Thursday, September 02, 2010
That. Was. Close!
Just when all hope appeared lost, Jim Delany announced the divisions in the newly-expanded Big 10 on Wednesday and, much to the relief of college football fans everywhere, Iowa and Purdue will still square off each season in their always-anticipated showdown.
Though placed in separate divisions, this fall classic was designated a protected cross-divisional rivalry thus allowing the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers to continue a storied series that dates all the way back to...back to...uh...a long time ago!
College football fans in general, and especially those who bleed Iowa black and that puke rust-ish color Purdue wears, were outraged by the prospect of these two traditional powers not meeting each year.
"We were ready to revolt," said Ned Hatley of Des Moines. "I mean, Iowa versus Purdue is what Big 10 football is all about: Two usually mediocre teams duking it out for bragging rights until the hog calling contest at the state fair rolls around. You don't just throw that away."
Big 10 commissioner, Jim Delany said the pleas of Hatley and other fans of the tradition-laden game did not go unnoticed. "We heard the fans. There's no doubt their voices mattered -- all eight of them."
Fans did what they could to put pressure on Delany and other school officials before the decision was announced. Several Facebook groups sprung up urging users of the social media site to write to conference and school officials in support of the game as well as asking them not delete the page from their profile once they realized they'd unwittingly signed up to save the Iowa-Purdue game ("I thought somebody hacked my account," said one surprised college football fan who was a member of the group. "I thought I signed up to a group trying to kick Purdue OUT of the Big 10.").
Initially, some protested that putting Iowa and Purdue in the separate divisions could lead to a rematch in the conference championship game. But the Big 10 ultimately decided that the money such a rematch would generate - as well as the super-sized TV ratings - were worth any short-term downside.
After hearing the announcement, coaches at both schools were relieved but not surprised by the league's actions. "You're talking about a rivalry whose coaches need no last names: Bob, Alex, Fred. Icons of the sport," said whoever the guy is that's coaching Purdue this season.
In honor of "This Game?" being preserved, a documentary about it is already in the works. The film will premiere at midnight, January 14th, on Comcast cable, local access channel 27 in West Lafayette.
Posted by Yost at 12:59 AM