Remember the Maine: 34 Days Till Kickoff

It’s 34 days until the Maine-Iowa football game, Aug. 31 in Iowa City.

The USS Maine, a second-class battleship built between 1888 and 1895, was sent to Havana in January 1898 to protect American interests during the long-standing revolt of the Cubans against the Spanish government. On Feb. 15, 1898, Maine sank when her forward gunpowder magazines exploded. Nearly three-quarters of the battleship’s crew, 260 in all, died as a result of the explosion.

Though it isn’t sure if internal or external foces caused the tragedy, American popular opinion blamed Spain. Yellow journalism stoked that opinion, and the Spanish-American War followed within a few months.

Now, in 2008, the Maine Black Bears are bringing their football team to Iowa City for the most-important season-opener in the history of the sport. The Hlog will monitor what Maine is up to in the time leading up to that big day. You have to keep an eye on the Black Bears. They’re hungry.

The Black Bears open camp Aug. 4. They’re picked to finish fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association’s six-team North Division, behind Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Hofstra.

Don’t be deceived by that. Repeat: Do not be deceived by that.

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