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Stop Blaming the Iowa State Game for Your Poor National Perception, Hawkeyes

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The Iowa-Iowa State game will stay no matter the pressure for it to go.

Charlie Neibergall/AP Sports

The Cy-Hawk series sparks passion and fiery debate. It’s a rivalry you’re born into. Individuals are raised on either side of the fence and there’s no easy way to be on both sides.

It’s a series that has been almost as even as possible over the past 20 years, and it’s given us some unforgettable moments in that stretch. How about the Jake Knott interception to ice the game at Kinnick Stadium? Or the 3OT marathon in Jack Trice Stadium that had both fan bases on the edges of their seats? There have been a mix of blowouts and close games, so why would anyone want to get rid of a healthy rivalry game?

Enter Colin Cowherd.

Cowherd has had it in for Iowa ever since the Hawkeyes’ run to the Rose Bowl in 2015. He repeatedly calls them the “Fake ID” of college football, and in his latest rant, he calls them out for weak scheduling in their non-conference slate.

He’s not mad about Iowa scheduling Iowa State. The Cy-Hawk game sparks passion and brings people together from all corners of the state on one Saturday each fall. Cowherd is mad about Iowa being unwilling to schedule a home-and-home series with perennial powerhouses like Alabama, USC and Florida State. Instead, they’ve chosen to add other programs to their schedule, like Middle Tennessee State and North Texas.

Since the outburst from Cowherd, Iowa beat writers have been all over this, explaining why the game may be bad for Iowa’s national relevancy. Cowherd set the bait for these writers and they jumped all over it, threw Iowa State in the mud, and stepped all over them. Yet, Iowa State isn’t the problem here.

The way I see it, the Cy-Hawk game doesn’t hurt Iowa at all. Have we forgotten Iowa beat Iowa State in 2015, ran the table and was smack dab in the middle of the National Title hunt? They ended up losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game, which ultimately knocked them out of the College Football Playoff consideration.

But somehow, scheduling Iowa State is hurting Iowa’s national relevance. The only team hurting Iowa’s national relevancy is Iowa.

When you’re fighting for national relevancy, the key is to not lose to FCS schools like North Dakota State. Losses to schools from the MAC like Northern Illinois and Central Michigan in past seasons also don’t help your case. Yet, scheduling Iowa State is the thing holding you back? Please.

The Iowa fans reading this right now will point out that Iowa State has also lost to teams of similar caliber recently. But this argument isn’t about Iowa State’s national relevancy — it’s about Iowa’s.

The road to a National Title is simple: win the games you’re supposed to. Going undefeated AND winning your conference championship certainly doesn’t hurt your chances.

Could Iowa schedule another quality opponent to help their resume? Sure they can. But adding Middle Tennessee State and then turning around and dogging the Iowa State game isn’t the way to go about it. To make matters worse, Iowa has scheduled North Texas two times in the last three seasons — a non-Power 5 team that has been a step behind Iowa State historically.

The U of I claims they need seven home games per year to pay the bills. Dropping to six home games every other year (to accommodate playing an away game versus another Power 5 opponent) wouldn’t bring in as much revenue, admittedly. But if national relevance is the most important factor in play, wouldn’t that revenue hit be worth it? If the answer is no, then tough luck if you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Get over yourself, Iowa. Win the games you’re supposed to and you wouldn’t have to worry about national relevancy.

The debate can wager on. The pressure from the media can build. Ultimately, the Cy-Hawk game will stay and the trash talk will continue to fly around. The game generates too much revenue and garners too much attention statewide to let go. Let’s drop the idea of dropping the game, because rivalries are one of the best things about college sports.