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Better Know An Opponent: Iowa

This is the seventh in an ongoing series highlighting 10 things you may not know about Mizzou's various postseason opponents. Please keep in mind that while everything below is true, it's meant in jest.

BKAO Volume 1: 2009 NCAA Tournament
Part One -- Cornell
Part Two -- Marquette
Part Three -- Memphis
Part Four -- Connecticut
BKAO Volume 2: 2010 NCAA Tournament
Part One -- Clemson
Part Two -- West Virginia

(Yes, I wrote a few BKAOs for Mizzou's 2009 football opponents, but I basically stopped doing them halfway through, so we'll pretend they don't exist, because rewriting history is fun.)

Today's profile: The Iowa Hawkeyes

1- The University of Iowa is a public university in Iowa City, Iowa. It's the oldest public university in the state, and is just 59 days younger than the state of Iowa itself.

But let's back up here for a second. The University of Iowa is not actually the University of Iowa. No, its official name is "The State University of Iowa."

Well, OK, but then what about Iowa State? What are they?

Iowa State University of Science and Technology? Are you kidding me, state of Iowa? You're going to call The State University of Iowa "University of Iowa," and when a second university comes along -- a mere 11 year later, mind you, which calls your foresight dubious at best -- you're just going to tack on "Science and Technology" and call it a day? You never thought that would come back to bite you, founding fathers of Iowa?

It should be noted, however, that Iowa has a rich tradition of giving normal things unnecessarily complicated names, such as the Annual Conglomeration of Fatty Foods and Vomit-Inducing Attractions in the City of a Multitude of Moines.


2- One of the most astounding things that I noticed while researching the University of Iowa was how progressive it is. You wouldn't think that because, well, I mean, it's Iowa, but seriously: the University of Iowa has to be considered among one of the most tolerant, accepting, progressive universities in American history. And yes, you read that right.

For example, in 1855, in just its eighth year of existence, it became the first public university to admit men and women equally. It was one of the first to award a law degree to a woman (1873), a law degree to a black guy (1879) and to let an African American play on an athletic team (1895).

It's also the first state university to recognize the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Allied Union.

But perhaps its most progressive step came just months ago at its 2010 spring commencement ceremony.


3- On Jan. 21, 1839, the Legistlative Assembly of the Iowa Territory issued a decree which read, in part, "so soon as the place shall be selected, and the consent of the United States obtanied, the commissioners shall proceed to lay out a town to be called 'Iowa City.'"

First of all, a bunch of real creative geniuses in that legislature, huh? Iowa City? That sounds like the kind of place a kid makes up for his third-grade storywriting assignment.

"And Buzz Lightyear went to live on Mars, in MARS CITY! Yeah, that's it!"'

Anyway, Iowa City is now the fifth-largest city in the state, with a metro area of about 150,000ish people. To put that in perspective, Columbia's metro area has about 164,000ish people. MISSOURI 1, IOWA 0, SUCKAS.

But in all seriousness, Iowa City seems like a pretty cool place. Forbes ranked it the third Best Small Metropolitan Area in the United States, it's got quite a few cultural ameneties, and, I don't know, it just kind of reminds me of Columbia, which I know will win a lot of fans around here.

One of its most unique ameneties is its Pedestrian Mall, an area with a bunch of restaurants, bars, hotels and gathering areas that host festivals and concerts. It's commonly known as the "Ped Mall," which should not be confused with the "PED Mall," but whose confusion has been known to cause some disappointment.


4- The University of Iowa is largely responsible for standardized testing. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills, which yes, you took when you were a kid, started there. The ACT is headquartered in Iowa City. So, in honor of that, a multiple-choice question:

If John has three tomatoes, and Margaret has six tomatoes, why did the University of Iowa unleash the scourge of standardized testing upon the planet?

A) Because Iowa is full of heartless jerks who relish in the pain and suffering of schoolchildren.

B) Because God, I hate you so much for doing this, Iowa.

C) Because why would you do this, you know it doesn't measure intelligence, it basically measures whether or not you ate a good breakfast or how good you are at eliminating answers and Jesus Christ, do you realize how much better the world would be if we didn't have standardized testing, how dare you sir, I mean that, how dare you, and another thing, what's the deal with all the corn, are you guys trying to scoreboard Nebraska, not that there's anything wrong with that, enjoy having them in your conference for the next umpteen years because they are obnoxious, I'm sorry, what was I saying, oh yeah, you go to hell for inventing standardized testing.

D) All of the above

E) None of the above

5- At this time, I'd like to take a moment to confront a section of the Iowa population that has been able to flourish for far too long.

I'm talking, of course, about the Iowa Hipster.


You see, the state of Iowa is pretty average. Mediocre. Standard. Almost uniquely middle-of-the-road. Now, as someone who spent four years in Missouri -- and, um, the middle of Missouri -- I don't necessarily have room to talk. I've long maintained that if we were ranking the states 1 through 50, Missouri would rank around No. 25.

But you see, there's a segment of the population that isn't just cognizant of Iowa's mediocrity; they're proud of it.
You see them wearing ironic shirts that say "Iowa: Not as depressing as Idaho!" or "I [Picture of an ear of corn] Iowa!" or "Iowa: Get it?!?".

This has to stop. On behalf of people everywhere who support mediocre states, we can't let this go on any longer. If we embrace what makes us boring, the terrorists win. Beyond that, hipsters in general are terrible humans.

"MARGE: Well, if loving my kids is lame, then I guess I'm just a big lame.
BART: Mom, it's lame to be proud of being lame."


6- Iowa's football team is coached by Kirk Ferentz. Some Kirk Ferentz quick hits:

-Constantly the target of coaching speculation (because the media perceives ANY job as an upgrade over Iowa), Ferentz will be paid by Iowa through 2020. Things that will happen before Kirk Ferentz's contract is up include three presidential elections, 33,060 deaths from drowning, the world becoming exactly like it was in both 'Bladerunner' and 'The Running Man', and the world coming to an end.

-Kirk Ferentz and his wife, Mary, has five kids, all born within 10 years. Iowa: Virility lives here.

-There are many photos of Ferentz in which he looks like he's upset at a restaurant.




Star of the critically acclaimed cinematic blockbuster The Stupids, host of the journalistic trendsetter "Best Damn Sports Show Period" and notorious chubby chaser Tom Arnold.


Diablo Cody. Aw, gross.


Camera pitchman, professional douchebag and guy who is married to a woman old enough to be his mother's bridge partner Ashton Kutcher.

Hey! Nicholas Meyer, the guy who directed 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan'! Neat-o!


From left, Bob, Mark and Mike Stoops.


Esteemed actor Gene Wilder.

8- Iowa's mascot is the Hawkeye, which is a reference to the protagonist in -- honestly -- my least favorite book of all time, 'Last of the Mohicans.' The character's name is Natty Bumppo, a guy who grew up with Native Americans and gained the nickname "Hawkeye."

This is a total whiff on behalf of Iowa. There are way more awesome possible mascots for Iowa, considering the character's other nicknames:

Natty (which is his name)


Pathfinder (as he's known in 'The Pathfinder')


Deerslayer (as he's known in the eponymous book)


9- It's time to reprise one of my favorite BKAO features: "ghtd36 Captions Stock Photos From The Opponent's University Web Site"







10- Ah, the curious case of Tennessee Williams. You see, I've always bragged that Tennessee Williams is an alumnus of the University of Missouri. Because I often brag to my friends not only about my alma mater's other alums, but especially their playwright alums. Don't you? Am I alone on this? Anyone?

Anyways, Iowa claims Williams, too. And you know what? So does Wash U in St. Louis. And you know what? We're all right!

He started at Mizzou, from 1929-1931, then transferred to Wash U for a year, then wrote a play, then earned his degree from Iowa in 1938.