Representatives from the University of Iowa and the University of Nebraska announced a breakfast meeting last week to discuss the Trophy that will be played for in the two teams’ annual football game.
That breakfast meeting took place Friday morning and the announcement on the game was made. From now on, the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers will be playing in the Heroes Game at either Kinnick Stadium or Lincoln Memorial Stadium.
There is no trophy at this point, but each team will honor a “hero” from their respective state each and every year that the game is played. That hero will be introduced before each game.
“There’s little doubt that the football game between Iowa and Nebraska will have the full attention of our fans and fans across the country,” said Gary Barta, the University of Iowa’s director of athletics..”In fact, in our state it’s been a topic of significant discussion for our fans since the official announcement of the expansion of the Big Ten last year. So, to have the opportunity to work with our friends at Hy-Vee and our new friends at Nebraska to channel that energy into support for something as deserving as the American Red Cross efforts is exciting.
The game itself on Friday, November 25, can not get here soon enough for fans of both programs. Iowa fans have been waiting a long time to play the Cornhuskers. The two teams used to meet periodically but that rivalry went away during the early years of the Kirk Ferentz era.
Now that the Hawkeyes have moved to a more respectable stature around the nation, the program and Hawkeye fans are anxious to see where the team stacks up.
“We believe that the people of Iowa and the people of Nebraska are very much alike in many ways,” Tom Osborne, director of athletics at Nebraska. “Both believe in an honest day’s work, the importance of community and family, and both love college football and their football heroes. We also know there are citizens of our states doing exceptional things every day and we think they are deserving of some recognition and we look forward to using this game to do that.”
The two programs will leave the marketing and promotion of the game in the hands of the title sponsor, Hy-Vee. WIth Hy-Vee’s leadership, the two institutions hope to make this game grow on a national stage.
“With the ‘Hy-Vee Heroes’ game we have a truly unique opportunity to not only sponsor two legendary football programs and what we believe will be the new classic post-Thanksgiving rivalry game,” said Randy Edeker, president of Hy-Vee. “We also have the opportunity to use this great new rivalry to recognize some incredible people, doing incredible good throughout the heartland, our heartland heroes.”
The “Heroes Game” is the 14th trophy game in the history of the Big Ten Conference.
The institutions will work with their multi-media partners — Hawkeye Sports Properties, a property of Learfield Sports, and Husker IMG Sports Marketing– to expand support of the event and of the non-profit organization that will benefit annually from the efforts of the American Red Cross.
Nebraska is expected to compete for the Big Ten Conference championship in its first season as a member of the league. The Huskers are the favorite to win the Legends Division. The Hawkeyes are a bit under the radar this season as they return just five starters on both sides of hte ball.
In a poll taken Thursday among 12 Big Ten Conference bloggers from various Web sites, the Huskers were picked second behind Ohio State in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes were picked to finish sixth.