While the Twins are winding up their lost season with a final weekend of futility, there will be another sporting event down the road from Target Field that I and a lot of other folks will be paying much greater attention to on Saturday.
Yes, it’s time once again for the annual contest to determine where Floyd of Rosedale calls home for the next year as my Hawkeyes make the trip north to take on the Golden Rodents of Minnesota.
Floyd has called Iowa City home for the past year since the Hawkeyes’ administration of Minny’s first loss of the 2012 season at Kinnick Stadium a year ago resulted in this scene at the end of the game.
Once again, the Gophers are 4-0 headed in to the game. Iowa is 3-1. Apparently, however, those records are a bit misleading since the consensus view around the country seems to be that Minnesota and Iowa are going to be contending for the 5th and 6th spots in the Legends Division of the Big Ten Conference this year.
I’ve seen most of every Iowa game in person or on television and I’ve caught a few glimpses of Minnesota’s work, as well. I’m not overwhelming impressed with either team, but I’ve also seen a bit of Michigan and Nebraska, who were supposed to be the best of the Legends and I can’t say I think they’ve got much to brag about, either. In fact, the entire division looks mediocre to me, so far.
But back to the battle for Floyd.
My sense is that Iowa simply doesn’t take this “rivalry” thing with Minnesota all that seriously in recent years. I’m not sure why. Obviously, from the video above, the players enjoy taking the bronze pig from the Gophers, but there just isn’t much talk around here about the Minnesota game. Not like there used to be 10-15 years ago (and more).
Based on this video, it appears Minnesota players take it much more seriously… and personally. In fact, they have “hatred” for Iowa.
OK, I guess. Whatever you need to do to get motivated.
But here’s what I found even more telling: According to the Star-Tribune’s Sid Hartman, “The Gophers ticket office made every effort not to sell tickets to the Iowa game to Hawkeyes fans. If the application had an Iowa address on it, they didn’t get the tickets.”
Am I the only one who finds that comical?
Seriously, do the folks running the show at Minnesota really think there’s a single Hawkeye fan who, upon finding out the Gopher Athletic Department would not sell them a ticket to this game, would say to themselves, “Oh well, I guess we just can’t go to the game.”?
Do they think for a moment that the secondary market for Gopher tickets is so hot that ticket prices at StubHub or, for that matter, from the guy on a street corner on game day, will be cost prohibitive for Iowa fans?
As a matter of fact, while I’m not driving up for the game this weekend, I know several fellow Hawkeye fans who are and not a single one of them I talked to even considered sending money directly to the Gophers for their tickets. A couple of them got their tickets from the University of Iowa’s official allotment, but the rest bought tickets elsewhere and many of them paid less than face value for them.
Even when the two teams are mediocre, as is the case this year, there’s always a high demand for tickets among the visiting team’s faithful fanbase. There’s probably no game on either team’s B1G schedule that generates the same interest in tickets from the opposition, with the exception of Wisconsin games. (Yes, in most years I think Wisconsin games do generate more interest in both cases.)
So apparently Gopher Athletics is swimming in so much annual revenue that they prefer NOT to sell every ticket they have to the games against Iowa, rather than sell any of those tickets to Iowa fans, even though it will have absolutely no effect on attendance at that game by people wearing black and gold. I didn’t realize things were going so well, financially, at Rodentville. Congratulations on the fiscal surplus, I guess.
As for the game, Iowa is a one-point favorite in Vegas, last I checked. I never bet on the Hawkeyes (or the Vikings or the Twins), but I’ll go with the wiseguys and say Iowa wins 28-27.
I really don’t know what to expect, though. The Hawkeyes struggle to defend the pass but Minny hasn’t shown that they can pass, so it’s pretty much impossible to predict how things will go.
The forecast is for rain, I believe. Good thing the Gophers play in a dome. Oh… wait… nevermind.