Apathy in Iowa?

HI.com Publisher
Posted Aug 8, 2012


Are you feeling your usual excited self in anticipation of Hawkeye football? I'm not.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - Iowa football fans support their team like few others in the country. They boast a reputation for it. This is especially important during bowl season when a town is looking to cash in on pasty white Hawkeyes.

Perhaps that's why things seem so quiet right now in Hawkeye Nation. There's normally a higher excitement level at this time of year.

Maybe apathy is too strong a word. We're not there yet. There certainly appears to be some lethargy, however.

The current sports landscape contributes to the blah feeling for some. Social media, message boards and talking heads help create a craving for a high level of success, forever, for every school in the country.

Iowa fans would have given appendages for a winning season for much of the 1960s and '70s. Now, it's become Ho-Hum for some college football followers.

It's a $2 billion industry and picking up steam as it heads to a playoff system. Fans spend big money on the sport and the schools compete in an arms race for top facilities. It also helps to push coaches salaries to, some would say, obscene heights.

Hawkeye Head Coach Kirk Ferentz will earn approximately $4M this season. His contract runs to 2020. That's a lot of dough anywhere.

These coaching paychecks lift the expectations for at least a portion of the fan base, however. Other people temper their hopes of a great season because their school isn't getting national preseason attention.

The lack of usual excitement also could be attributed to attention the Iowa basketball team is drawing. It has been a while since there's been this much anticipation for hoops around here.

Part of it also could be Ferentz. He set the bar pretty high during his '02-04 run when the Hawkeyes finished No. 8 in the country three years in a row. Some fans could be spoiled.

Of course, I could be off of my rocker. I do work from home and some days have little contact with the world outside of watching of SpongeBob with my kids . Maybe they're dancing in the streets of Iowa City (for football, not the Hippies described by Rick Stanzi.

At least the Iowa athletic department doesn't have to worry about ticket sales. The Hawkeyes are just about sold out for '12. That speaks a lot louder than some goofball like me not feeling the love.

Home football Saturdays rock Iowa City seven times a year. A real production drop-off would have to occur for that to change, which seems unlikely with Ferentz's track record. Donations still are flowing in as evidenced by the school's new football practice facility, which is only through Phase I.

The Iowa football program is sound. It's a collaboration of a steady coach and passionate fans.

Still, it's not your typical building up to kickoff during early August in Iowa City. Perhaps it will be insane during November. That means more anyway.


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