Iowa Hawkeye wrestling kicked off the Big Ten wrestling season last night in a 20-13 victory over #7 Illinois. The #1 ranked Hawkeyes bring some much needed gas to the Iowa sports machine. Wisconsin and Michigan State appearance in the first every Big Ten Football Championship leaves Iowa Football as the only identical triplet not invited to the prom. Instead, we are in the backseat of a 1991 Ford Probe trying to get to first base with the Meineke Car Care Bowl. Hawkeye basketball still appears to be in a gestation period and just like those 1970′s birthing videos they make expecting parents watch – it ain’t pretty. But, there is always Hawkeye Wrestling.
The beauty of Hawkeye Wrestling for Iowa fans and Iowa natives in particular is the respect by association. I’m not talking about respect for a successful program that produced multiple team and individual champions. I’m talking about a genuine belief that all Iowans are basically Dan Gable or Tom Bands in their prime. People think we are all genetically coded to drop on a single leg and execute a series of moves that leaves the victim defeated and in a lot of pain. I, of course, do nothing to discredit this stereotype. It is a little weird though. You don’t look at the chubby, short, middle aged dude in accounting and think “Wow, he must be good at basketball” because he is from Indiana.
One disappointing factor that is highlighted by the start of the Big Ten Wrestling season is the failure of the Big Ten Network. When it launched, I thought we could finally follow Iowa Wrestling like a normal sport. In fact, it was to be my guinea pig for moving to a beach somewhere and streaming Iowa Football games. They have failed. Iowa is the #1 ranked team and they are currently scheduled to show one live match all season? They have a couple more on delay and more available on-line, but that is a pretty weak effort and their streaming has been pretty iffy. I am thankful that there is at least some B1G wresting on, but it should be better.
The Hawkeyes will battle for the state title this week with duals against Iowa State and Northern Iowa. They are 4-0 and hopefully they continue their roll. As Hawkeye Fans, were will take any success and positive vibes the Iowa Wrestling team can produce this season. We need it.