Iowa-Iowa State Rivalry Remains Strong

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By James Steward

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Rivalries come and go in college football — perhaps now more than ever.

The series between Iowa and Iowa State, once put on ice for more than 40 years because of bad blood, appears to be stronger than ever.

Just look at the furor over the new rivalry trophy that is now being redesigned. The trophy, depicting a farm family huddled around a bushel of corn, was scrapped less than a week after its debut at the Iowa State Fair.

That buzz was a window into the intensity fans on both sides of the rivalry have for this annual September matchup. It might not be the most important game of the year for either side, but no other game draws so much discussion in a state of 3 million people without a major pro sports team.

This Saturday's matchup in Ames is sold out, something Cyclones officials can rarely count on for any other opponent.

"It's good for the state. It's good for football, I think. This is one week from border to border people are talking about the game. I think it's fantastic," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.

Iowa athletic director Gary Barta recently said the Cyclones will remain on the Hawkeyes' schedule beyond 2017, when the revamped Big Ten plans to move to a nine-game league schedule.

That would leave the Hawkeyes with one less non-conference game. But Iowa worked with the Big Ten so it can continue playing Iowa State.

"It looks like this series will be able to continue, which is great. It would be a real shame, I think, if it ever got discontinued," Ferentz said.

That wasn't always the case, of course.

The series began in 1894 and was played regularly until 1920. It resumed for a home-and-home set in 1933-34, but constant feuding between the schools kept them from agreeing to a contract until the rivalry resumed in 1977.

After a series of fits and starts, the series resumed as a competitive one in the late 1970s. Iowa State won four of the first six games, but under coach Hayden Fry the Hawkeyes won 15 straight from 1983-97, wrapping up a lopsided stretch with a 63-20 win in Ames.

Former Cyclones coach Dan McCarney turned that all around with four straight wins that reawakened the rivalry. Since then, Iowa State has won seven of the last 13.

Iowa has won the last three games, though, including both against third-year coach Paul Rhoads.

"This is a big game. It's an instate rivalry game. There's bragging rights, there's recruiting ramifications that go along with it," Rhoads said. "But maybe more importantly, it's a game that we've gotten whipped in the last two years. Nobody likes to get whipped."

Officials hadn't announced as of Wednesday new plans about what interim Cy-Hawk trophy the winners will be fighting for on Saturday. But even if the much-derided new one had made its way to the sidelines at Jack Trice Stadium for this weekend, it would have been little more than a sideshow

"It really doesn't matter. They could put a whatever out there. Just anything, a piece of paper, it's still big. It really doesn't matter to us," Ferentz said.

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