Iowa’s best road trip for football fans in 2018
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What road game is gonna be the best to go to for a road trip this year? — Danny Hatz
ANSWER: Like nearly every year, the Hawkeyes have five scheduled road trips this fall. They are Minnesota (Oct. 6), Indiana (Oct. 13), Penn State (Oct. 27), Purdue (Nov. 3) and Illinois (Nov. 17).
This is one season where football and basketball would provide almost a complete inverse. If we’re talking hoops, Indiana’s Assembly Hall and Purdue’s Mackey Arena are two of the nation’s best. Illinois’ State Farm Center (still having a difficult time writing it) sometimes has great crowds and the Hawkeyes-Illini rivalry of the previous generation was the Big Ten’s fiercest. The Barn in Minneapolis has its moments for the Iowa rivalry but it depends on the Gophers’ prowess. I’ve covered several Iowa-Penn State basketball games at Bryce Jordan Center and most of the time the ball would echo off the empty seats.
But we’re chatting football here. If you’re talking convenient, inexpensive tickets and easy drives, then it’s a three-way tie among Indiana, Purdue and Illinois. If you’re referring to atmosphere, then games at Minnesota or Penn State qualify for different reasons.
There’s really no experience in college football like the one Beaver Stadium provides. If it’s a night game and a whiteout, it’s the coolest environment in sports. With the white towels and poms waving among 107,000 fans and 50 renditions of Seven Nation Army, there’s nothing like it. The tailgating is spread for miles over an area with fall foliage in peak form and the mountains overlooking Happy Valley give off an ambiance no location can match. Plus, the Nittany Lions should contend for the Big Ten East title and Iowa should be good, too.
As far as rivalries go, watching Hawkeyes and Gophers battle for the iconic Floyd of Rosedale trophy should be on the bucket list. Anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 Iowa fans attend the Minneapolis game. It’s like a street carnival in Dinkytown with fans bringing live pigs and music playing on every street corner. Minnesota fans routinely belt out the Who Hates Iowa chant in the parking lots and inside TCF Bank Stadium. It’s homecoming this year, which should add even more flavor to a fun day.
So if you’re picking one to attend regardless of cost and location, go with Penn State. But don’t rule out the Iowa-Minnesota rivalry, either.
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