nowhere on the level of Iowa's program from a success stand point, fan support, facilities and even revenue are evening up. What that means is that regardless of who's at the helm leading the Iowa State program, it won't matter when it comes to playing Iowa.That coach will be able to compete on a level playing field and there will never be another 15-year drought.

Personally, I like to think that's the last thing that went through Hayden Fry's mind in 1998 as he watched the Cyclones end 15 years of futility in the rivalry and that's the moment that he ultimately decided to call it quits.

So this is just the warm up for this week and there is plenty more in store. If anything, I hope this serves as a reminder that you don't have to fall back on the tired and played out story lines and lame old jokes that you've been recycling for years. When it comes to the University of Iowa, there's no lack of material to use.