His name is Daniel Murray, and he didn't just kick the field goal that put Iowa over Penn State, 24-23. He also kicked a hole in the national title picture. Thus, the young man is not merely the toast of Iowa City tonight; they're raising a glass to him in Gainesville, Los Angeles, Austin, Norman, and Stillwater.
Or at least they'd better be.
While some fans out there think the conference's official name is The Big Ten Is Overrated, face the facts: An undefeated Penn State team was going to the national title ahead of any one-loss team from the SEC or Big 12. You don't have to think such a thing would be fair. You just need to accept that it was the truth. The voters weren't going to deny Joe Paterno another shot at the national title after he'd been shut out so many times before with teams just as undefeated as this team is. WAS. Sorry.
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I tried to warn you. I told you on Thursday not to assume that Iowa would lose. I made my case for why Iowa, and not Michigan State, was the team on Penn State's schedule with the best chance to beat them.
Okay, sure, I said they would lose, but come on. That's what you thought, too. Now you can breathe. The door's open for all the less-than-perfect teams, thanks to a kid who was 1-for-3 on field goals for the year coming into this game. He now takes his place beside Rob Houghtlin in the pantheon of party-pooping Iowa placekickers. (Ask a Michigan fan about Houghtlin. They won today, so they might feel like talking.)
We don't ask for much here in the Hawkeye nation. We know that asking SEC and Big 12 fans to praise a team in another conference is like asking for a square circle or hot snow. And we know, good grief, we know that all the sportswriters in America have "Kirk Ferentz is the most overpaid coach in college football" in their AutoTexts. Those things aren't going to change, we realize. All we ask is this: Throw a little respect towards Shonn Greene, who has now had ten straight 100-yard games. Recognize that Kirk Ferentz simply owns Joe Paterno, beating him seven of the last nine times.
More than that, acknowledge that Iowa saved your team's national title bacon. Nobody else was going to get the Nittany Lions. The Hawkeyes did.
A Note to SEC and Big 12 Fans: The Iowa Hawkeyes Deserve Your Gratitude originally appeared on NCAA Football FanHouse on Sat, 08 Nov 2008 21:47:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.