A neighborly rematch 100 years in the making will take place half a country away in the desert.
Iowa and Missouri are playing in the Insight Bowl at ArizonaState's Sun Devil Stadium on Tuesday, bringing together two formerrivals that haven't played each other since 1910 despite being lessthan 250 miles apart.
Payback? It's hard to even remember what happened it has been solong.
"It is kind of random and very, very strange that we're notplaying a border state that's Big 8, now a Big 12 member," Iowacoach Kirk Ferentz said.
Neither team figured to end up here, and certainly not againsteach other.
Missouri (10-2) had its sights on a BCS game and a Big 12championship was within its grasp. The Tigers fell just short,consecutive losses to Nebraska and Texas Tech knocking them out ofthe Bowl Championship Series and into a second-tier game.
Disappointing? In a sense, but it's hard to knock a season thatcould end with 11 wins, a school-record sixth straight bowlappearance and in a warm-weather place while everyone back home isfreezing.
"This is a reward to your players for a great season," saidMissouri coach Gary Pinkel, who has led the Tigers to bowl berthsseven of the past eight seasons. "So I want them to appreciatethat and enjoy the great things Phoenix has to offer and hopefullyplay our best game."
The Hawkeyes (7-5) are looking to finish off a season thatstarted with so much promise and went awry under a wave ofinjuries, missed opportunities and, of late, suspensions.
Iowa opened the season ranked ninth, eyeing a Big Tenchampionship and a second straight BCS bid. A road loss to anArizona team that turned out to be mediocre put a dent in thosechances, and a three-game losing streak to end the season landedthe Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl -- not exactly where they had hopedto be at the start of the season.
"We need to stop the three-game losing streak and hopefully getsome momentum going into next season," Iowa defensive lineman KarlKlug said. "We need a win."
They'll have to do it without a few key players.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, the school's career leader in catchesand yards receiving, was suspended for the Insight Bowl after hewas arrested on drug charges following an investigation that foundcocaine, prescription drugs, marijuana, a digital scale and $3,000in cash in a home he shared with roommate Brady Cooper Johnson.
Ferentz also suspended leading rusher Adam Robinson forviolating team rules, lost running back Jewel Hampton to a transferand dropped another runner last week, when Ferentz said fullbackBrad Rogers will be out while undergoing cardiology testing.
Combined with defensive coordinator Norm Parker's healthproblems -- he was hospitalized and had a foot amputated during theseason -- it's been a rough year for the Hawkeyes.
"Unfortunately, it happens in college athletics," Ferentzsaid. "It happens in all segments of life. We've moved on,certainly. The team's attitude has been great."
Back to the rivalry.
These two neighbors weren't the typical bragging-rights rivals.They literally hated each other. In 12 games from 1892 to 1910,Iowa and Missouri engaged in vicious games filled with dirty plays,riots and racial discrimination, according to accounts of theseries.
The tensions and incidents built until 1910, when a particularlybrutal game in excessive heat -- won by Missouri, 5-0 -- led Hawkeyescoach Jesse Hawley to say his team would never play the Tigersagain.
They never did. The teams were scheduled to play a four-yearseries from 2005-08, but it fell though. So now, after a century,the Hawkeyes and Tigers will resume their rivalry -- in the desert,no less -- with a chance to put an exclamation point on theirseasons.
"Everybody wants to end their season with a victory," Pinkelsaid. "You want to finish. We use that term a lot: You want tofinish."
And perhaps re-ignite a long-dormant rivalry while they're atit.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times