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BELL OF THE BALL
Douglas S. Looney
November 12, 1990
Iowa was smelling roses after Nick Bell waltzed for big yardage at Illinois
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November 12, 1990

Bell Of The Ball

Iowa was smelling roses after Nick Bell waltzed for big yardage at Illinois

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At the preseason media get-together for Big Ten coaches, Fry said he expected to have "a very fine football team." Nobody believed him. Eight coaches, including Fry himself, picked Michigan to win the conference; the other two voted for Illinois. But the balloting gave Fry what he needed: a motivational tool. He seized on the idea that nobody respects Iowa and instilled that notion in his players. After Saturday's game, Bell reiterated it continually. "Reality," he said, "is nobody believes in us except us."

Fry knows his no-respect theme is nonsense. Last week the AP ranked Iowa 13th, and Fry said, "We deserve to be 13th. A lot of fine teams are ahead of us, and they deserve to be." No doubt about it, he has his players believing that it's the Hawkeyes against the world. And the ploy has worked. Though they lost 48-21 to Miami in the Orange Bowl, they defeated Michigan, Michigan State and now Illinois—all on the road.

Now while Iowa goes about doing some serious California dreaming, the only discordant note seems to be that the students in Iowa City are not impressed. As recently as 1985, students bought 13,000 season tickets. This year they purchased only 5,000. But if Fry keeps this kind of excitement going, they'll be back. More than anything else, students hate to miss a good time. The Hawkeyes might just be a great time waiting to happen.

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