Iowa Football: Matt Roth Honorary Captain as Hawkeyes Battle Iowa State

Blake Friis@@BlakeFriisContributor IIISeptember 7, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 1:  Matt Roth #31 of the Iowa Hawkeyes stands on the field during the Capital One Bowl game against the LSU Tigers at the Florida Citrus Bowl on January 1, 2005 in Orlando, Florida. The Hawkeyes won 30-25. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)
Matt Stroshane/Getty Images

Former All-American and universally acknowledged crazy person Matt Roth will serve as honorary captain for the Iowa Hawkeyes as they take on Iowa State for the Cy-Hawk Trophy at Kinnick Stadium.

Before you ho-hum the move as a ceremonial window dressing with no real impact, consider this: Roth became something of an urban legend while still playing for the Hawkeyes.  Since graduating (he did graduate, right?) the Legend of Roth has grown exponentially.  He is more than simply a revered defensive end.  In Iowa City, Matt Roth is Chuck Norris.

Matt Roth once urinated in a semi truck's gas tank as a joke...that truck is now known as Optimus Prime.

Roth will join the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game.  He will also accompany the captains to midfield for the coin toss and remain on the sideline throughout the game (via  At least the Cyclones better hope he remains on the sidelines.  Woody Hayes' ghost thinks that's risky.


There is no such thing as evolution, just a list of animals Matt Roth decided not to eat.

While Roth is best known for the reckless abandon with which he pursued opposing quarterbacks, it is said he was equally enthusiastic in his pursuit of other people's food during his days in Iowa City.  As the unsubstantiated story goes, Roth once entered a friend's apartment while a co-worker was sleeping and began eating hot dogs out of their dorm fridge.  When the co-worker awoke to this scene and asked what he was doing, Roth replied, "eating lunch, what the [expletive] are you doing?!?"

There is a lot to be said for proper nutrition in preparation for a physically draining football game, but there is also something to be said about the inherent danger in a pack of hungry wolves.  With Roth likely obliterating the team's pregame meal, I look for Iowa to come out of the gate aggressive and irritable.

Phase one complete, Captain Roth.

Coin Toss

Matt Roth and Superman once fought on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear outside his pants.

There may be no quote that has come to define Matt Roth in the eyes of adoring Hawkeye fans like, "two words: Iowa Hawkeye Pride."

I'm not here to debate the moral ambiguity of celebrating painfully one-dimensional football killing machines, but I am here to point out there is a chance Roth will be the first honorary captain in football history to not know how many sides a coin has...and that may not be a bad thing.

Iowa State linebackers and co-captains A.J. Klein and Jake Knott are two of the players who present the Iowa offense its biggest hurdle.  If those two players dominate the way they are capable, it will be a major uphill battle for Iowa to reclaim the Cy-Hawk Trophy. 

If given the standard option of heads or tails, and Roth inexplicably chooses "steak," it could be difficult for the ISU linebacker duo to contain their laughter.  And if they share a laugh at Roth's expense on the big stage, ISU will be without at least one of their valuable defenders.

Crazy people are never in on the joke.  Don't laugh.


Matt Roth is the reason Waldo is hiding.

When ISU runs plays toward the Iowa sideline, they would be wise to keep it in the field of play.

Typically, when successful alumni return to their college stomping grounds with a sideline pass there is a lot of smiling and a steady stream of handshakes with familiar stadium and university staffers.

I do not anticipate Roth hugging it out during the game.

Not to be confused with criminals, successful teams do benefit from a healthy dose of nasty.  I don't know a single Iowa fan that doesn't want Roth in close proximity to the Hawkeyes' inexperienced defensive line, providing an elevated level of intensity through osmosis.


When the boogeyman goes to bed, he checks his closet for Matt Roth.

Many people in Iowa City have passed along stories that Roth used to drive his moped around town in the same fashion he rushed passers and strangers' dorm fridges.  A favorite story has Roth losing control of his moped, hitting a curb outside Carver Hawkeye Arena at top speed and being thrown over the handle bars.  

Roth stood up, looked around, got back on his bike and drove off like nothing ever happened.

I don't anticipate the postgame portion of Roth's honorary captaincy being contained to the locker room.

If you are in the downtown Iowa City area celebrating a Hawkeye victory Saturday evening, be on the lookout for runaway mopeds, lest you find yourself written into the next chapter of the Matt Roth Urban Legend.


    Leach's Hoax Tweet Showed Why Bigger Schools Won't Hire Him

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Leach's Hoax Tweet Showed Why Bigger Schools Won't Hire Him

    Dan Wolken
    via USA TODAY

    Welcome to Lane Kiffin's Charlie Weis Jr. Experiment

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Welcome to Lane Kiffin's Charlie Weis Jr. Experiment

    Andrea Adelson

    Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, and the Changing Landscape of Recruiting

    Iowa Hawkeyes Football logo
    Iowa Hawkeyes Football

    Kirk Ferentz, Iowa, and the Changing Landscape of Recruiting

    Black Heart Gold Pants
    via Black Heart Gold Pants

    Pitt Lands 9 Commits on Father's Day

    College Football logo
    College Football

    Pitt Lands 9 Commits on Father's Day

    Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports
    via USA TODAY High School Sports