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You Pick Three: Iowa Football Edition!

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Which three Iowa football home games would you want to go to this year?

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Arkansas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

You may have heard a while ago that the Iowa ticket office is offering three-game mini-packs to Iowa football home games this year.

The 2017 season offers a pretty decent home slate for Iowa, and the ticket office is obviously making you use some game theory in selecting your package (which run $185 a pop).

The options are as follows:

Select ONE between Penn State (Sept. 23) and Ohio State (Nov. 4).

Select ONE between Minnesota (Oct. 28) and Illinois (Oct. 7).

Select ONE between Wyoming (Sept. 2) and North Texas (Sept. 16) and Purdue (Nov. 18).

In general, the only real tough decision is between seeing Penn State and Ohio State. Others will have reasons to go with Minnesota or Illinois, with the third tier being another toss up between whether or not you want to go to the first game of the year (Wyoming) or freeze your ass off to see OMHR.

What would I pick? I’m glad you asked! I’m going with Ohio State, Minnesota and Wyoming. Why? I’m glad you asked that, too.

I’ve seen Ohio State play in person twice. Once was at the shoe, when Iowa played the Buckeyes real close back in 2013. The other was last year when the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in OT at Camp Randall. Those were two of the best football games I’ve seen in person, and I’d like to try and strike gold thrice.

As a Minnesotan, the choice between seeing the Gilded Rodents or Illini lose in person is a no-brainer.

And finally, I’m taking Wyoming. It’s the first game of the year and Wyoming is actually decent. I know nothing of North Texas, and I would actually pay to NOT see Purdue in mid-November.

Some other staffers picked their games, too. You can read those, or just skip over their bad takes and let us know what you would pick (or are picking) in the comments.

Hello Jerry: If I were no longer living (and sweating) in Mickey Mouse’s swamp and were instead laying down some roots in the friendly confines that is the state of Iowa, I would jump all over this deal. Hell, if I was still in Illinois, I’d probably STILL hand over 185 dolla dolla bills to the Iowa Athletic Department for three of these home games. I’m just shocked that they came up with something like this. It’s so…. out of the box for them. I guess this is what happens when you go millennial and put a logo in the middle of the field. The sheer fact that Iowa fans now have an option to purchase a package that allows them to just enjoy their tailgate for the few hours before the North Texas and Purdue game before scalping a $10 ticket right as kickoff is about to happen is amazing.

Now, as far as what games I would pick if I weren’t cursing the name of every tourist that infects this god forsaken city? There are some rules that I generally like to follow:

  1. Is it a rivalry game to me or my team?
  2. Who has the better QB?
  3. Who has better weapons around the QB?
  4. Is the offense fun to watch?
  5. Do they have an elite front seven?
  6. Would I enjoy gambling ON Iowa if gambling were legal?
  7. How’s the weather (I’m a Floridian now, for better or way, way worse)?

So, when it comes to picking between Ohio State and Penn State… I’m siding with the Nittany Lions. They put a check mark in every one of my rules above. Personally, I’ve loved watching Iowa (usually) kick the living tar out of Penn State ever since my first experience seeing it live in 2008… I think you remember that one, right?

On top of that, half of my soon-to-be wife’s family members have gone, are going to, or support that wretched school (that means I have extra ammo in a family rivalry game with potential gambling attached to it) and I would much rather watch Trace McSorley try to fit passes into five Iowa defenders for an entire game when he’s not handing off to Saquon Barkley than watch J.T. Barrett run the Tebow Offense for what feels like the seventh consecutive year.

Oh, and don’t think I suddenly forgot about last year’s stomping in Beaver Stadium. Kirk Ferentz will want blood. I want blood. We all want blood.

Next up, I’m taking the homecoming tickets against Illinois. As some of you know from previous posts, as the only kid from Illinois that didn’t dive head first into “Dee Brown/Deron Williams/Juice Williams” mania, I don’t very much enjoy the University of Illinois. I also have a past relationship with Lovie Smith that was, well, rocky at best. Throw in those two very personal and very real rivalries on top of it being Homecoming, and well, I’ll enjoy taking care of business against my home state’s Big Ten team.

Note: I realize this is a very poor pick. But that’s how much I hate Illinois and would want to watch them suffer in person. Plus, I don’t think I could handle the week leading up to PJ Fleck’s first trip to Kinnick with our pig on the line. It would probably lead me down a very rough path the night before in the Ped Mall.

And finally, give me those Wyoming tickets. Give me all of ‘em if for no other reason than I’d rather watch Iowa face off against a potential number 1 draft pick in Josh Allen than whatever it is that Purdue calls their brand of football and Gary Barta’s throwaway game against North Texas.

BoilerHawk: For the down season I’m expecting, my first priority is seeing a win, being at a rivalry game, and staying comfortable since, like Hello Jerry, my bones have been softened by the Carolina and Texas heat. So, I’ll keep it short and sweet with: North Texas (only game I can’t see Iowa losing), Penn State (September over November), and … Minnesota (TOW THE BOAT).

J.P. Scott: My first inclination was to jump for the Wyoming game just so I could see Josh Allen, a potential first round draft pick in 2018. But then I got thinking about it, and I think I’d like to see the North Texas game. It’s far and away the easiest game on the schedule on paper, and there isn’t much that sucks worse than being in huge stadium when the home team loses. I think Iowa beats Wyoming, but I wouldn’t guarantee it. I’ll take the guaranteed win.

For the second game, I want Minnesota. P.J. Fleck -- love him or hate him -- has the look of the next Urban Meyer. It would be cool to see him in his first season at a Power 5 program.

Finally, I’ll take Penn State. At this point, I’m a little tired of Ohio State. I like that Penn State seems to be back. I like what Franklin has done there despite spending some time on the hot seat, and I’d like to get a look at the best running back in the nation -- Saquon Barkely -- in person.

JPinIC: First and foremost, in thankful I'm not in the position to actually make this call and likely never will be. When I transferred to Iowa back in the fall of 2007, the first order of business was ordering my student tickets. This year marks a decade with season tickets and as I've gotten older, my tailgate skills may have fallen off some (ok, a lot) but my seats have gotten better and my desire to actually watch, and remember, the game has steadily increased. Now that I've got a pair of sons, the plan is to continue with those season tickets so they can join me as soon as they're able to last longer than 5 minutes without a bathroom break or a hot dog request, and keep going until they have seats of their own. So 3-game packages are all hypothetical fun here, and thank goodness. There are some tough calls to make.

If you're in this position, it all comes down to what you're looking for. In my hypothetical situation, I'm looking for good games, wins and witnessing talent. In that order.

So for the group of less-talented opponents, my gut reaction (aside from laughing at Purdue for being listed alongside Wyoming and North Texas) was to go with Purdue. They are, after all, our most hated rival. And they’re a Big Ten team with a really good shot at witnessing an Iowa win. But, as has already been pointed out, Wyoming has this kid slinging footballs around who apparently will be really highly sought after in the upcoming NFL Draft. So I think in that grouping I’m going Wyoming to get an opportunity to watch Josh Allen in person. Added bonus: it’s the first game of the year, which is always a good game to get to in terms of basically everything being unknown. Things could go great or terrible the rest of the year, we just don’t know and it’s fun to be there to get a barometer. So I’ll take Wyoming over both North Texas and Purdue. Ugh, come on Purdue.

In that next tier, choosing between Illinois and Minnesota, I think it really comes down to who you grew up hating (or loving if you’re one of those Chicago suburbanites) more. I can’t say I definitively hated Minnesota as a child, but I dislike them more than Illinois. I think that just comes down to the inevitability that is Illinois football (and, in most cases, basketball): tons of talent, loads of potential, and underachievement. I’m growing to really dislike PJ Fleck. He reminds me of the worst of used car salesmen I’ve ever run into (no offense to our car salesmen readers, I’m clearly talking about the bad guys and not you) and with all the run-ins we’ve already seen on the recruiting trail, I want to see that contest in person. Gimme Minnesota over Illinois.

And finally, we get the premier choice of the lot. On the one hand, I’m a fan of witnessing greatness. I don’t know for sure, but I think we could see that with OSU. But on the other hand, I like walking into Kinnick feeling like we stand a chance. Now, I’ll grant you that not many felt that way with Michigan last year and those of us who missed it (get off my back, it was a wedding and not a choice I was in a position to make) will live with that the rest of our lives. So maybe I should be all in on OSU (hey, thank God I have season tickets, amirite?), but I’m going with Penn State here. I want to see the showdown of Saquon Barkley and Akrum Wadley. Seriously, if Iowa puts together any semblance of a passing game, Wadley could be right beside Barkley in the Heisman discussions toward the end of the year, and this game could do a lot to help his case. PSU brought the wood last year, so maybe this will be a terrible pick, but it’s the one I’m (hypothetically) making and I’ll (not have to) live with it.

Like I said, good luck to those of you in the tough spot of making this call.

mattcabel: None. I refuse to spend money on Iowa Football tickets. Football is best viewed from the couch, where I can switch to other games. Also, Gary Barta doesn’t deserve my hard-earned dollars.