Smile Politely

F this team: Iowa

Any positive feelings for Iowa that you might have come from one source: Field of Dreams. That movie took everything good about America — baseball, Kevin Costner, roadtrip montages set to the Allman Brothers, James Earl Jones — and used it for pro-Iowa propaganda. Iowa is not Kevin Costner building a baseball field and people flocking to his idyllic little homestead. Iowa is Costner’s neighbors in the farm supply store talking shit about him behind his back and then going back to their own boring-ass homes to die of a heart condition. Iowa sucks.

Reason number one Iowa sucks: Those idiots elected Joni Ernst to the United States Senate. Joni “Hog Castrating” Ernst. First of all, Ernst believes in nullification, which really hasn’t been deemed viable since the goddamn Civil War. Second, she is certain climate change is not man made, even though 97% of scientists agree it is. There are at least a dozen other reasons to be appalled by Ernst, but we have so much more awful things about Iowa to discuss and must press on.

Despite its clear inability to pick good political leaders (they elected Joni fucking Ernst), Iowans have an abundance of self-importance because of the state’s caucus. Because they are the first major electoral event in the primary season, Iowans think they have disproportionate say over who gets elected to national office. This in spite of the fact Iowans thought Rick Santorum (over Mitt Romney), Mike Huckabee (over John McCain), Tom Harkin (over Bill Clinton), and George H. W. Bush (over Ronald Reagan) were all the best choices. Great job, Iowa.

The University of Iowa is officially State University of Iowa, because it was founded by Yoda apparently. Iowa is the reigning “Top Party School” according to the Princeton Review. Some people might view this favorably, but in reality its a lot less like “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and a lot more like one of the many inane, straight-to-video National Lampoon movies (for example, “Dorm Daze,” “Electric Apricot: Quest for Festeroo,” “The Legend of Awesomest Maximus,” and so on). But Iowa students probably party because (1) they’re in Iowa and there is shit else to do in Iowa, (2) they need to forget that Joni Ernst was elected in Iowa, and (3) Iowa athletics aren’t very good.

To wit: Iowa baseball began in 1890, yet the team has only made it to the College World Series once; the men’s basketball team last won a regular season Big Ten championship in 1979, 35 years ago; women’s basketball didn’t start until 1974 (2 years after Title IX, obviously because Iowa is sexist), and no other women’s sports are even remarkable. In wrestling the Hawkeyes are undeniably good, but the people who give a damn about college wrestling are far from populous.

In football Iowa has been successful at times, but mostly mediocre. The team claims a national championship, back in 1958, but is an even 12-12-1 in bowl games since then. A look at current head coach Kirk Ferentz’s record at Iowa gives a good glimpse of how up-and-down Iowa football has been: his last 9 seasons have gone 7-5, 6-7, 6-6, 9-4, 11-2, 8-5, 7-6, 4-8, 8-5. This year, Ferentz’s 15th at the helm, the Hawkeyes are 6-3, but have losses to a 2-7 Iowa State team, a 6-3 Maryland team that hasn’t beaten real quality teams this year, and a bad loss to the same Minnesota team that Illinois embarrassed.

The story of the Iowa football team this year is schizophrenic, and it’s hard to say how the team will play in Champaign this week. Illinois has been bad, but Wes Lunt by himself has thrown 13 touchdowns in 5 games; in 9 games Iowa has two quarterbacks that have combined to throw 12. So, they’ll probably not do well even against a subpar Illinois defense. Because they suck. And because THEY ELECTED JONI ERNST and they deserve to lose.

Illinois and Iowa kick off at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network, and since the high for Saturday (as of this writing) is 33 degrees, you’re better off watching at home or a similar heated space. I’ll be tweeting throughout the game, follow along @chris_d_davies.

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