fbpx Schwartz: College Football’s One Constant? Change | HawkeyeNation

Schwartz: College Football’s One Constant? Change

September 5, 2019

Written by David Schwartz

Hawkeye Nation

It feels a little weird, doesn’t it? We’re heading into Week 2 of Iowa’s football season and the Hawkeyes are preparing for Big Ten opponent Rutgers, not Iowa State.

It’s also hard to determine what’s stranger: Rutgers in the Big Ten, or Iowa using a Big Ten game to warm up for ISU instead of the other way around.

Or touchbacks on kickoffs going to the 25-yard line.

Or the deep empathy fans now feel when a player gets his bell rung, aka, when his brain crashes against the inside of his skull. Imagine a whole peeled orange being hurled against a concrete wall.

Or college games that now routinely go north of 3½ hours so that the networks can squeeze in just one more commercial. And then just one more. And one more. And one more.

Or television contracts so lucrative that if some conferences decide to play their games inside empty stadiums, without a single fan paying for a ticket, they’ll still turn a profit.

As the Hawkeyes prepare to attempt to improve to 2-0 this Saturday, as they try to focus on the Scarlet Knights right in front of them instead of the Cyclones approaching in the distance, we’re reminded that the only constant in college football is change.

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

Whether it’s the recent changes listed above or those from decades ago, every era of college football reveals its uniqueness by what it leaves behind. New media opportunities in the 1960s and 1970s delivered West Coast football to the rest of the country, threatening the long-held dominance of the East Coast and the South. Rising ticket prices – as high as $10 a game – spurred fans to revolt against the game’s perceived professionalization and re-embrace tenets of alleged amateurism.

In the 1980s and 1990s, CBS, ABC, and ESPN saw college football as a barely tapped resource, poured millions into the product, and made hundreds of millions as their reward. One of the programs they promoted, Miami, a team so destitute the university considered dropping it down to Division II, broke every unwritten rule in the book. They taunted. They celebrated without remorse. They ran up the score on good ‘ol Notre Dame. And from 1983-2001, they won five national championships.

Continue reading below

So here we are as Hawkeye fans and college football fans in this weird place – this weird, constant place. On Saturday, the Hawkeyes will play Rutgers, one of 14 teams in the Big Ten, in Iowa’s earliest conference game since it opened the regular season against Indiana in 1980, in a stadium with upgraded food and video departments because it’s the only way to get people out of their homes and away from their awesome TVs and into Kinnick Stadium.

Never mind that Rutgers probably shouldn’t have a Big Ten football team in the first place; their 7-36 conference record through five seasons suggests they lack the infrastructure to compete. Never mind, too, that out of the 210 minutes the Hawkeyes and Knights are on the field there will be 11 minutes of action and nearly six times that amount in commercials shown.

This is college football in 2019. One can only imagine what it will look like in 2049. No kickoffs. Elaborate patriotic ceremonies before and during the game. Virtual-reality viewing that puts fans at home not only “in” the stadium, but on the field.

Continue reading below

One could say that we’re in a fluid period for college football, but that would be wrong. College football has always been fluid, like when Theodore Roosevelt threatened more than 100 years ago to ban the sport if it didn’t find a way to get safer, or when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1984 that the NCAA didn’t have full control over the negotiation of television contracts.

College football is a sport of change as much as it’s a sport of tradition. Nowhere will that be more apparent than Kinnick Stadium this Saturday.

* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.

Trending in Forums View All >

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye Nation

The Opening Tip: No. 4 Michigan Awaits Hawkeyes in Ann Arbor

Rob Howe

December 5, 2019

Iowa hunting for upset in Big Ten opener.

Hawkeye Nation

HN TV: Iowa Basketball Player Interviews 12-5

Rob Howe

December 5, 2019

Luka Garza, Connor McCaffery, Joe Wieskamp and CJ Fredrick meet with media.

Hawkeye Nation

Video & Transcript: Fran McCaffery Press Conference 12-5

Rob Howe

December 5, 2019

Iowa coach meets with media on Thursday for injury updates, Michigan preview.

Hawkeye Nation

Schwartz: This And That – To Cheer, Or Not To Cheer

David Schwartz

December 5, 2019

Can you root Iowa’s rivals?

Hawkeye Nation

Howe: Iowa Football ’20 Position-By-Position Outlook 1.0

Rob Howe

December 4, 2019

An early look at next season’s Hawkeyes.

Hawkeye Nation

Tristan Wirfs Tabbed B1G Offensive Lineman of the Year

Athletic Communications

December 4, 2019

Mount Vernon product tops in the conference.

Hawkeye Nation

Iowa Basketball Squeezes Orange in ACC-B1G Challenge

Rob Howe

December 3, 2019

Hawkeyes cruise to victory at Syracuse.

Hawkeye Nation

Duncan B1G Kicker of Year, Epenesa 1st-Team All-Conference

Athletic Communications

December 3, 2019

Hawkeye honored by league on Tuesday.

TOP