It’s no surprise that the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers have evolved into rivals. They are in neighboring states to each other, they have incredibly fierce fan bases, and they both have elite football programs. What is a surprise is how long it took them to get rolling in the rivalry in the first place.
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Black Friday Turns Neighbors Nebraska and Iowa into Enemies
The inaugural game between these two was in 1891, but it wasn’t considered a traditional “rivalry” game. In fact, they met at random over 40 times throughout the decades, but the rivalry never truly began until a mere three years ago when Nebraska decided to join in on the action in the West Division of the Big Ten.
The entire concept of the rivalry, named the Heroes Game in 2011, was actually meant to bring the two schools together to raise money for the Red Cross in both states. It was meant to establish mutual respect between the states as they now share a conference. Most importantly, it was established so that each year, two people in the community could be elected (1 from each school) to be the “hero” whose name will be etched on the side of the trophy. And for 364 days of the year this rings true.
Both teams unite to partake in these reputable events. But on the 365th day, Black Friday of every year (Black Friday... isn’t that fitting?), all of that kindness is cast aside as they take the field to lock horns. On that day, the trophy brings in a new kind of meaning. The kind of meaning that makes the crowd erupt in the stadium as their team storms their battle field. On that day, the trophy is awarded to the hero who brings home a victory for their school and for their state. The hero who claims bragging rights as the best team in the mid-west.
Nebraska leads 28-13-3 in their matchups overall, and are currently 2-1 against Iowa since they joined the Big Ten. However, Iowa is coming off the most recent win last year, and will be craving another win to tie up the series as they host the event on Friday.