Miller: Iowa Seniors Leave a Legacy

We all want to leave a legacy. We all hope that what we do in life will be looked upon favorably once we are gone. When it comes to the Iowa senior class of 2006, there is no doubt about it; they have worked their tails off, they paid the price and they have shown the underclassmen what it takes to be excellent.

As the dust settles on the 2005 season, it also settles on the careers of Iowa's seniors.

They have done so many things during their time in Iowa City, things that future classes will be hard pressed to duplicate, much less surpass.

They have won 38 games, tied for the most ever by any class at Iowa. They beat Michigan twice and they also beat Ohio State. They beat Wisconsin and Minnesota four times. They beat Penn State & Purdue three times. They beat Iowa State twice and ended Iowa State's five-game winning streak.

They won two New Year's Day bowl games and played in three of them. They will have participated in four bowl games in total. They beat LUS and Florida.

That's more than a resume; that is a legacy.

Given all of those things, their contributions over their final two regular season games might wind up being their most significant hand me down.

The young players on this team came to Iowa at a time when the Hawkeye banner has never flown higher. Last year's decorated Top 10 recruiting class had easier decisions to make than did this year's group of seniors when it came to choosing Iowa over other suitors.

This year's seniors bought the hope that the Iowa coaching staff was selling…and hope was all they had to sell.

The leadership that the senior class showed late in this regular season will be the shining memory that I will take away from the 2005 season and their careers.

For in the face of adversity and criticism, this team did not buckle. Barry Alvarez's last game in Madison as head coach and it being Wisconsin's Senior Day and without bowl eligibility in their grasp? Spit into the wind.

The nation's best rushing offense coming into Kinnick Stadium against a young front four? Ain't no thing.

The Iowa seniors buckled down, they took responsibility for the back to back losses against Michigan and Northwestern and they played two of the best games of their careers.

With their total domination of Minnesota on Saturday on both sides of the line of scrimmage, and with the seniors making big play after big play, they showed the underclassmen on this team what it means to be a part of the Iowa football program.

They showed them how to handle adversity.

They showed them the path of not giving into the naysayers and that the price you pay each and every day for being a football player at Iowa is something you bring with you into each contest.

They showed them the way.

A 7-4 record for this season is not necessarily what any of them saw coming, but it's what happened.

The true freshmen, the redshirt freshmen and the sophomores got to see that nothing is guaranteed and at Iowa, you have to work for everything you get.

Every game in league play is for the Big Ten title.

We can only hope that the youngsters on the team took it all in and will come away from this season's experiences with focus and determination.

Because that is what they saw each and every game from this year's seniors.

If you would have told me before the start of the season that I would be incredibly proud of this football team that finished with a 7-4 record, I might have argued with you.

However, that is the exact feeling that I have right now.

"How will they remember me?"

To borrow a few lines from recording artist Nicole Nordeman; The seniors left a legacy. They made a mark on things and they left an offering.

Thanks for the memories.

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