(Story originally posted on SB Nation’s ISU site: Wide Right & Natty Lite.)
WRNL is proud to present nine weekly articles from Kagavi leading up to the official release of The Adventures of Robot Cy, a fictional 8-bit video game trailer that never was.
In a faraway futuristic time, college football has been taken over by robot mascots. Join Robot Cy as he travels through many thrilling levels to find out who is behind this nefarious plot!
Every week during the conference season, Kagavi will preview the ISU football game using this project as inspiration by asking what power ups could Robot Cy gain by defeating the other Big 12 robot mascots?
As the calendar turns to October, Iowa State is struggling again to keep pace in a high-powered Big 12 Conference where every other team has all kinds of exotic weaponry on offense. With Kansas invading Jack Trice Stadium this weekend for a slap fight, ISU may have found the only other conference mate that they can feel equal to. Last year there were rumors that Kansas clobbered ISU 34 – 14, but since the game was on Fox Sports Net, we cannot verify whether this actually happened or not. The 2015 season looks to be another hotly anticipated basement title race and the Cyclones are set to test out their 1950s pop gun offense against the rebuilding Jayhawks in a thrilling nap for much of the nation.
But what if Robot Cy was facing off against Robot Jayhawk?
If Robot Jayhawk used the best parts of Kansas football history to inspire a power up, what would it be? Let’s explore some Kansas history.
Located on an ivory
tower hill overlooking Lawrence, the University of Kansas boasts a meager amount of football success, but they still hold the historical edge on ISU with an overall record of 50 wins to 36 losses and 6 ties. The first game in the series took place in 1898, but the second game didn’t take place until 1916 and since then the two teams have played nearly every year. During those early years, the Jayhawk mascot debuted with terrifyingly long gams that put WWII pinup Betty Grable’s Million Dollar Legs to shame.
Down the hill from campus, Kansas Memorial Stadium is in dire need of a massive renovation–visiting football fans report a strange lingering odor of mothballs after games. The stadium opened in October 1921, but it wasn’t until 1927 that the full horseshoe shape was completed. I must confess, despite the decaying state, it just may be my favorite stadium in the entire conference and has gravitas that Jack Trice Stadium lacks. Before you choke on your bratwurst, allow me to explain.
With our ongoing research into ISU legend Jack Trice’s life, I have developed a fondness for the transformative 1920s era of college football. After World War I, dozens and dozens of colleges built shiny new stadiums to take advantage of the increasing national interest in the sport. Many were named variations of Memorial Stadium to honor the millions of dead from the Great War and nearly all had the same basic horseshoe design.
College football has largely moved on from these stadiums and even when the original stadium remains, the renovated facade has swallowed up the historical design. Not at Kansas. The original horseshoe end is still plainly visible and a real throwback to the days that Jack Trice roamed the gridiron. Where else in the conference can you travel back in time so easily?
Another reliable Kansas tradition has been tormenting opponents ever since the football stadium opened: the venerable Rock Chalk Chant, which was called the greatest college chant by President Teddy Roosevelt. Officially, Kansas claims the chant “evolved from a cheer that a chemistry professor, E.H.S. Bailey, created for the KU science club in 1886″ and the cheer later added a reference to the limestone chalk rock found on campus. Our research reveals this isn’t the case. It seems Professor Bailey was a bit of a sadist and after extensive analysis into the chemistry of the body’s humors, created the chant as an auditory representation of nails scraping a chalkboard to help Kansas athletic teams to victory.
No analysis of Kansas football history is complete without considering the basketball team that has reeled off a record streak of 88 straight Big 12 titles. Or is it 89 now? The football program was sacrificed at the altar for the continued success of the cagers who have won five national championships and over 2,000 games. (Iowa State could go undefeated for the next 20 years and still be behind Kansas in total wins.) Even Jayhawk fans will admit that Kansas football has always been considered a mildly amusing pregame diversion prior to tipoff, but our research has exclusively revealed the real reason for the basketball streak.
Buried in a secret vault underneath Allen Fieldhouse is a lucky golden horseshoe that swaddles the home team in a protective cloak of luck. Many a referee has left Lawrence in a befuddled fog, wondering how they gave the home team extra fouls or points or why they had no pants on.
During particularly lucky years, when the celestial sky aligns correctly, the golden horseshoe’s range extends to the football team. In the 1960s, future legend Gale Sayers was all set to become an Iowa Hawkeye on his recruiting visit to Iowa City, but when the Iowa head coach was momentarily confused by the golden horseshoe aura, he couldn’t be bothered to meet with Sayers. The spurned Sayers went on to a College and NFL Hall of Fame career with Kansas and the Chicago Bears. (Side note: Sayers was nicknamed the Kansas Comet and this was considered as a possible Robot Jayhawk power up.)
In fall 2007, the golden horseshoe powers were magnified like never before and the entire campus enjoyed bountiful luck that cascaded through the streets and down the hill to Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawk football squad responded with a stunning 12 – 1 season that ended in an Orange Bowl victory. The golden horseshoe luck didn’t stop there. The basketball team won the national championship after the golden horseshoe helped the Memphis Tigers team clank four out of five free throws in the final minute of the fourth quarter, allowing the Jayhawks to complete a comeback in overtime.
The golden horseshoe doesn’t always stay on campus and it enjoys visiting local schools from time to time. The most recent visit to Iowa State was the infamous Niang charge game in 2013 that helped preserve the Big 12 title streak by a whisker.
Thus, after this brief look at Kansas history, it only seems appropriate that the power up for Robot Jayhawk should be a homage to the classical horseshoe football stadium and the mysterious powers of the golden horseshoe.
The Golden Horseshoes power up gives Robot Cy a sorely needed boost of good luck. By using this power up, perhaps Robot Cy could make certain field goals curve left or help cause a timely fumble. If Robot Cy had access to this power up, what historical football (or basketball) seasons could have turned out much differently?
Are there any other possible power ups that would fit Robot Jayhawk? Share them in the comments!