“Florida-Miami and Michigan-ND grudge matches go the way of the CD – i.e. only old men and diehards will miss them.” – Sports Illustrated, SCORECARD, 9/16/13
Much of the pre-game hype for last week’s Notre Dame vs. Michigan football game centered on the fact that the series was ending. College football’s two winningest programs are ending a 12-year run of annual meetings.
Coach Paul Rhoads was lamenting that reality, along with several others, Monday.
“Pitt-West Virginia… Pitt-Penn State… Texas-Texas A&M…” Rhoads listed. “The talk is now about Michigan-Notre Dame and nobody is happy about that.”
All four of the games Rhoads mentioned featured schools from different conferences. These contests set the bar for hearty discussions throughout the season about school or league superiority.
That brings us to Iowa State-Iowa. It’s Big 12 vs. Big Ten.
“I think it’s a great rivalry and people in the state of Iowa would be up in arms if it went away,” Rhoads said. “Look at the reaction of people across the nation to the games not being played.”
Rhoads also noted that the evenness in the series has made it a real rivalry. In the 1990s, the in-state match-ups were one-sided.
“(There were) players in the state of Iowa that we were recruiting that had never witnessed or remembered an Iowa State victory in the series,” Rhoads recalled from his days as a Cyclone assistant coach. “(Today), I refer to it as a fun rivalry. I think the state enjoys it (and) the 2 programs enjoy it. It’s competitive and it’s what college football is all about.”
Yes, Paul, rivalries are what college football is all about.
I guess that makes me a diehard or an old man because I’ll miss these traditional tilts.