It's old news now, but report came yesterday from Orangebloods.com that Nebraska and Colorado have reached agreements with the Big 12 in order to leave the conference after this season. Nebraska will forfiet/pay $9 million and Colorado will forfiet/pay just over $6 million in order to make it happen. It originally was supposed to be somewhere in the $30+ million range, but avoiding going to court and all of that, I can see why these deals were reached. On top of that, the Big 12 doesn't have that awkward kind of year where Nebraska is gone, but Colorado is still there, with one side wishing they were in the Pac 10, and the other wishing they were gone.
So what that means for Iowa State and the rest of the conference, is they move to 9 conference games in 2011, where they play each team one time. Also according to Orangebloods.com, school officials have seen 4 proposed conference schedules, and a vote took place to determine what the schedule will be. The results of that are going to be made public next time the group meets on September 28th and 29th.
I think the big thing most Iowa State fans are concerned about is how the Iowa (assuming it continues), Texas, and Oklahoma games are handeled. Will there be a year, where all of these will be home games, and another year where all of these are road games? On top of that, will Iowa State continue playing Oklahoma and Texas games back-to-back as well?
I think it's a legit point. First, a year where Iowa State has Iowa, Texas, and OU all at home have to be awesome for ticket sales in that particular year... But what happens in the "other" year when you're conference home games lack a marquee interest? Also, does Iowa State have any chance of getting to a .500 record or better in a season where they have to play at Kinnick, in Norman, and in Austin? It's only happened once.
As a fan, I'd like to see Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma split in someway where it means we play at least one of these teams at home in a given year. Even if it means we have to play at one of Iowa, Texas, or Oklahoma again next year to sync up correctly. If I'm getting season tickets in football, I want to be able to watch some of the good teams. Even though I do not like to see Iowa State lose, I do appreciate the talent and skills of those who are the best in the game, and enjoy watching those guys as well.
The way I look at all of this with the conference, and schedule is Iowa State needs to man up. Yes, it's hard playing Texas and Oklahoma every year, but so what? If you don't want to play those teams, then play in CUSA. Channeling Dan Hawkins here, but it ain't intramurals brother. There's no shortcuts. If you want to be good, you have to be able to compete with good teams. You have to go down to Austin and Norman, beat those teams, and try to continue recruiting that area if you want to be good. If you lose every year, then you're just destined to suck. But if you avoid them as well, you're destined to suck anyways, so what's the difference?
Iowa State is going to get more money than it has before, and it will need to use those new resources to continue to build. 5-6 years is enough time to get football turned around (if it is ever going to happen), and it's almost an enternity with basketball. If things do not get turned around, we're going to be sitting in 2016, with coaches and the AD out the door, and quite possibly being relegated to a non-BCS conference. And honestly, if that happens, it's well deserved.
With additional revenue coming in the next couple of years, along with hopefulyl winning more, Iowa State will have an athletic department budget somewhere near the Oregon State and Georgia Tech range right now. Which shows that things can be done while operating at that level.
No excuses. It's time for Iowa State to get things turned around.