Dear Fans of Nebraska and Iowa Football,
I'm asking for your help and your opinion. I'm hoping that, together, we can be a part of the resurrection of a great and historic rivalry.
I'm sure most of you know by now that Nebraska is the newest member of the Big Ten Athletic Conference. I'm sure you also now know that the Iowa Hawkeyes and Nebraska Cornhuskers will face off annually during the final week of the regular football season.
That particular week is known as "Rivalry Week," as it hosts some of the best and most historic rivalries across college football.
Some of you may know that Iowa and Nebraska once had a great football rivalry that first started in 1891. The Hawkeyes and ‘Huskers battled nearly every year from that time until 1919. They took a break through the 1920s, but resumed the rivalry through the 1930s and early 1940s.
Unfortunately, the series ended after the 1946 match and didn’t resume until 1979. They scheduled each other again from 1979 to 1982. Their resumed rivalry was short-lived, though, as they took another break until 1999.
In Kirk Ferentz’s first years at Iowa, the two teams squared off (1999 and 2000) but have not faced each other in over a decade.
Now, they will be permanent rivals. As a fan of Hawkeye history, I love that such an old and historic rivalry will be resumed on an annual basis.
There is a problem, however. What to name such an important part of Iowa’s past, present and future?
I’ve heard several suggestions. Many have included the word “corn” in the title. As a man who grew up amidst the flowing fields of green and gold, watching (and sometimes helping) Iowa’s hard-working farmers provide sustenance for the world’s hungry, I appreciate and support the need to recognize those who make the Corn Belt such an integral part of American culture.
However, I don’t want this rivalry to have anything to do with corn. Why, you might ask?
Simply put, rivalries aren’t about what we share. They’re about competition and competitions are about separation. What separates Iowans and Nebraskans? The Missouri River does.
I would like to officially suggest to the presidents of both universities and to James Delany (Big Ten Commissioner) that the annual game between Iowa and Nebraska be named “The Missouri River Rivalry.”
It’s simple. It’s classic and it’s true. Nebraska and Iowa share many things in common. The only thing that really divides us is the Missouri River.
Both Iowa and Nebraska have a lot to offer the world. Certainly, agriculture is the biggest industry for both states. However, there’s more to Iowa and Nebraska than just corn…or beans…or cattle. Let’s not alienate the fans that have no particular connection to agriculture other than the fact that they live in ag-rich states.
So, I'm asking for your opinion. I will provide a simple poll with this article. Vote on your favorite name. If there is a name you prefer that is not provided, add it in the comments. I'll update the poll with new names as best I can.
I'm also asking for your help. If there is a name that you think best embodies this rivalry, write to the presidents of the schools (as well as James Delany) letting them know what you—the fan—wants. Contact your local newspapers and write a letter to the editor providing your opinion.
Be a part of the process. Help create a name that is befitting such an old and historic rivalry. Let’s not allow someone to create a name for the biggest game of the season the same way they created the horrible names for the new Big Ten divisions.
Featured Columnist, Bleacher Report
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