Playing National Champions
So this week Iowa Football has the great honor (seriously) to play the 5 time defending national champions from the FCS, the North Dakota State Bisons. While an FCS team (which means they have a limit of 65 scholarships) I believe they are clearly the best team Iowa will have faced in 2016. They will be very confident, as they have won 5 national championships in a row and 13 total in the history of their program. They have been victorious in their last 5 games against FBS teams (all on the road), and in the history of their program are 8-3 v FBS teams. And as they come in to Kinnick Stadium for this game they have an 11 game win streak going and over the past 5 years have a record of 71-5. Not bad, not bad at all.
When I think of that record it seems just about impossible. I was at Iowa when the Iowa wrestling team and Dan Gable were in their run of 10 straight national championships and as a football player and wrestler that was a big deal (eventually getting up to 15 I believe). Not saying what the Bisons have done is harder but over 5 years they have played at a very high level during the seasons to earn a playoff birth (obviously) and then in the playoffs have won 20 straight games over the 5 year run. I don't care who you are or what league you play in, or what sport it is, that is very difficult to do.
So while I was on/connected to a couple of national championship wrestling teams at Iowa, I was never the guy doing the wrestling, just the guy getting beat up in the wrestling room during workouts! But I was around on the team and around Coach Gable and there is something about being around a group of people who have the expectation of winning every time they go out to compete. It is a culture of winning behaviors, habits, work ethic, and performance. It takes so many people all doing the right things every day for such a long time to pull that off. And this is true not just with teams and sports but in life and business as well. Getting everyone on the same page, doing the same thing, and performing at such a high level over a long period of time is very difficult. So hats of to the Bisons and all respect because they have earned it.
I will skip the pre-game analysis as far as the match ups go and all of that. But in honor of the Bison coming to town our Iowa Football Club tailgater today will be serving hot and delicious "Bison Burgers" in support of our Hawks. : ) So should be a beautiful day at Kinnick and hopefully another win for the Hawks. But we will see. People and teams used to winning and who expect to win don't let go of that easily. So this should be a good game and great test for the Hawks. But I will be thinking about those Bison and all that it takes to do what they have done and what maybe I can do in my own life to make the small choices each day that will help me move toward my goals and be successful. It is not an easy thing to do, but it is a good thing to be around championship type people and teams because I believe it makes me better as an individual and certainly my group and team better when we compete with them. So here is to living life with a plan, an intention, a passion, and a desire. Have a great day and GO HAWKS!