116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It all began with Gary Barnett.
Before he became Northwestern's football coach in the early 1990s, Iowa owned the Wildcats the way the Packers owned the Cowboys last Sunday night.
But Barnett made beating Iowa a high priority, and starting in 1995, the 'Cats defeated the Hawkeyes more than vice versa.
Friday, the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein filed this story on Barnett's opinion about the state of the current Iowa-NU rivalry, and his perspective of what happened in the '90s. An excerpt:
"We wanted to pick a top program and put that game in red," Barnett said by telephone. "Iowa had just gone to the Rose Bowl, so it was out of respect. When we beat them, we'd know we'd arrived.
"And then after we played them, everything happened. Then it got beyond respect. It became a little vengeance."
Iowa whipped Northwestern 56-14 in 1992, converting an onside kick along the way. During the post-game handshake, Iowa coach Hayden Fry told Barnett: "I hope we didn't hurt any of your boys."
Barnett stared back at him.
"That took (the rivalry) to warp speed," he said. ...
Fitzgerald, during his Monday news conference, downplayed the whole rivalry concept.
"Coach Barnett used to have red-letter games and things of that nature, but we don't do those things anymore," he said. "We think every game is a big game."