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Iowa vs. Oklahoma State: Historical Tale of the Tape

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We’ve already broken down the lower weights and upper weights for the Oklahoma State – Iowa dual in Iowa City this Sunday.

Here we’re going to stack up the legacies of the two most historic programs in all of college wrestling.

Oklahoma State Iowa
NCAA Team Titles 34 23
Individual NCAA Titles 141 81
All Americans 450 319
Hodge Trophy Winners 2 2
Olympians 41 18
Gold Medals 11 5

Obviously, OSU has most of the overall historical arguments wrapped up. More overall titles, All-Americans, Olympians, etc… The NCAA even has declared it the top wrestling program.

Most Iowa fans would point out that the bulk of their titles and success have come in more recent years than OSU’s. There is some merit to that argument. From the beginning of the NCAA wrestling tournament until about the 1970’s, OSU owned college wrestling. There is a reason Ed Gallagher’s name is on the side of GIA. He was as dominant a coach as the sport has ever seen and interestingly he never even wrestled. He started coaching in 1915 and coached to 1940 but the NCAA tournament didn’t form until 1928. From 1928-1940 he won 11 of the NCAA tournaments finishing 2nd in the two they didn’t win. Incredible numbers even though there weren’t many programs back then.

Art Griffith then took over and continued a similar dominance followed by Myron Roderick who had some success as well.

Then Dan Gable happened. Iowa hired Gable in 1976 and he made what Cael Sanderson has done with PSU look mediocre. Gable won 15 NCAA titles. He eventually handed the program off to Jim Zalezky who won three himself. During that time OSU made their run of four straight, which Iowa fans didn’t like, so Bob Bowlsby — then the AD at Iowa — replaced Zalezky with current coach Tom Brands who has won three titles of his own.

John Smith showed up on the OSU campus as a student athlete in the late 80’s and for a brief period OSU and a few other schools broke up Gable’s stranglehold on the sport. Right after Smith graduated OSU won titles in 1989-1990. Smith officially took over in 1990-1991 and the Pokes won another in 1994. Iowa then won quite a few more before OSU had their run of four straight in the early 2000’s.

Ultimately with the departure of Gable, Smith taking over at OSU, and the emergence of a few other programs since the turn of the century both teams have been on a similar level. Since 2000 both have won four titles, OSU has two runner-up finishes to Iowa’s three and OSU has two Hodge trophy’s to Iowa’s one.

The overall dual record 28-21-2 in favor of OSU. Iowa had won three straight up to last year though, so this is a big one for both programs as it always is.

So is you want to watch another great dual between the two of the most storied programs in the history of college wrestling, tune on Sunday at 3 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. If you’re a fan of wrestling or just a fan of OSU, you won’t be disappointed.