--bumped from FanPosts
As I'm sure most of you have heard by now the ISU-KSU football games in 2009 and 2010 will be played in Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium. At first glance it seems to be a bit of a headscratcher. In the past these types of games have been reserved for high-profile out-of-conference matchups or traditional rivalry games. Both K-State and Iowa State have had memorable moments in Arrowhead Stadium.
For K-State shocking Oklahoma to win the 2003 Big 12 title clearly ranks at the top but they also played nonconference games against Cal and Iowa in an era when it was pretty unusual to see a visiting team without a couple of directions in front of their name. Iowa State used a furious comeback (officially it is only a near comeback but we all know Seneca was in) over a top ten Florida State team to launch a season that would eventually see them climb to 9th in the AP poll, their highest ranking ever.
Both teams drew well with an estimated 40,000 Cyclone fans attending the FSU game (with a total attendance of around 55K, I think) and K-State approaching or selling out three of their four games and drawing 50,000 against Cal. Will these teams be able to draw this well in '09 and probably more in question, '10? While the two teams are near consensus picks to finish in the bottom pair of the Big 12 North there is reason to be optimistic for fans of both schools. We're entering the second year of the Chizik era and there is still a very positive feeling among fans about the direction of the program. More questions surround Ron Prince but they should have a very experienced team next year led by senior Josh Freeman.
If the game is held early in October as it is scheduled now both teams could have good records coming out of their nonconference schedule but I think the effect of that will be minimal for K-State fans and even less so for ISU fans, many of whom would have to travel a further distance. It will be all about how fans feel about the team entering the season.
The success of the first two years will go a long way in determining if this becomes a more permanent fixture on the schedule. Jamie Pollard was quoted in the Rag as saying “We really think we can grow this into something exciting for the long term.” That sort of surprised me as it seems that for this to have a long-term future there needs to be more at stake than "hey, we're playing a game in KC." ISU and KSU are both kind of odd men out when it comes to rivals within the conference. We play for a trophy against Mizzou but it doesn't usually get the blood boiling for either side. KSU certainly has a lot of passion for the KU game but the Jayhawks save most of their venom for Mizzou. There was a budding rivalry between K-State and Nebraska during the 90's and first half of this decade because the games meant something which is the only way that this game will evolve into any sort of rivalry. Will both teams have what it takes to become contenders in the North? It will be tough but not impossible.
Finally there's the financial aspect of the whole thing which is, honestly, the only reason this is happening at all. According the Rag the teams are guaranteed a total of $1.8 million over 2 years and 40% of the gate receipts. I'm a little skeptical of that last number because I'm not sure where exactly the Chiefs are getting the rest of that money for the payout. Maybe they mean 40% split between the schools? Make no mistake about it, these games are huge money makers for the Chiefs which is why they have been so aggressive about getting everything from Pitt State-Northwest Missouri to KU-MU. As a Chiefs fan who is ready for the Carl Peterson era to end any moment now it's a little offputting to see him up there gloating about this game and acting like he personally saved these two teams but, that's just me.
According to what I heard on the radio KU and MU each received about $1.5 million after TV bonuses and their guarantees of $1 mill/year. KU claims they would have only make about $700,000 with the one home game and $0 for the away game so I'm guessing ISU would have similar numbers. ISU is already financially outgunned in this conference so any little bit of revenue that helps us continue to upgrade JTS is absolutely necessary.
Overall I think it's going to end up being a net positive for the two schools but whether it continues to be a positive is yet to be determined. I'm fairly optimistic that these two fan bases can come close to filling it both years but if the teams continue to tank I can also see it turning into a joke.
Having tailgated multiple times in Manhattan and in Ames I know that both schools absolutely know how to do it right. It's going to be a great scene to look across the smoky parking lot over a sea of Cardinal and Gold and Purple and White. The buses, the RVs, the flags, the smell of the BBQ, the taste of the beer. THAT's definitely going to be fun.