Maybe the residue of Iowa's 31-30 loss to Wisconsin at Kinnick Stadium last season stills curls Hawkeyeland nostrils like a potent whiff of Limberger cheese.
Maybe it's the sight of a former Iowa team captain leading the Badgers to a Rose Bowl that mobilized the Hawkeye army. Maybe it's the close proximity between Iowa City and Madison. Maybe it's the annual recruiting battles over prospects for the teams' similar schemes. Maybe it's the programs' comparable status as Big Ten near-elites. Whatever the reason, Iowa football fans showed Wisconsin only loathe in a SourceMedia Group poll last week.
In an online poll at www.thegazette.com that registered 4,173 overall votes, Iowa fans chose the Badgers as the football program they loathe. Wisconsin garnered 961 votes, or 23 percent of the total. New Big Ten rival Nebraska, where Iowa will end its regular season, finished second with 872 votes (21 percent.) Northwestern (690), which has beaten Iowa five of the last six meetings, finished third followed by in-state rival Iowa State (472) and perennial Big Ten power Ohio State (410).
One commenter listed numerous reasons about each of Iowa's rivals, but wrote this about Wisconsin:
"I REALLY hate losing to them: Wisconsin…insert any snarky comment from Bielema and you have my reason," Steve Rogers wrote.
To illuminate this vote, here are a few facts in the Iowa-Wisconsin football series, the Big Ten's most evenly contested rivalry:
- After 86 meetings, the schools are knotted at 42-42-2.
- Among Big Ten schools Wisconsin (88) ranks second and Iowa (85) ranks third in victories over the last decade.
- Since 1995, the schools are tied 8-8.
- The teams have played 73 of the last 75 seasons but didn't play in 1993 or 1994 after the Big Ten added Penn State. The schools then petitioned the Big Ten to play annually, and the league altered its scheduling policy to allow each school to protect two rivalries.
- The teams will not meet in the regular season this year as a result of Big Ten expansion and realignment. Iowa will play in the Legends Division, while Wisconsin will compete in the Leaders Division.
- Only 175 miles separate Kinnick Stadium from Camp Randall Stadium. Both teams take buses to the game, which costs about $6,000 a trip, as compared to the $56,000 or so it costs to fly.
Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema is a former Iowa defensive lineman and team captain. Bielema also served as an assistant coach under Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz, former Iowa assistant Bill Synder at Kansas State and former Iowa assistant Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin.
- Alvarez, now Wisconsin's athletics director, also was an assistant under Fry before becoming a Hall of Fame head coach at Wisconsin.
- Bielema still has a Tiger-Hawk tattoo on his leg.
- In 2004, the teams met in the regular-season finale with a share of the Big Ten title at stake. Iowa won 30-7.
- Beginning in 2004 the schools compete for the Heartland Trophy, which features a bull that commemorates both states' commitment to agriculture. Iowa leads the Heartland series 4-3, but Wisconsin owns the trophy after last year's 31-30 win.
- If the schools compete in the Big Ten championship game, they also can play for the Heartland Trophy. Big Ten officials said it's up to the individual schools to make that decision.
- The teams are next scheduled to meet Nov. 2, 2013 in Iowa City. They open Big Ten play against one another in 2014 on Oct. 4 in Madison.
- The schools' team managers compete for "The Toolbox" in a flag football trophy game held the night before the regular game.