FIRST: ISU vs. Iowa in either 1999 or 2000 (probably 1999 because it was in Ames). I don’t quite know how to say this but I was an ISU fan back then, so, I was, uh, rooting against Iowa that day. Fast forward a couple years later to my freshman year at Iowa. I saw my first game at Kinnick Stadium, against Miami Hydroxide, and my days as an ISU fan were over:
I think the 2001 Michigan game (that we lost) was when I really became a hard core fan. Up to that point, I was still scarred by my previous ISU fandom (i.e. beat crappy teams but get absolutely annihilated whenever anybody good comes to town). Iowa stood tall that day and went punch for punch with one of the "elites" that day. I was in the very last row of Kinnick stadium, leaning against the brick wall.
LAST: Holiday Bowl vs. USC. Soooooo much fun. My parents were in town for the game and we all went. It was my wife’s first Hawkeye game. I was ecstatic pretty much the entire time. Ihmir Smith-Marsette and The Sneaks.
BEST: Ooooh Boy. Everyone in my college friend group always said the 2002 Purdue game. That’s not the choice for me and it’s on account of the fact that I left at half time because I had passed out the night before while wearing contact lenses. When I woke up we went straight to the stadium and I was still wearing the contacts and my eyes were just killing me (plus our pass defense was getting shredded). So I went back to my dorm room and watched that insane second half on TV. For me, the best is 2003 Michigan. That is my quintessential Kinnick Stadium memory. I didn’t think we could win that game beforehand, thought we were gonna get blown out during the first half and then, boom, magic. 2004 Wisconsin was also a fun one, made even more fun by the fact that one of my best friends missed that game by getting a public intox because he was making fun of a cop while walking into the stadium. The cop warned him “I can make it so you can’t see the game” and Mike, just, laughed in his face. Aw man, Mike was a legend.
WORST: 2002 ISU. I took this loss hard. So hard that I pretty much told the three friends who had come down from Ames to watch the game and party with me to piss off back to Ames. The Rose Bowl sucked but: 1. I left in the second quarter (was getting blasted by the Sun, couldn’t see anything - field level seats behind an end zone is bad, btw, don’t buy those seats - and felt claustrophobic, like a Roman legionnaire at Cannae) and found this awesome little bar in Pasadena that I still go to whenever I’m in the area (Lucky Baldwins). 2. I got to see Christian McCaffrey put on probably the best individual athletic performance that I have ever witnessed in person.