Iowa City, Iowa – Roll out the Busch Light. The state of Iowa is partying like it’s 2009.
It’s been eight seasons since the states two major college football programs both notched bowl victories. Iowa State claimed a 21-20 win over Memphis in the historic Liberty Bowl. Iowa won the Pinstripe Bowl in the Big Apple against Boston College on Wednesday. The last time it happened was the 2009 season.
And yes, Iowa’s season that year did end in January so to be completely correct, party like it’s 2010.
The road back to bowl victories in the state hasn’t been fun. The post-season woes lasted far to long.
Iowa hadn’t won a bowl since the 2010 Insight Bowl over then Big 12 opponent Missouri. Since then, the Insight Bowl has evolved into the Cactus Bowl and Missouri moved to the SEC. Iowa dropped five straight bowls over that time.
Opportunities to play haven’t been as numerous for the in-state rivals. Iowa State last appeared in a bowl in 2012. As with Iowa, their most recent victory came in the Insight Bowl one year earlier against Missouri.
The Liberty Bowl victory is only Iowa State’s fourth post-season win in school history.
Corresponding bowl victories has only happened twice before. The Cyclones Insight Bowl victory came five days prior to Iowa winning the BCS era Orange Bowl to cap the 2009-2010 season.
Before that, the 2004-2005 season featured wins from both schools. Iowa won the Capital One Bowl with the memorable touchdown pass from Drew Tate to Warren Holloway. Iowa State days earlier beat Miami (OH) in the Independence Bowl.
Success Doesn’t Often Match
It’s been even longer since both teams won at least eight games. The year was 1903 and Iowa won nine with Iowa State taking eight. Iowa State only played nine games in that early season. Historically, the two rivals successful season haven’t corresponded.
Iowa State experienced four eight win season over eight years during the 1970’s that included a Sun Bowl and Peach Bowl berth. During those pre-Hayden Fry years, Iowa didn’t win more than five games in a season.
On the flip side, while Hayden Fry was coach, Iowa racked up 11 eight win seasons including three that slipped into double digits. The Cyclones best season in that span only reached six wins. Iowa State even produced a winless season near the end of the Fry era at Iowa.
As recent as the early 2000’s, both schools have shown some success at similar times. Both schools qualified for bowl games but the Hawkeyes record reigned superior. Iowa’s win-loss record ended worse than Iowa State’s only twice since 2000.
It Needs to Keep Happening
As rivals, one always wants to out perform the other. In the current state of college football, both schools need to succeed and do it often for each others sake.
The Cy-Hawk game, especially for Iowa, hasn’t been the non-conference matchup needed to build a resume fit for national appreciation. Although it’s only happened once for Iowa, consideration for the College Football Playoff needs impressive wins. When either schools is having a down year, it hurts the other.
Both teams success strengthens the legitimacy of the rivalry. Next year, with both schools coming off eight wins seasons and bowl victories, the early season matchup carries a bit more weight.
That’s a reason to be excited.