Last year, Northwestern running back Adonis Smith put aside any pretensions of decorum, and said that his head coach, Pat Fitzgerald, "hates Iowa...I know that for a fact."
Of course, the Cats wound up winning the game last year, and they even did it without injuring Iowa's best offensive player.
All whining aside, it is difficult to deny the emphasis Fitzgerald places on the Iowa game. His teams always come out pumped, and for some odd reason, Iowa usually comes out flat.
Going back to 2005, the Hawkeyes are 1-5 against Northwestern.
The only regular opponent that Iowa has a worse record against over that time period is Ohio State.
Iowa has a better recent record against Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin than it does against Northwestern.
Maybe this is the year Iowa snaps the streak. After all, it's been an odd year. Penn State got the Iowa monkey off its back. Iowa has the fourth-most passing attempts in the conference. The Hawkeye defense is bendable and breakable. Kirk Ferentz has flirted with a no-huddle offense.
Currently, the Vegas oddsmakers have Iowa as seven-point favorites, though Iowa has been the favorites for each of the last three years as well.
But in this year of anomalies, maybe the Hawks will finally show up and beat the Cats.