With Iowa and Minnesota getting ready to face off this coming week I thought it’d be a good time to go back and take a look at the history of the Floyd of Rosedale and how it all began. I will also take a look at this year’s matchup and all the implications it holds for the Big 10 west race.
How It All Began
The story of the Floyd of Rosedale dates all the way back to 1934 (though these two had been playing since 1891). The Gophers won the game 48-12, but another story took center stage. Many fans and other people thought that the Gophers “targeted” the Hawkeye’s star running back Ozzie Simmons. Why? Well, Simmons was a rare player back then. Other than the fact that he was black, he was really good, being called one of the best backs in the country by newspapers. In the game, Simmons was knocked out three times due to injuries. Many thought it was because of his race (Minnesota had had other issues relating to this in the past as well).
A year later in 1935 the Gophers traveled to Iowa for their next matchup. After receiving threatening letters from Iowa fans after last year’s game, Minnesota head coach Bernie Bierman needed police protection for him and his team when they arrived in Iowa City. Concern for Simmons in the upcoming game led to fans threatening to storm the field if he was targeted again.
Tension continued to rise and so Minnesota’s governor Floyd B. Olson decided to ease tensions by betting a prized hog with Iowa’s governor Clyde Herring on who wins the game. Herring accepted the bet and word spread calming the crowd at the game. Minnesota won 13-7 with both teams playing a clean game.
Herring brought the pig to the Minnesota Capitol. The pig was named Floyd after the governor and Rosedale after the pig’s birthplace in Iowa. In 1936 Floyd died and was buried near some trees six miles from Iowa. The burial spot is almost exactly halfway between the two universities. Today, Minnesota-Iowa is the 14th oldest rivalry in college football and the Floyd of Rosedale trophy is the tenth oldest in college football (fourth in the Big 10).
History Of Rivalry
Iowa and Minnesota began playing each other long before the Floyd of Rosedale trophy was introduced. The Gophers won the first meeting in 1891 by a score of 42-4. They proceed to go on and win the first 12 meetings between the two teams. During a stretch, from 1901-1909, the Gophers completely dominated the Hawkeyes. How bad was it? Well, Iowa might as well not have shown up as they lost by a combined score of 216-0 for eight years.
Gopher Dominance Through The 70’s
Minnesota as mentioned above really controlled this rivalry from the start. Iowa wouldn’t win their first game until 1918, shutting out the Gophers 6-0 and would win the next five meetings. From 1931 through 1954 won 18-of-23. The Gophers dominated the rivalry all the way up to the 80’s. There was a period in the 50’s where Iowa won five in a row, but other than that Minnesota really won the majority of their meetings. During this period Minnesota had win streaks of 12 (1), eight (1), five (2), four (1), and three (2). A very impressive performance. Thankfully for the Hawkeyes it would come to an end in the early 80’s.
Age Of Iowa
Since 1982, Iowa has taken control of this rivalry, winning 31-of- 42 games. Even more recently, the Hawkeyes have dominated, winning 17-of-22 games since 2000. Minnesota hasn’t won since 2014 when they beat Iowa 51-14. The Hawkeyes are currently on a seven-game winning streak. This is a much different pace from the first part of the rivalry where the Gophers really dominated, winning 51-of-73 from 1891-to-1981.
An Overall Look At The Rivarly
The overall series has the Gophers leading it 62-51-2. Even with Iowa’s recent surge they are still 11 games back all-time. Minnesota also leads the trophy series (which didn’t start until 1935) at 42-39-2. While the Hawkeyes own a seven-game winning streak, the Gophers own the longest at 12 (which were also the first 12 of the series). They also have the largest margin of victory winning 75-0 in 1903.
This series has really been a tale of two eras. First the Gophers dominated from the start up until the early 80’s. Then the Hawkeyes emerged and began their dominance from then till the present. Right now, Iowa is looking to take over that longest winning streak. They currently sit at seven straight wins, five more and they tie the Gophers 12, six and they will have the longest winning streak in the rivalry’s history.
Implications Of This Year’s Game
So, Minnesota and Iowa faceoff Saturday in a battle with massive implications on the Big 10 west. Right now, Iowa controls their own destiny. Why? Illinois plays #3 Michigan (and should lose). That takes care of the only team standing in their way. After that, all they need to do is win out and the west is theirs.
Minnesota, on the other hand, also needs Illinois to lose. They also need the Boilermakers to lose to either Northwestern or Indiana and they also need to win out. If Iowa wins and Illinois loses, then they control their own destiny. If the Gophers win and Illinois loses, then Purdue controls their own destiny. The fate of the Big 10 west lies in this week’s clash between the Hawkeyes and Gophers in Minneapolis.
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