Derek Johnson Muses

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Why Iowa Fans Should Sell Their Tickets to Nebraska Fans & a Note on Huskers-Southern Miss in KC

Will Herbie find room at Kinnick on Black Friday?

In writing what I will now, I know there will be many Hawkeye fans from the Quad Cities to Council Bluffs (and a couple that I passed in the western Illinois marsh fields last September) who won’t take it seriously because of my fan loyalties. But I’m going to make a proposal to all of you, Hawkeye fans because right now, things aren’t exactly going well for you. You have a coach who isn’t doing, and when he makes a bad decision and losses in passive fashion, you say, “That’s Ferentz.”

For the record, I don’t think that Iowa should fire Kirk Ferentz, and they can’t anyway because of his contract. Ferentz had a slew of injuries to contend with this year and, for the first time in his tenure at Iowa, had to replace a number of assistant coaches, including both coordinators who had been with him since his first year. But Iowa fans have grown weary of paying a lot for a little, and I’d like to suggest a way you can send a message.

Sell your tickets to Nebraska fans. If you don’t, don’t show up at the game. When we’re chanting “Go Big Red!!!” in the fourth quarter, they’ll have to fire Ferentz before he walks off the field. I know what you’re saying: I’m trying to help my own team out, but what’s really best for Nebraska is if Kirk Ferentz remains at Iowa for the next six years and wins six or seven games every year. It’s no good if Ferentz gets fired and Iowa hires a motivated young coach who red letters the Nebraska game.

Right now, the only way Iowa eats $25 million they’d owe a fired Ferentz is if there’s outright hostility from Iowa fans. Eleven years earlier, Husker fans sold out Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, leading to the firing of Terry Allen and paving the way for Mark Mangino to take over the Jayhawks. It happened to former Miami coach Randy Shannon when half the fans who showed up to his final game where cheering for South Florida. The quickest way to get your coach fired in any sport is to have opposing fans fill your stadium. Hence, the reason Mark Dantonio called out Michigan State fans before Nebraska came to East Lansing earlier this year.

I know this sounds crazy, and that, for some of you, doing this amounts to treason. I don’t blame you if you don’t. You don’t want to turn into Minnesota, who built a smaller stadium to keep you and Badger fans out. But Colin Cowherd talks about this a lot: true fans don’t go to games when their team is bad. True fans bail on their teams the first time they start to falter, forcing the team to make moves. If the last image of the 2012 Iowa football team is 30,000 Nebraska fans cheering their team in a half-empty stadium with time winding down in a Nebraska blowout, the winds will shift on Ferentz with the old Iowa power-brokers who’ve enabled him for so long.

(Thoughts on the game itself)

Another Big Red Migration here?

-It occurred to me the other when I heard the news that Southern Miss was now considering playing their home game against Nebraska at Arrowhead in Kansas City: it’s too good to be true. Southern Miss has been a good program for over twenty years. Playing the game in New Orleans would be one thing; it would still be a home game, even with 20,000-30,000 Nebraska fans. But to turn a road-home-road three game series into three road trips to Husker country, that’s just not consist with the behavior of mid-majors.

As early as 2009, I remembered the commissioner of the Sun Belt conference chiding his members for taking too many body-bag games (this was a year where Nebraska played three opponents from that conference). Whether it’s Oklahoma State playing at Louisiana Layfayette, Wisconsin at UNLV, or Nebraska at Wyoming, there are too many big conference schools playing road games at mid-majors who don’t deserve such games. It is a stamp of pride for these schools; stand firm and don’t take more than one non-conference road trip a season. There’s only one reason USM would be willing to make a home game into a road game: money, the universal reason the college football universe keeps spinning.

If USM were negotiating with Dallas, Phoenix, or someplace else that had seen Husker crowds, USM would have an easier time getting the price they wanted. But New Orleans hasn’t seen Husker crowds. Kansas City has every reason to try and get the game; when Nebraska played Oklahoma State in 1998, hotels were booked up past the city limits. Every gas station and truck stop along I-29 from Omaha to KC will be kicking in 10% to get this game, and no doubt the Big 10 would like the pub in Kansas City. Overall, I don’t the game will be moved because New Orleans and the Superdome don’t get a lot of high profile college games, and Southern Miss still has an image to live up to. I just can’t believe they are that desperate.

But if this game gets moved, it’s a huge win for the big boys in college football.

(When Nebraska invaded Minnesota…)

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