When the Iowa football team lines up against the Badgers – the most dominant B1G team not named Ohio State – it should be treated as our Super Bowl.
It seems like every rival or pseudo-rival fan thinks that the Iowa football team plays their best game against their team. Badger fans are not amongst them.
It is time for that to change.
Most Iowa fans probably do not see Wisconsin as our fiercest rival. Iowa State, Minnesota, and even Nebraska seem to make up the three most active Iowa football rivalries right now.
Part of this feeling is being driven by the other side. Wisconsin fans typically do not actively campaign against the Iowa football team or their players.
To my knowledge, Wisconsin fans have never led an anti-Iowa cheer prior to a game against a different opponent. That hatred isn’t there for Badger fans because they consistently beat Iowa football, as well as every other Big Ten West team.
Saturday’s game will be the ninth Big Ten Championship, the sixth of which has featured the Wisconsin Badgers. This actually makes Wisconsin the most frequent Big Ten Championship Game participant (this is Ohio State’s fifth trip to Indianapolis).
Illinois had it right this year. The game that any Big Ten West team plays against Wisconsin is more meaningful than any other individual game.
Now I’m not suggesting that Iowa football fans start chanting how much we hate Wisconsin when we play Penn State. Nor am I recommending to start a campaign against Taylor for the Heisman.
Remember, we’re Iowa football fans, not Cyclone, Husker or Gopher fans.
I simply believe that this is the game that Iowa football needs to circle on the schedule. Both this year and in 2016, a loss to Wisconsin ceded the division to the Badgers.
We need to win this game to go to Indianapolis. We cannot expect to back into the conference championship game with a loss to Wisconsin.
For the last six years, the Heartland Trophy game has not been our Super Bowl. For the next six years, it should be.