Who has talked more about the Iowa State and Iowa football teams than their radio play-by-play announcers?
Nobody, that’s who. So I asked ISU’s John Walters and Iowa’s Gary Dolphin to answer five questions about the Cyclones-Hawkeyes rivalry and they generously took some time to respond.
How many Cy-Hawk football broadcasts will this make for you?
Walters: This will be my 16th CyHawk broadcast on the Cyclone Radio Network, although I’ve covered the game in one capacity or another since 1983.
Dolphin: I did the first few on a statewide TV network when the series resumed in 1977. This is our 21st year, Ed Podolak and I (on the Hawkeye Radio Network) … so 21 since 1997.
What is your favorite or most memorable of all those games?
Dolphin: The most memorable game/event had to be the postponement of the 9/11 contest that was pushed to end of the regular season. Iowa State won a close game, but the magnitude of the moment and sitting in Kirk’s office listening to he and Dan McCarney discussing the postponement on the phone. … what a remarkable sequence of days and events.
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Walters: I was on the sidelines working for WOI-TV for the 2002 game, which was really a remarkable game. It was an amazing comeback by Iowa State. The most exciting game for me to call was probably the 2011 game — Steele Jantz was incredible that day and it’s hard to top a triple-overtime game. Last year’s game was very similar, but shootouts are rare in this series. It’s usually a slugfest, and the better team in the trenches almost always wins.
Is Iowa vs. Iowa State what you would consider a friendly rivalry?
Walters: I consider it a friendly rivalry for the most part. I think most Iowans have the proper perspective on college football — it is a game, and it’s meant to be fun. I think the thing that makes this rivalry truly special is that it doesn’t just pit team vs. team — it pits the Big 12 vs. the Big Ten. That adds some spice to the game, and means that it’s played early in the season when fans on both sides tend to be optimistic about their team’s chances.
Dolphin: It’s a lot more friendly I think than the earlier days. It was never vicious. A lot of fans bashing the other’s base, name-calling, bad jokes, and talk radio lighting the fuse. I think when Dan McCarney took over in Ames the respect each program had for the other took a big leap forward. Both want to win badly and win big no question.
What people/things do you like most about the other school?
Dolphin: I like the coaches that Iowa State has had in this series, from Donnie Duncan and Earle Bruce to Jim Walden and McCarney. I consider Paul Rhoads a friend. I don’t know Matt Campbell that well yet, but you have be impressed with what he’s done in a short period of time. Growing up in Iowa I love the competitive nature of the games, which typically feature a lot of native players from our state. They are truly invested. I’ve also thought a lot about Gov. Robert Ray this week. He helped pull this thing back together in the ‘70s.
Walters: I think every Iowan is a fan of the Wave. Much like Iowa State’s Victory Day, I think it puts the game in the proper perspective. I also really enjoy my friendship with Gary Dolphin. Before I called my first ISU game in 2003, Gary called to wish me well. I thought that was a very classy gesture.
5. If the winner of Saturday’s game ends up going 13-0 and the loser goes 12-1 or 11-1, would you want to meet in the semifinals of the national playoffs or wait until the championship game?
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Walters: Might as well make it for all the marbles, in the national championship game. If that did happen, would the last person to leave the state please turn off the lights on their way to Santa Clara?
Dolphin: It wouldn’t matter to me. Semis or finals, as long as the Hawks beat an SEC team in the other game!!!!
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