Payne: Why are the Hawkeyes good?


The Daily Iowan

Iowa center Adam Woodbury grabs a rebound against Augustana in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Vikings defeated the Hawkeyes, 76-74. (The Daily Iowan/Joshua Housing)

The Iowa football team had a historic season, the Iowa basketball team is having a historic season. What is happening and why is it happening?

By Danny Payne
[email protected]

Iowa basketball is the No. 3 team in the country. Jarrod Uthoff is the frontrunner for Big Ten Player of the Year. Iowa football played in the Rose Bowl less than a month ago. Peyton Manning’s corpse is starting Super Bowl 50, against a team whose No. 2 and 3 receivers are Ted Ginn Jr. and Jerricho Cotchery. Triple H won the Royal Rumble in the year 2016.

The sports world is off its axis, ladies and gentlemen. The Hawkeye men’s basketball and football teams have never been ranked as high as No. 3 in the AP Poll in the same academic year, but here we are.

Iowa’s throwing a wrench in the machine and making people question everything they ever believed and held as truth.

Why is this happening? We’ve put together a few reasons for the madness taking place.

Reason 1: El Niño

The most likely reason, probably. As the Pacific Ocean warms, things get wacky in the world. A sizable portion of this country is seemingly OK with Donald Trump having access to nuclear codes. People don’t hate Adam Woodbury. The Mets gave Yoenis Cespedes, of all people, a three-year, $75 million deal with a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after his first season, in which he will make $27.5 million.

Fun fact: According on the Oceanic Niño Index, the last two years of moderate El Niño events were 2009-2010 and 2002-2003. In those years, the Hawkeyes went a combined 22-4 and played in the Orange Bowl twice. Not saying there’s a connection there, but there’s connection there.

Reason 2: Gary Barta made a deal with the devil

Kind of makes sense, right? People were jumping down his throat regarding Kirk Ferentz’s situation, so the devil gives him a 12-0 start, but Barta leverages a disappointing postseason into a great start for Fran and Company.

Pair that with Roger Goodell — who might actually be the devil — getting payback on Tom Brady and the Patriots Sunday, and satanic forces being in play is making more and more sense.

Reason 3: You deserve another chance

Perhaps you weren’t able to get tickets to the Rose Bowl. Maybe you had too much fun with all the beautiful people in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve and weren’t yourself for the game.

Uthoff, Peter Jok, and the rest of the cagers want you to have the chance to make up for your transgressions. Hell, there’s even a chance the Hawks could play their first game(s) of the Big Dance in Des Moines.

RELATED: Men’s basketball booms over break

Reason 4: You need some cash

Let’s say you’re a gambler without friends who buy into Iowa. If you think the Hawkeyes are for real, what a great time this is for you to get rid of some of those parking tickets piling up or for extra food and drink at your Super Bowl party.

Oh by the way, the Panthers opened as a mere four-point favorite despite beating last year’s NFC Champion and embarrassing the conference’s No. 2 seed en route to the Super Bowl. Hammer that spread, pay all of your parking tickets, and all will be well.

Reason 5: Everything is rigged, ‘The Man’ wants you to see political ads

The football and men’s hoops teams are having the best seasons ever leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Iowans love to caucus.

Political ads were aplenty on Big Ten Network for Sunday’s win over the Boilermakers, and they will hit a peak when the third-ranked Hawkeyes take on No. 8 Maryland Thursday on ESPN and again on Jan. 31 against Northwestern on BTN ahead of Feb. 1’s caucuses.

There’s no escaping The Man, man.

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