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Our Most Hated Rival: A Brief History

We have always hated Iowa.

Once again, Iowa gets NOTHING!
Once again, Iowa gets NOTHING!
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Sure, the Purdue football program has three trophy games, but only one true rival. Purdue is a paltry 10-35 against Notre Dame in the last 45 years, so that's not a rivalry. The Cannon series with Illinois is pretty even, but most people don't even realize it is a rivalry trophy game. The Old Oaken Bucket is in West Lafayette so much that there is a dust ring in the trophy case during the few years it has to spend in Bloomington in exile. Besides, Indiana football is a thing to be pitied, not hated.

But Iowa... ugh, do I hate Iowa. And so should you! Here is a brief history of the hate.

1802: John Purdue is born, and Iowa is still French.

1803: The United States completes the Louisiana Purchase from France, which includes all of the land where Iowa is currently located. The land where Indiana, and Purdue University (Indiana's Land-Grant University) is located has ALWAYS been considered territory of the United States since 1783. Are we really going to let the French, those cheese-eating surrender monkeys, push us around?


1813: British-supported Indians defeat American forces at Fort Madison to gain control of the upper Mississippi, putting Iowa in control of the British during the War of 1812. Really? We're going to trust a state that jumps in and out of bed between the French, the U.S., and the British in a nine year span?

1816: Indiana is admitted to the Union as a state. Iowa, the lazy bastards, would be content to suckle at the teat of freedom as a territory for 30 more years before getting off their asses and becoming a state themselves. You know what we call places that get all the benefits of being citizens without having to participate in government? Puerto Rico. At least Puerto Rico is pretty.

1846: The state of Iowa is admitted to the Union. A collective yawn is heard as it quickly becomes just another state to cross on the way west.

1847: The University of Iowa is founded 59 days after the state of Iowa is admitted to the Union. They don't even bother holding classes until March of 1855. That's right. It took eight full years before anyone was bored enough to be like, "Well, I guess Iowa is the best I can do".

1862: Iowa State University becomes the first school in the nation to accept Land-Grant provisions, thus beginning the long history of Iowa State winning things that Iowa probably should have won. The most recent example being this year's football game.

1869: Purdue University is founded, naturally as Indiana's Land-Grant University. Instead of sitting back and assuming we would get Land-Grant status like Iowa, John Purdue went out and took it.

1896: The Big Ten Conference is founded, led by Purdue president James Smart. Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, and Chicago are the initial seven members. Notice who is missing?

1899: Indiana and Iowa join the Big Ten. At the time, Rotel and Barbasol revenues are far into the future, but they want to get in on the sweet gravy train of sponsorship from Torgo's Executive Powder and Cascaret (Cure headaches and constipation!) as part of the first wave of conference expansion. So if you're keeping score at home Purdue is always at the forefront of the best (The United States, Land-Grant schools, the Big Ten), while Iowa is always late to the party.


Yeah, Iowa wanted some of that sweet revenue...

1900: Iowa wins its first Big Ten football title, the carpetbaggers. It's not a real title, however, as they don't play Purdue.

1910: The Big Ten Conference can no longer hold back the seething hatred in the growing rivalry. After years of looking across the table and glaring at each other during conference meetings, Iowa and Purdue are allowed to play football against each other. On October 22, 1910 the Hawkeyes win the first meeting 16-0 in Iowa City.

1915: Purdue gets is first victory over Iowa 19-13 in the third ever meeting. Iowa, with their ever shifting loyalties, sides with the Kaiser for help in winning the next four meetings.

1918: Purdue wins its first Big Ten championship in football with a 7-3 win over Chicago! Iowa is too busy helping the Kaiser to play us.

1922: After backing out on the Weimar Republic to return to the U.S., Iowa wins its second of two straight Big Ten titles. They also beat Purdue 56-0 for the largest blowout in series history.

1930: Neil Armstrong, American Hero, is born. Nile Kinnick is busy being an awkward teenager.

1932: Purdue wins its third Big Ten title in four years, going 30-3-1 during that stretch. In 1931 they are also named the Parke-Davis National Champion with a 9-1 record. Naturally, this is all at the expense of Iowa, whom Purdue defeats 7-0, 20-0, 22-0, and 18-0 during the streak. At least try to score if you're our rivals, guys.

1933: Iowa beats Purdue 14-6 to ruin an undefeated season and hand the Boilermakers their first loss in two years. It breaks a streak of 20 games in which Purdue went 18-0-2 overall. This is when we should have burned Iowa City to the ground, as it cost Purdue a Big Ten and possible national title.

1936: The University of Iowa begins its Writer's Workshop program. The seeds of Black Heart Gold Pants are sown. Also, Purdue takes the all-time lead in the football series with a 13-0 win in Iowa City. Are the two related? Yes! There are many sonnets of utter despair written during the formation of the Workshop.

1939: Iowa goes 6-1-1 as Nile Kinnick wins the Heisman, despite going 2-13-1 in his previous two seasons. At least he beat Notre Dame, so maybe Iowa isn't all that bad.

1943: Purdue goes undefeated at 9-0 for its last perfect season. With a 23-13 victory over Great Lakes Navy the Boilers defeat the only team that beats (alleged) national champion Notre Dame, yet Purdue is denied the title. Iowa, who goes 1-6-1, probably had something to do with this grievous injustice.

1951: Phil Mateja has the longest rush in Purdue football history, a 92-yard TD run vs. Iowa.

1958: Iowa wins its second Rose Bowl in three seasons. This is known as the Dark Times in West Lafayette.

1961: Purdue beats No. 5 Iowa 9-0 to begin a streak of 20 straight victories over the Hawkeyes. Life is awesome.

1968: Purdue's best ever rushing day, 483 yards on 92 attempts with 7 touchdowns, occurs vs. Iowa.

1973: Purdue ties the 1968 school record with seven rushing TDs, once again, against Iowa.

1976: Purdue runs for a program record 501 yards on the Hawkeyes, breaking the 1968 record. Basically, if Purdue wants to set a record, it schedules Iowa.

1981: Purdue's 20-year streak of dominance is shattered with a 33-7 loss in Iowa City. It costs Purdue a fourth straight bowl game and the Boilers are so distraught they fumbled the Bucket back to Indiana two weeks later for the first time since 1977.

1982: Purdue beats Iowa 16-7, but would lose the next nine games until 1992.

1994: Purdue and Iowa tie 21-21 in West Lafayette for the final tie in the series. Purdue coach Jim Colletto infamously utters that a tie is as good as a win in the Big Ten after not going for the victory in the final minutes. Purdue misses a bowl game after a 4-1 start thanks to this stupid philosophy, as they finish 0-4-2.

1997: After leading at halftime Purdue falls 35-17 in Iowa City, breaking a 6-game winning streak and costing the Boilers a shot at the Rose Bowl. Damn you, Iowa!

2002: The game that always gets played on Big Ten Network. Brad Banks. Dallas Clark. Purdue has a blocked field goal returned for a TD in a wild game. Iowa wins 31-28. Everything burns.

2003: Purdue beats No. 10 Iowa 27-14 in the final home game for many seniors that were freshmen on the Rose Bowl team.

2011: Jim Delaney declares that after a two-year hiatus Purdue and Iowa would be locked as mortal enemies in the new, divided Big Ten. The Trophy of Badassery is born featuring Nile Kinnick on one side and Neil Armstrong on the other.


2012: Paul Griggs kicks a 46-yard field goal as time expires to give Purdue a 27-24 win, their first in Iowa City in 20 years. Iowa City burns to the ground in anguish. After the game Griggs said it was one small kick for Purdue kind and that he wanted to honor the recently deceased Neil Armstrong by returning the Trophy of Badassery to where it belongs.