Another week of college football and a couple of more teams are solidifying their place in the college polls and this one was a little hard to handle. You see, I was born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa, home of the University of Iowa from the Big Ten. Though I moved away before high school both my parents attended Iowa and I spent lots of time visiting grandparents and family there long after I moved away.
I was at many Iowa football games throughout the glory years of the Rose Bowl teams of the late 1950's and into the 1960's and when it came time to go to college Iowa was on my short list along with Yale, the University of Missouri and a few schools far away. In the end I opted to go far away to get a fresh start on life and I chose the University of Arizona in Tucson where I played on the basketball team and was to get a shot at baseball.
Late last Saturday night Iowa played Arizona at Tucson and I had somewhat mixed loyalties since both were in the top 25. Just the year before the two teams met and Iowa won 27-17 at Iowa City as both teams went on to great years with Arizona only tumbling bad when they faced Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. It was a great learning experience for the Wildcats as they were humbled 34-0. But it left them understanding what it would take to be among the elite football teams in America.
Now I also had mixed loyalties in that game since I lived in Nebraska for 12 years, got to know the coaches and Husker players, and both my kids graduated from Nebraska. In fact I was in Nebraska during the years they rise to the top of the NCAA football ladder and won a slew of national championships. Ironically, the Big Red of Nebraska are joining the Big Ten next year and will be in the same division as Iowa.
Now living on the east coast I had to stay up until almost 2 am to watch the Iowa - Arizona classic and was stunned as Arizona roared to a 27-7 lead before the Hawkeyes starting clawing their way back into the game. In hindsight I knew that anyone from the Midwest playing in the southwest desert was in for a shock as Iowa football was not played in 100 degree nighttime temperatures.
But I also knew these two programs, along with Nebraska this year, all have young coaches among the best in the nation and one should never count them out. Iowa roared back and tied the game with just a few minutes left. When they missed the extra point on their last touchdown it looked like the game might go into overtime.
But the Wildcats held their poise and marched right back down the field to score. When Iowa got the ball for a last minute drive the Arizona defense rose to the occasion stopping the Hawkeyes 3 times in a row for losses and holding on for a 33-27 victory which resulted in Arizona jumping 10 spots in the national polls.
Iowa still has a great shot at the Big Ten title and high national ranking while Arizona is a valid contender for the PAC Ten title. Nebraska, who pounded Washington at Washington 56-21,could easily take the Big 12 title and national title. Someone has to win and someone has to lose but only in NCAA football can both teams walk away with their heads held high as we were treated to what college football is all about.
AP Top 25
• 1.Alabama (53)
• 2.Ohio St. (5)
• 3.Boise St. (1)
• 7.Texas (1)
• 12.South Carolina
• 19.Miami (FL)
• 22.West Virginia
• 23.Penn St.
• 24.Oregon St.
• 25.Michigan St.