Remember all the hand-wringing about Iowa not playing any night games this fall? Well, Iowa still isn't playing any home games in primetime this fall and their Big Ten road games will all be kicking off in the daylight hours -- but they will be playing a non-conference game at least partially under the lights. Today Iowa State announced the start times and television partners for their first four games this fall, bringing us the news that the Iowa-Iowa State game on September 14 will kickoff at 5 PM CT, with television coverage from the soon-to-debut Fox Sports 1 (FS1) channel.
That 5 PM start time seems like the intervention of television. Both Iowa and Iowa State officials (as well as law enforcement officials in Ames and Iowa City) have expressed reluctance in recent years to schedule their annual football game for an evening kickoff, primarily for safety and security reasons. While the atmosphere would undoubtedly be even more electric than usual, the argument has always been that giving Iowa and Iowa State fans a few extra hours to booze would only throw more gasoline on the proverbial fire (not literal, Iowa State fans -- put your torches down, this isn't VEISHA), increasing the already-pretty high number of arrests that take place on an Iowa-Iowa State gameday. But as we've learned: if TV wants something, they usually get it. And Fox Sports 1 apparently wanted Iowa-Iowa State at 5 PM.
It's the latest kickoff time in the Iowa-Iowa State series since 2002, when the game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City also kicked off at 5 PM. As you may recall, things went pretty well in that game for about a half. Then the sun set and under the cover of darkness Seneca Wallace turned into a vampire and sucked the life right out of Iowa. And there was much angry drinking afterwards.
Let's hope for a better result this time.
As far as the TV goes... FS1 is a new(ish) channel debuting on August 17. Essentially, FOX is taking the SPEED Channel and rebranding it as a 24/7 all-sports channel in their latest bid to compete with ESPN. If you already get the SPEED Channel, you'll get FS1 -- the only change you'll notice is a new name on your program guide. You might already get the SPEED Channel even if you don't realize it; FOX's press release notes that SPEED/FS1 is available in 90 million homes. If you don't get it... well, you've got three months to harass your cable/satellite provider to add it or scout out your favorite local sports bar. And, hey, it could be worse -- it could be available only on Cyclone.TV or something.
Also, if the game ends in a tie, maybe we can lobby for it to be settled with a winner-take-all drag race between Kirk Ferentz and Paul Rhoads. It would beat the slow torture of losing in triple overtime.