Although not the most popular state, Iowa is full of passionate fans and athletes left and right. They don’t have an NBA or NFL team but feature multiple minor-league affiliates, such as the Iowa Wild, North Iowa Bulls, Cedar Rapids Kernels, Iowa Wolves, Dubuque Fighting Giants, and a long etcetera.
Nonetheless, every Iowa native will admit that most people are focused on two teams and two teams alone: The Iowa State Cyclones and Iowa Hawkeyes, both quite popular and successful in multiple disciplines at the collegiate level. And if you are wondering: is sports betting legal in Iowa? Yes, it is and you can already bet on the teams below.
So, albeit the state has more to offer than just these teams, we’ll let you know everything there is to know about them. Sit down, buckle up, and enjoy as we make a case for you to root for both of them!
Iowa State Cyclones
Located in Ames, the Iowa State Cyclones represent the Iowa State University. They compete in 12 different sports: Wrestling, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, track and field, football, basketball, cross country, diving, volleyball, softball, and tennis. Also, they feature both men’s and women’s teams.
Ironically, their name is a way of paying tribute to the state of Iowa, which was hit with multiple seasons back in 1895. The team, faced Northwestern University and crushed them 45-0, prompting the Chicago Tribune to release an article titled “Struck by a Cyclone: It Comes from Iowa and Devastates Evanston Town.” The rest, as you may know by now, is history.
The Cyclones have been quite solid in basketball. Their teams play at the Hilton Coliseum on the University’s campus. However, despite several promising seasons, they’ve never won the National Championship and have only made it to the Final Four once in 1944.
They’re fresh off a surprising trip to the NCAA’s tourney and are expected to be one of the driving forces of the Big 12 conference for years to come, at least while coach T. J. Otzelberger is leading the way.
The football team, on the other hand, has been slightly better over the years. They also play in the Big 12 and play their home games at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. They pay tribute to former Cyclone Jack Trice, who died on the field while playing against the Minnesota Golden Gophers back in 1923.
Thus far, they hold a 5-13 record in Bowl games, an all-time record of 553–661–46 (.457 winning percentage), and have won a couple of conference titles and one divisional championship.
The Iowa Hawkeyes feature 22 sports teams in basketball, baseball, football, golf, track and field, volleyball, diving, tennis, swimming, hockey, gymnastics, soccer, and cross country. Moreover, they expect to add at least one more sport by 2023.
Notably, their name was taken out of The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, as people from the area started calling themselves ‘the Hawkeyes.’ Eventually, the name stuck and was made official.
The hoops team used to be a bit of a powerhouse in the 80s, reaching the Final Four three times. They have won the Big Ten tournament three times and eight Big Ten regular-season Conference championships.
However, the football team has been fairly popular. Albeit they’re not exactly flashy offensively, they’re known for boasting one of the most suffocating defenses in the nation, not to mention an elite set of offensive linemen.
Thus far, they have a 684–570–39 (.544 winning percentage) all-time record and a 20–17–1 Bowl record. Moreover, they’ve won the National Championships five times, although they haven’t been able to do it since 1960. However, they did win the division title in 2021, so there’s no wondering why they’re the most popular team in the state.