Iowa vs. Nebraska 12 p.m. ET on ABC
There is a new rivalry in college football town, and it’s called the Heroes Game.
Beginning in 2011, the bordering states of Nebraska (8-3, 4-3 BT) and Iowa (7-4, 4-3 BT) will begin a Black Friday tradition, playing for a rivalry trophy that will boast not only the results, but the names of a nominated “hero” from each state.
Both states lack professional sports teams, feeding even more fuel to the fire of the passion for their respective college football programs.
When the annual game was announced back in July, it was thought that it could perhaps be the deciding game for who would represent the Legends division in the new Big Ten Championship game.
That will not be the case this season as both teams trail Michigan State (6-1 Big Ten) and Michigan (5-2 Big Ten) in the division. Aside from the hardware, it appears that they are playing for the better bowl bid this season.
Iowa has suffered an inconsistent year, never able to put more than two wins in a row down on paper. They are 2-1 in November, with wins over Michigan and Purdue and a loss to Michigan State. A little tough to swallow is that their first three losses came at a total of 14 points.
While first-year starter, James Vandenberg, has been solid with 23 TDs and only five INTs, he has found himself sacked 25 times. Marcus Coker is getting his first run at a starting season and has put together 1297 yards and 14 TDs thus far. Senior WR Marvin McNutt has gained 1,240 yards receiving and added 12 touchdowns.
Nebraska stirred it up in 2010 when announcing that they would be leaving the Big 12 to become the 12th team in the Big Ten. Immediately, the media pondered the games against the history-packed programs at Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State.
Nebraska had to look no further than over the Missouri River to find a welcoming foe in Iowa to put their stamp on their new conference. After starting the season out 4-0, Nebraska was pummeled by Wisconsin, 48-17.
They won their next three in October, but then fell to 1-2 in November, dropping games to Northwestern and Michigan. Despite the early fall to the Badgers, it should be noted that Nebraska has two wins over ranked teams (Michigan St. and Penn State) in the last month.
The offensive highlight for the Huskers has been the running of junior Rex Burkhead (1,108 yards, 14 TDs). QB Taylor Martinez is second on the team in rushing with 817 yards on the ground, nine TDs. He has also put together 1,810 yards in the air and another 11 TDs.
The split on games in history between the two is scored Nebraska 26 wins, Iowa 12 (with two ties).
Back in 1892, the two teams were in the Western Interstate University Football Association together.
Hayden Fry once called the Hawks' 1981 win (10-7) over Nebraska his greatest victory.
NFL Draft Watch
Nebraska Top Prospects: CB Alfonzo Dennard, OLB Lavonte David
Iowa Top Prospects: OT Riley Reiff, CB Shaun Prater, WR Marvin McNutt
More to come like this at I Want My Football.