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Local Sports

Column: Top 5 teams, enter state at own risk

This college football season has been fun for instate teams.

And if you are a program ranked in the top five, enter the state at your own risk.

The Iowa Hawkeyes pulled off a huge upset over then No. 3 Ohio State this past weekend, scoring 55 points on the powerhouse Buckeyes.

The week before, Iowa State hosted another top-five team in TCU and handed the Horned Frogs their first loss of the season.

The Cyclones defeated Oklahoma earlier this season in Norman when the Sooners were ranked in the top five.

And, the team located in Cedar Falls called the Northern Iowa Panthers have also defeated three top-10 FCS teams this season.

I was at the state cross country meet for Iowa State’s win over TCU in Ames. But I had the pleasure of being on the sidelines of Iowa’s win over Ohio State this past weekend.

Both games ended with a field storm. And with good reason. Iowa State is doing things this year that it hasn’t done in more than a decade, and Iowa has defeated Ohio State only four times since I have been alive.

Those are big-time wins that deserve fun endings.

Both programs are in good position to win at least eight games this season. Neither team is favored this weekend — Iowa at Wisconsin and Oklahoma State at Iowa State — but the Cyclones and Hawkeyes should be favored in the final two games of the season.

Iowa State can get to the Big 12 championship game but can’t lose many more to get there. Iowa also is not mathematically eliminated from the Big Ten title game but the chances are slim at this point.

This season has a been a lot of fun for both programs. Both fanbases will enjoy bowl games in the same year for the first time in a few years.

If Iowa finishes strong, the Hawkeyes should be in line for the Holiday Bowl, who really wanted them last year but lost out to the Outback Bowl in the picking process.

While football has a few more games this season, college basketball season gets underway this weekend.

Iowa State opens the 2017 campaign at Missouri on Friday night. The Cyclones will get an up close look at potential No. 1 NBA draft pick Michael Porter.

Northern Iowa also opens on the road Friday, taking on defending national champion North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

The Hawkeyes and Drake Bulldogs open at home against cupcakes Friday night. Iowa hosts Chicago State and then gets another layup on Sunday against Alabama State. Drake opens the Nico Medved era in the Knapp Center against Coe College on Friday.

Drake’s 2017 roster of course features former Newton standout Connor Gholson.

All four Big Four women’s teams open at home this weekend. Iowa State hosts South Dakota, UNI plays IUPUI and Drake takes on Milwaukee.

Iowa plays in its annual home tournament against Quinnipiac on Friday. The Hawkeye women play either Missouri or Western Kentucky on Saturday.

The first instate rivalry game of the season is Tuesday. The Northern Iowa women host Iowa State inside the McLeod Center.

My first look at area basketball teams will be Saturday. The Colfax-Mingo girls and Baxter girls face each other in a scrimmage in Colfax. Then I will get a good look at the Tigerhawks again on Monday at the Lynnville-Sully Jamboree. Prairie City-Monroe and host L-S also are playing that night.

Contact Troy Hyde

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