What would you do if you were given a chance to program 24 hours of an ESPN channel? Would you load it up with great Iowa games of the past? That's exactly what an Iowa fan from Wisconsin is doing. As Hawkeye Sports explains:
Here's how it happened: A year ago, during what is known as ESPY Day Auction, Dahlin bid on a package that allowed the winner to schedule a day's worth of content featuring a college of their choice. It was a win-win situation for Dahlin. His financial bid went to the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research; the 10 events he selected will make for an entertaining Tuesday for Iowa fans around the world.
A good cause and 24 hours of entertaining Iowa games? That's definitely a winning proposition. Dahlin's choices range from the obvious to some more obscure selections, but they should all make for very enjoyable viewing. After all, with the more obvious selections (Iowa-Ohio State football in 2017 or the 2005 Capital One Bowl)... is any Iowa fan really tired of re-watching those games and reliving those amazing memories? Of course not.
Dahlin was limited by the condition that ESPN would only agree to air games that they had rights to or permission to use, which prevented him from including Iowa's game in the 1993 Women's Basketball Final Four in this marathon. Fortunately, the Worldwide Leader does have a pretty massive library of games and events to choose from. Here's a rundown of all the games airing as part of the marathon on Tuesday.
All times Central.
MONDAY, APRIL 15
11 PM: football -- Iowa vs Ohio State (2017)
55 to 24. What else needs to be said? Per my cable guide, this is slated to be a 3-hour broadcast, so there shouldn't be much edited out, allowing us to relish Nate Stanley throwing touchdown after touchdown after touchdown and Josh Jackson hauling in interception after interception after interception.
TUESDAY, APRIL 16
2 AM: men's basketball -- Wisconsin at Iowa (2012)
This is one of the more esoteric choices on the list. This game was from early in the McCaffery Era at Iowa and was one of Fran's biggest wins. It's also a game where Matt Gatens absolutely went off. He went on an incredible scoring tear to conclude his Iowa career at the end of the 2012 season and this game was a shining example of that.
4 AM: football -- Michigan at Iowa (2016)
Another pretty obvious selection, but a good one. This game featured a defensive masterpiece from Phil Parker and the Iowa defense (and infamously featured Josey Jewell telling C.J. Beathard that the offense just needed to get 14 points) and, of course, walk-off heroics from Keith Duncan.
7 AM: men's basketball -- UConn vs Iowa (1995)
This was a huge game: Iowa basketball, then ranked #10 (!) in the early season polls, played UConn, then ranked #6 in the early season polls, in the semifinals of the Great Alaska Shootout. This was a fantastic back-and-forth game between two very good teams, but it's mostly notable for being one of the games where Chris Kingsbury absolutely erupted. When older Iowa fans (like, uh, the proprietors of this site) talk with reverence about Kingsbury, it's because of games like this. Pat wrote a bit more about this game last November.
9 AM: football -- Iowa at Penn State (2002)
It's nice to have a representative from one of Iowa's greatest-ever season. This is probably the most thrilling win Iowa had that season, too. Other wins might have been more meaningful (like the blowout of Michigan in the Big House that cemented Iowa's credentials or the Big Ten-clinching, goalpost-destroying win over Minnesota), but this game had all the excitement you could want. Iowa had a dominant first half, but Penn State came roaring back in the second half, before things were ultimately settled in overtime. FYI: my cable guide only lists two hours for this game, so it may be a bit cut-down.
11 AM: men's basketball -- Iowa at Wisconsin (2017)
This is one of the more recent games on the list and while the 2017 season was ultimately forgettable, it did feature a win over Wisconsin in Madison, which is always compelling. This game was also the first sighting of Jordan Bohannon's late game heroics -- and what a place for it to occur. NOTE: my cable guide lists this game for three hours, which seems strange as it was a normal-length college basketball game that didn't go to overtime.
2 PM: wrestling -- 1997 NCAA Wrestling finals
Most of this list is comprised of football and men's basketball games, which is no surprise -- those are the most popular sports at Iowa, after all. And there's no shortage of great old football or men's basketball games to draw from for a marathon like this. But I'm particularly excited to see this part of the marathon, as it's a 2-hour version of the 1997 NCAA Wrestling finals. That NCAA Tournament wasn't particularly competitive -- Iowa won the title that year by 57.5 points -- but it was noteworthy for its dominance. Iowa put six wrestlers into the finals that year and finished with five champions and 170 team points. The five champions is an NCAA record that's only been tied -- and no one has yet come close to the 170 team points. This is also an opportunity to see several former Iowa greats in action, including Jesse Whitmer, Mark Ironside, Lincoln McIlravy, Joe Willians, and Lee Fullhart. Oh, and this was also Dan Gable's final NCAA Tournament as Iowa head coach. So, yeah, if you're at all interested in Iowa wrestling, this is definitely something you're going to want to watch.
4 PM: football -- Iowa at Penn State (1996)
Another left-of-center choice, although it was a tense game between two teams that ended up being quite good in 1996. Penn State finished 11-2 overall (6-2 in the Big Ten) and ranked 7th in the country, while Iowa went 9-3 overall (6-2 in the Big Ten) and finished 18th in the country. The main reason to watch this game, though? Tim Dwight, whose punt return prowess was on full display here. Dwight, like Chris Kingsbury, is an Iowa player of the past that older Iowa fans talk about with reverence; performance like this one are why.
7 PM: men's basketball -- Iowa at Michigan State (1993)
The Chris Street Game. What else needs to be said? This was the first game Iowa played after Chris Street's tragic passing and while that added a tremendous amount of gravity and importance to the game, it was also an incredible game. Iowa trailed by 15 points with under four minutes to go, but surged to an improbable rally that sent the game into overtime (which they won). This remains one of Iowa's very rare wins over MSU in East Lansing, too. If you haven't seen this game, it's very much worth watching.
9 PM: football -- Capital One Bowl: Iowa vs LSU (2005)
A marathon that begins with one of the greatest wins in Kirk Ferentz's 20 years in charge at Iowa ends with another one of Ferentz's greatest wins -- although the two wins could hardly be more different. While the Ohio State game was a complete throttling (at least after halftime), the LSU game was an unbelievable thriller full of big plays, wild turns of fortune... and one of the greatest endings in Iowa history. Even if you've seen it a hundred times, seeing the ball float into Warren Holloway's hands and seeing him zip across the goal line with no time remaining is still absolute magic.
So free up some space on your DVRs or settle in for a a sick day (Black and Gold Fever is a perfectly legitimate illness) and sit back and watch a full day's worth of great Iowa games from the past 30 years. I can't think of a much better way to spend a lazy April Tuesday.