Talk About Your All-Time Backfires. When Iowa last went to Jack Trice in 2007, Jamie Pollard drew the ire of Hawkeye fans by pricing the UI's allotment of 4000 tickets at $90 each and making the rest available only with a season ticket package. In the process, he made a ticket to Iowa-ISU the second-highest single-game ticket in the country (behind only the Red River Shootout). When asked about the fact that 65% of the state wanted to kill him, Pollard said, "I don't work for Iowa fans." The Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Murphy wanted 175 tickets; Pollard told him he had 175 season tickets available (always a smart thing to do to the guy who can slash your employer's funding with the flick of a pen).
While it may be true that Pollard doesn't work for Iowa fans, he's clearly not working for ISU players or fans, either. Demanding road fans buy a season ticket to get in the door only guarantees your stadium sits 20% empty through the rest of the season; nobody is buying a ticket to see that team for more than face value, after all. A partially-empty stadium for 6 of 7 weeks won't help recruiting, but it brings in the money, and that's all Pollard has been about. It doesn't matter if it screws fans of either team (and when you're forced to buy season tickets at face value for a team that never sells out, it's screwing Iowa State fans as well); at the end of the day, the Iowa-ISU game is Pollard's annual money grab (well, at least for the next 3 years).
Which is why this is so Schadenfreudy:
The Iowa State-Iowa football rivalry has gone from being one of the most expensive tickets in the nation two seasons ago to a "mini-pack."
Plop down $99, and you not only can sit in Jack Trice Stadium for the Sept. 12 Big Game, but you can get into Iowa State home games against North Dakota State on Sept. 3 and Nov. 14 against Colorado as well.
"It's a different economy right now," Cyclone associate athletic director Steve Malchow said Friday.
It's so different that Iowa returned 1,200 from its allotment of 4,000 tickets for a game that attracted an announced crowd of 70,585 last season at Kinnick Stadium.
This is, quite simply, the inevitable backlash against price gouging. Essentially, Pollard has been forced to sell tickets to North Dakota State and Colorado for $3.50 apiece because he drastically overestimated the demand for tickets to see Iowa play a third-rate team in a glorified high school stadium. As the article notes, Iowa had no trouble putting 70,500 butts in seats last season - in a rainstorm, no less - by just being reasonable with its prices. Pollard, on the other hand, is forced to go cap-in-hand to his fans and beg for more cash. You tell me which athletics department has better leadership.
This is One Soft-Focus Lens From a Barbara Walters Special. A lot of Iowa-related fluff hit the interwebs this weekend. For starters, Jeff Brinson is ready to rumble:
After sitting out last season, former Northeast standout Jeff Brinson has rocketed up the depth chart at Iowa, so much that he could be the Hawkeyes' starting running back for their season opener against Northern Iowa on Sept. 5.
Brinson headed into this season as the No. 2 back behind Jules Hampton. But Hampton sustained a knee injury in non-contact drills two weeks ago. Hampton will not surgery, but will most likely miss time recovering before the season opener.
"I know I’m definitely going to get a chance to see some playing time," Brinson said.
Brinson is the reason why I wasn't getting my Chicken Little on during the on-again, off-again Jewel Hampton ACL tear (as opposed to PAKIBOMB, the thought of which sends me into convulsions); we've heard more speculation about his ability than perhaps any other member of that recruiting class. He will no doubt have some opportunities; Iowa will put the running game on the back of a workhorse when it's available, but Hampton's lingering injuries and lack of size make that highly unlikely this season.
"It feels right," said McNutt of his new locale on the field. "At first, I was a little upset. Then I thought about it. It's not like the coaches want me to totally give up on being a quarterback. They talked to me and said they want to use my athletic ability on the field right now. After hearing that, that's when I decided I'm a competitor and I want to help the team anyway I can."
Pukala [McNutt's high school coach] thinks he will help Iowa a lot. The former Central coach said McNutt has all the tools to be a first-rate receiver. Topping that list of tools is superb speed.
"He was always a 4.5 (in the 40-yard dash) guy when he played in high school," said Pukala. "He can jump through the roof, too, and he's got huge hands. That's pretty much all you need, plus he's smart. We thought all along that it would be hard for him to get the starting quarterback position because he didn't have that much experience."
Iowa receivers coach Eric Campbell said McNutt has made a good impression at his new position.
"I'm excited about Marvin," he said. "He's a good athlete and a nice sized target at 6-4 or 6-5 and 200 (actually 215) pounds. He gives us something a lot of teams don't have. He also gives us depth.
"He's working hard," Campbell added. "I'm looking forward to seeing how he progresses. There's no question that he has potential. How far he progresses will depends on how hard he works."
If McNutt is really 6'5", 215 pounds, and running a 4.5 40, there is no question he should be playing receiver and competing for a starting spot. That, my friends, is the deep threat we hoped a healthy Trey Stross would be (not that Trey is actually injured right now, but let's accept the inevitability of that statement). Obviously, route running is a concern, and one year of high school as a receiver can't possibly teach you everything you need to know to play the position in the Big Ten, but the position change is making more sense with every passing day.
Bradley Fletcher signed a contract with the Rams over the weekend, hauling in $2.642M over 4 years, with $892k guaranteed.
- Anyone who has watched Illinois over the last 4 years knows it, and The Rivalry, Esq. has only confirmed it: Ron Zook is a horrible game coach.
- In trying to make the case that Iowa State upgraded at head coach, the DMR's Randy Peterson cites The Bleacher Report. It's the journalistic equivalent of writing a report on post-mortem decomposition and referencing Weekend at Bernie's 2.
- Tirico Suave, blowing our minds yet again.