Iowa versus Oklahoma State is the greatest rivalry in college wrestling. There's not really a close second. The question is, why? Is it because they are, historically speaking, the two most successful programs in the country? Yes. Is it because Iowa's Dan Gable and OSU's John Smith have put together a Bill Walsh-esque coaching tree? That too. Is it because the two teams have some of the most loyal and loud fans? Without a doubt. But to tech geeks like me the Iowa-Oklahoma State rivalry is about a complete contrast in wrestling styles, and there is no better example of this distinction than Iowa senior Cory Clark and Oklahoma State redshirt freshman Kaid Brock at 133 pounds.
- Smash-mouth, collar ties and inside control - Always moving forward
Oklahoma State Style
- Elbow control when they're in close - Hard level changes and fast feet from the outside
Clark is one of the toughest wrestlers in the NCAAs right now; just watching him pull on an opponent's head for seven minutes makes my neck ache. Many of Clark's takedowns, especially the ones against top-ranked opponents, come from capitalizing on poor shots later in the match. If something like that was to happen once or twice it may be an anomaly, but the fact that it happens as frequently as it does tells you that it's by design. He's relentless, no matter the score. That type of pressure is really difficult to deal with during a match. It destroys your lower back, your legs and makes you do one of two things: either you stand straight up and Clark is on your legs, or it forces you into a shot that you probably shouldn't take and clark just walks behind you.
When I watch Brock wrestle, I see the sum of Cowboys wrestling history rolled up into a 133-pound package. He can inside trip like Zach Esposito, who, by the way, had one of the best inside trips in the world for a while. If Brock doesn't get the inside trip he can do some wrap-leg throws like Alan Gelogaev. We haven't even started talking about the elbow control stuff yet. POP QUIZ! What was Oklahoma State head coach John Smith's best offensive attack from neutral? How many people said "low single?" Nope. Everyone talks about the low single because of how innovative it was, but the truth is that his high crotch was way better. Brock has a great, not good, version of the very same Hi-C.
Both Clark and Brock are as homegrown as it gets. Clark was born and raised in Pleasant Hill, Iowa, just 100 miles west of Carver Hawkeye Arena. Clark still holds the win and fall record at Southeast Polk High, where he won four state titles. Brock won three state titles within walking distance of the Oklahoma State wrestling room. He helped the Oklahoma junior freestyle team win Fargo back in 2015.
Watch Live This Sunday At 2pm CST
The one thing that I can promise on Sunday is fireworks. And if you'd like to see what an Iowa-OSU matchup is all about, pay close attention to 133 pounds. WATCH LIVE HERE.