As you may have heard, this week's home against Northwestern is yet another of the seemingly endless "theme" games scheduled for this season: Pitt was the "Gold Rush" game, this week is the "Black and Gold Spirit" game, and Michigan State is the "Blackout" game. (Please, Iowa fans, no blackface. If you want to get blackout drunk beforehand, though, that's probably not a bad idea. It will ease the pain of trying to watch our offense move the ball on Michigan State's top-ranked defense, at least.) Last year's "Black and Gold Spirit" game was, to the surprise of many (including me), a smashing success. The vast majority of fans followed through on the instructions and created a pretty terrific visual spectacle.
This year, the Iowa athletic department is not only trying to improve fan participation in the black and gold striping (reminder: even numbered sections wear gold, odd numbered sections wear black), they're dipping their toes into the wacky world of card stunts. Card stunts have been around for a long time, particularly among pep bands and student sections; NC State seems strangely fond of them, too. (Perhaps Tom O'Brien is just a big admirer of Kim Jong Il.) Like most things involving tens of thousands of people doing the same thing in union, card stunts can look pretty damn cool (and/or creepy and fascistic, depending on how Orwellian your world view is) when done right. When done wrong, they can be a bit of an embarrassing mess. Probably for that reason, a lot of card stunts are relatively simple. (Again, Kim Jong-Il-sanctioned card stunts notwithstanding.) The Iowa athletic department either didn't get that memo or has immense faith in the coordination and timing of Iowa fans, because these card stunts are what they're planning on doing for the game this weekend:
Which, um, will be pretty spectacular if it comes off. And hopefully it will, but with a fanbase that should be, er, well-lubricated by the time the game kicks off at 6pm, I'm a bit skeptical. Prove me wrong, Iowa fans.