I think there is something happening this weekend in Iowa City. I haven’t been able to figure out just what it is, but judging by the amount of Facebook statuses, Twitter updates, news coverage, and face-to-face insults I’ve been witnessing (and from the other side), something is getting people all worked up. OH YES. It’s
Hate Rivalry Week once again here in the great state of Iowa. Iowa and Iowa State play their annual football game tomorrow afternoon in Iowa City. The past 5 years give Iowa a 3-2 advantage in the series, and last year’s triple overtime thriller in Ames (ISU won) has only added more excitement to this year’s game. Check out our poll at the bottom of the page!
If you want a statistical breakdown of the game, or a preview from some highly-acclaimed analysts, you don’t have to look far to get one. But this isn’t the place for that. We’re going to have some fun today, and we are going to turn Iowa and Iowa State into two “rival” copier manufacturers. We even make a fearless prediction on who wins this battle! Don’t knock it ’til you read it.
Iowa Hawkeyes: Xerox
The Hawks are the most storied football program in the state of Iowa. They have a richer football tradition than Iowa State and they’ve achieved higher high’s (Rose Bowls in the 80’s, Big Ten Titles, BCS bowl seasons in ’02 and ’09). Xerox has been what people have thought of when they thought of “copiers” since Xerox became popular in the late 50’s. The Iowa Hawkeyes remain the most popular team in Iowa and hold a decisive 39-20 advantage over Iowa State in the football series.
Despite its storied past, the past two years have been a little shaky for the Hawks. Despite high expectations, they have won only 7 games in each of the last two seasons (after winning 11 games in 2009). This past offseason, they also lost both of their longtime coordinators and replaced them with fresh faces and promotions from within. Under the new offensive and defensive coordinators, Iowa got off to a slow start in a 18-17 win over a weaker Northern Illinois squad last week. Xerox has also faltered of late, failing to capitalize on their early monopoly of the market and opening up opportunities for newer companies in the last decade, like Konica Minolta, Toshiba, Lexmark, and Oce.
When the Hawks are at their best, they do the same things well over and over again: run the ball, and play stifling defense. Despite an array of injuries to several key running backs in recent years, Iowa seems to plug in the next guy and still run the ball effectively. And under Norm Parker, their departed defensive coordinator, the Hawkeyes always had a tough defense that could keep them in any game. Run the ball, and play good defense. Some fans have cried out for more variety, but this is what Iowa does well and they are sticking to it. In a similar fashion, Xerox has become very successful in printing black and white documents at very high speeds. They have been the best in the industry in the black and white arena, and aside from recent competition from Oce, Xerox is still the go-to manufacturer in this space. Other companies have jumped ahead of them in color printing, but Xerox is focused on perfecting black and white.
Iowa State Cyclones: Lexmark
The Cyclones are Iowa’s little brother football program. Whether or not fans like to admit it, a majority of the state will side with the Hawkeyes because the Hawks have been more popular through the years, even if ISU is now the larger university. ISU doesn’t have the amount of success that Iowa has, but the Cyclones are no longer the doormat they used to be (like when Iowa beat them 15 consecutive times in the 80’s and 90’s). In fact, in the past 15 years, Iowa State actually has an 8-7 advantage over the Hawks, and they are 7-6 against Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. With their recent success (signature wins over Nebraska, Texas, and Oklahoma State) and two bowl appearances under Paul Rhoads, the Cyclones have made this series a rivalry once more. Like ISU, Lexmark is newer to the scene than Xerox, and they have a smaller presence in the print industry. It’s not just their presence that is smaller, but Lexmark also specializes in physically smaller machines, while Xerox has created iGen machines that need a whole regulated room to themselves. Lexmark doesn’t have the history of Xerox, but it is gaining momentum in recent years and has become a quality player in the print industry.
Iowa State runs a spread offense with a dual-threat quarterback. This gives them options on offense, with playmakers in the backfield and at wide receiver hoping to get into space and make things happen. Iowa State’s offense hasn’t always lived up to its potential and they have struggled in the past to convert short yardage situations because they don’t have many traditional running plays under center. ISU also has a new offensive coordinator, but they managed to put up 38 points in week one to provide optimism for the Cyclone faithful. Lexmark builds multifunction printers, and these machines also give the user options, such as copying, printing, scanning, and faxing all at the touch of a button. They can do all of this in color as well, which differentiates them from Xerox and Oce. They do not have the same production speeds as those two companies, but they provide more options and they provide them quickly and easily.
And the winner is… whichever is the better option for you! Yes, this is a total cop-out. But its also true. A company that needs lots of volume of black and white documents needs a strong option in that area, like Xerox. And if you have been born to bleed black and gold and salute statues of Hayden Fry, then you need to root for the Hawkeyes tomorrow. If your company needs multiple options and is looking to consolidate several machines into one, Lexmark is a better choice for your organization. It will improve your workflow and make it easier for your staff to process different documents. And if you love Paul Rhoads’ postgame speeches and want to hug Cy at every opportunity, you better hope the Cyclones pull off the upset.
Now, go paint your face and get ready for game day!