The Iowa wrestling team will host one of the biggest dual meets in recent history at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this Saturday when the Hawkeyes entertain defending national champion Penn State. The meet was not on either team’s schedule until this fall, and
Iowa coach Tom Brands says it took some scrambling to make everything work. “I think there was a lot of cooperation with a lot of different people,” Brands says. Iowa and Penn State are conference rivals, but the Big Ten rotation did not have them facing off this year.
Brands says that will change in the future, as he expects the Hawkeyes and the Nittany Lions to be protected rivals when the Big Ten expands again to 14 schools. He says they were told in the May meeting that each school would have one rivalry and that will be Penn State. Brands says it would be better to have two or more rivalries.
Brands says that while Penn State and Iowa might not be a geographic rivalry, it only makes sense to have two highly rated conference foes facing off every year. “Because of where both programs are at now, and if one us starts to suck, then it probably doesn’t make sense. But as long as both programs are where they are now, it makes sense,” Brands.
Brands says it will take solid performances from the entire Hawkeye lineup to earn a win over the defending national champions. “Nothing has changed in my mind from a complete team point of view — and that is we’ve got to have output from 10 weights,” Brands says. He says whatever makes that happen, they need it to happen now.
Iowa and Penn State are set to face off at 8:00 on Saturday night. The University of Iowa says that it has sold nearly 12-thousand tickets for the dual.
(Reporting by Jesse Gavin, KCNZ, Cedar Falls)