As I see the calendar has turned to the week ending November 8th, and the schedule for the 2014 Minnesota Golden Gophers says the opponent on this upcoming Saturday is the Iowa collegiate football team, a squad verbally festooned with jeers inside TCF Bank Stadium even when they are not the scheduled adversary, tradition holds that I indeed abhor everything about that deplorable vomit monster and must itemize all that I hate about them.
I am compelled to hate. This is your hate week piece.
In keeping with my overall theme of 2014, I am going back to the basics for the sake of clarity and simplicity. No high concept snark pieces or soliloquies on the importance of the Battle for Floyd. No arguments that require a PhD in social science to provide the proper "historical prospective" on a rivalry, not that co-opting Cyclone history as your own is of any relevance here. No laundry list of boorish, disgusting mongrels and ne'er-do-wells unapologetic in their self-segmenting under the cover of a gold and black tent, even if most went to UNI.
Nope, just stripped down hate to be had in this here post. This is the garage band of HATEWEEKS.
There are few things in life I can't stand as much or more than the Hawkeyes. Wisconsin is one. Paper cuts and dirty whiskey glasses are others. On top of the pyramid, however, are losses to the Hawkeyes. Nothing causes me to swill the green poison of orneriness more than losing to that no good, very bad, awful team from Iowa City. Watching their stupid fat players parade around Floyd causes all my muscles to fire at once, leaving me a twitching, taut mess of anger on the floor.
In my mind's eye, losses to Iowa are more a reflection of our own failure rather than any athletic superiority from the Hawkeyes. Sound defeats from the Wolverines are annoying, but sadly expected given the last 50 years. Our annual rivalry with Wisconsin has gone pear-shaped over the last decade (thanks Kucek and Brewster!) but I can still muster irrational hatred and the fleeting sense of hope of victory every year. Iowa? I see no objective reason why I should ever wake up on HATE WEEK and believe the Gophers can't win. Even at Kinnick. Because reasons.
That blind-hatred of all things black and gold makes it easier to rationalize our own shortcomings over the past decade as tripping over our own feet rather than any specific greatness from the opponent. This is a competitive series between two programs cut from the same damn cloth, and the failure to hoist Floyd on any given Saturday is on us -- not them.
And every loss still pisses me off. To wit:
U of Chicago alum turned offensive coordinator decides Week 5 is just the right time to spring some inverted veer against one of the best and most disciplined front 7's in all of college football! They'll never think of that one, brilliant! Also hilarious: starting a dual threat QB struggling to pass on a bum wheel. Not to be outdone, the defense gives up a 74 yard touchdown on a wide receiver screen?!? where Iowa had more blockers than Gopher DBs and a dump off to a fullback on 3rd and 3 that goes 35 yards. Lovely time capsule display of basically every game Jerry Kill and co. have lost since the start of 2012.
Hey! Iowa is terrible! They scored only 6 points against Iowa State! They lost to Central Michigan! We're 4-0! We've got this one in the bag!
[giant fart noise as Limegrover calls sideline fade to 5'11" A.J. Barker] [is intercepted] [we're doomed]
There is something about prepping a game plan for Minnesota that drives Greg Davis to experiment with peyote. Similarly there's something about Greg Davis and Iowa that causes our defensive backs to take elephant tranquilizers before kickoff, because that's about the only explanation I have why Jordan freaking Cotton, a dude with 15 career receptions, is allowed to get behind Troy Stoudermire for his only touchdown ever.
God curses you Jedd Fisch. He smites your tight end reverses and "out of nowhere" WR passes from MarQueis Gray that you have deluded yourself into believing the defense won't anticipate but everyone on Earth knows is coming. He similarly casts plagues upon the Brew Man's red zone strategy by opting out of points. Why, oh why Troy did you have to drop that touchdown?!?
Hold the Hawkeyes to 171 total yards at Kinnick. Lose by 12. I hate everything.
Bathe this entire game in acid. it. must. melt.
I have taken an obscene amount of barbiturates after Brewster's decision to go for the win in double OT against Northwestern, so I'm admittedly foggy about what happened here. Something about falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter and taking too long to drive 94 yards for a score that made things all respectable like. Oh, and two consecutive fourth quarter drives that stalled inside the Iowa 40 -- including a punt on 4th and 4 from the 36, and subsequently going for it the next drive on 4th and 8 from the 37. You really were a marvel of stupid, Mr. Brewster.
Ole Grinnin' Glen really had a knack for getting bombed on in Iowa City. 38-7 at the half may have been his magnum opus of suck at Kinnick. Maroney, Russell, Eslinger, Spaeth, Wheelwright and Payne? Nah, let's not score any offensive points until the fourth quarter down 38.
GOD DAMNIT GUYS ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS NOT FUMBLE OR THROW INTERCEPTIONS AND WE'LL BEAT THE STUPID HAWKEYES AT HOME OK OK SO YOU TURNED IT OVER FOUR TIMES BUT WE STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN BECAUSE WE HAVE MARONEY AND BARBER AND RHYS LLOYD CAN KICK IT A MILE WAIT WHY ARE YOU FD&*(&$#K LOSING YARDS MARION IT'S A 51 YARD FIELD GOAL NOW BUT RHYS CAN STILL HIT IT...
Hey things aren't too bad! We seem to be able to move on the Hawke... [sets foot inside the Iowa 10] [leg is blown off by landmine] [proceeds to fumble ball from force of explosion]
Four fumbles lost and an interception, eh? You really didn't like to play close, smart, mistake free football in Iowa City did you Glen?
Hahaha there's no way we're gonna let the Hawkeyes just march in here and win the Big Ten on our home turf while we have a say in it, right? I mean, Wisconsin tried to pull the same shit about a decade earlier and hoooboy did Jim Wacker have something to say about that.
Aww, shit. We lost. And the goalposts are coming down too? Shit shit shit.
I flat out refuse to accept any losses to Iowa, period. I don't care if Ferentz is chewing pure ambrosia instead of gum and we're in the depths of Brewster era Hell, there's no justifying a tip of the cap to those uniform plagiarists after any game. Nope.
That is the true definition of HATE, in my opinion. Never believing you will lose nor accepting it graciously when it happens, despite evidence from outsiders that suggests you're probably insane and shouldn't be allowed in a DMV or a Black Friday line outside Best Buy or any other place where people happen to congregate in situations guaranteed to provide frustration. I will be mad if we lose, I will continue to hold a grudge in perpetuity and I will express overbearing exuberance after every win. I expect to beat Iowa, because seething hatred dictates nothing less.
There is no fear, no dread, no sense of endless foreboding. Only hate.
I suspect you feel the same way Herky.
Brothers of the Sacred Order of Mutual Abhomination