Iowa–Minnesota football rivalry
|First meeting||November 2, 1891|
|Latest meeting||October 28, 2017|
|Trophy||Floyd of Rosedale|
|All-time series||Minnesota, 62–47–2 (.568)|
|Trophy series||Minnesota, 42–39–2 (.518)|
|Largest victory||Minnesota, 75–0 (1903)|
|Longest win streak||Minnesota, 12 (1891–1916)|
|Current win streak||Iowa, 3 (2015–present)|
The Iowa–Minnesota football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Iowa Hawkeyes football team of the University of Iowa and Minnesota Golden Gophers football team of the University of Minnesota. Floyd of Rosedale, introduced in 1935, is a bronze trophy in the shape of a pig which is awarded to the winner of the game.
The 1934 game between the Hawkeyes and Golden Gophers had been filled with controversy over the treatment of Iowa star halfback Ozzie Simmons. Simmons was also one of the few black football players of that era, and several rough hits by the Gophers on Simmons forced him to leave the game multiple times in Minnesota’s 48–12 victory. “What it amounted to was that they were piling on – late hits,” Simmons recalled. “I had bruised ribs...they came at me with knees high, and some of it was pretty obvious.”
The following year, Coach Bernie Bierman’s Gophers were 5–0, and Coach Ossie Solem’s Hawkeyes were 4–0–1. Before the 1935 Iowa–Minnesota contest in Iowa City, Bierman received a flood of threatening letters from Iowa fans. He requested and received special police protection for the team when it detrained in Iowa a couple days before the contest.
The day before the game, Iowa Governor Clyde L. Herring told reporters, "If the officials stand for any rough tactics like Minnesota used last year, I'm sure the crowd won't." Herring’s message was clear. “What he was saying was, ‘If you treat Ozzie like you treated him last year, we’re coming out of the stands,’” Simmons said.
The news quickly reached Minnesota. Coach Bierman threatened to break off athletic relations. Minnesota Attorney General Harry H. Peterson practically accused the Iowa governor of thuggery. "Your remark that the crowd at the Iowa–Minnesota game will not stand for any rough tactics is calculated to incite a riot," said Peterson. "It is a breach of your duty as governor, and evidences an unsportsmanlike, cowardly and contemptible frame of mind."
To lighten the mood, Minnesota Governor Floyd Olson sent a telegram to Governor Herring on game-day morning, which read, "Dear Clyde, Minnesota folks excited over your statement about the Iowa crowd lynching the Minnesota football team. I have assured them that you are a law-abiding gentleman and are only trying to get our goat. The Minnesota team will tackle clean, but, oh! how hard, Clyde. If you seriously think Iowa has any chance to win, I will bet you a Minnesota prize hog against an Iowa prize hog that Minnesota wins today. The loser must deliver the hog in person to the winner. Accept my bet thru a reporter. You are getting odds because Minnesota raises better hogs than Iowa. My best personal regards and condolences."
The Iowa governor accepted, and word of the bet reached Iowa City as the crowd gathered at the stadium. Things calmed down and the game was untroubled. Minnesota won 13–6, and Iowa star Ozzie Simmons played an injury-free game. Afterwards, the Minnesota players went out of their way to compliment Simmons, and Simmons praised the Gophers for their clean, hard-fought play. Minnesota went on to win their second straight national championship.
Governor Herring obtained an award-winning prize pig which had been donated by Allen Loomis, the owner of Rosedale Farms near Fort Dodge, Iowa. Dubbed Floyd after Minnesota Governor Olson, the pig was the brother of Blue Boy from Will Rogers' movie State Fair. A few days later, Governor Herring collected "Floyd of Rosedale" and personally walked him into Governor Olson’s carpeted office.
Iowa social crusader Virgil Case swore out a criminal warrant in Des Moines against Governor Herring, alleging that the bet violated Iowa gambling laws. Herring jokingly stated that he had retained Governor Olson as his attorney, who argued that it was not a true bet because Herring did not have a chance of winning it. However, an assistant Iowa attorney general convinced a judge to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds because the bet had been made in Minnesota and Iowa City, beyond the local court's jurisdiction. Case also argued that the governors were guilty of violating federal gambling laws because the pig had been placed into interstate commerce when Herring made good on the bet, but the U.S. Attorneys declined to prosecute. President Franklin Roosevelt's former son-in-law, Curtis Dall, who attended the 1935 game as a guest of the governors, suggested that they name the pig "New Deal." Herring vetoed that proposal.
Governor Olson later offered Floyd up as the grand prize in a statewide essay-writing contest, which was won by 14-year-old Robert Jones. A few years later, Floyd of Rosedale caught cholera and died.
Since the two schools could not continue wagering a live pig, Governor Olson commissioned Saint Paul sculptor Charles Brioschi to capture Floyd's image. The result is a 98 lb (44 kg) bronze pig trophy, 21 in (53 cm) long and 15 in (38 cm) high. Iowa and Minnesota have played for the Floyd of Rosedale every year since then. The winner of the game is entitled to keep the trophy until the following year's contest.
One of the rivalry's most notable games was in the 1960 college football season when undefeated and #3 Minnesota met undefeated and #1 Iowa in Minneapolis. The game was for the Big Ten Championship, the 1961 Rose Bowl berth, and the #1 ranking. Minnesota won 27–10.
In 2008, Rivals.com named Floyd of Rosedale the top rivalry trophy in college football.
|Iowa victories||Minnesota victories||Tie games|
- Stadium Stories: Iowa Hawkeyes, by Buck Turnbull (ISBN 0-7627-3819-7), Pages 107-108
- Minnesota Public Radio
- Floyd of Rosedale - Minnesota vs. Iowa
- Stadium Stories: Iowa Hawkeyes, by Buck Turnbull (ISBN 0-7627-3819-7), Page 108
- "Herring Arrest is Made Just Another Joke," Oelwein Daily Register, 1935-11-14 at p. 1,3.
- "The Roosevelt Week," Time Magazine, 1935-11-18.
- Associated Press staff (2014-11-07). "College football: Gophers-Hawkeyes play for pig". Saint Cloud Times. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
- Rivalry trophies