12th Game Great For Colleges; What About Fans?

The NCAA gave the green light to a permanent 12 game college football season on Thursday. HN.com's Jon Miller weighs in with his thoughts on that decision, and doesn't neccesarily believe that its a great thing for college football fans, while admitting that high-major conference athletic departments will certainly be pleased with the decision...

Friday, April 29th, 2005

The NCAA approved a permanent 12th game for the college football season on Thursday, a move that was hardly a shocker.

That extra game will give high major conference teams, like Iowa, an extra home game in most years, which translates into millions of dollars of extra revenue from said home game. I think that is a good thing, especially for schools like Iowa and Iowa State that do not have the mega alumni bases that exist at other programs in their respective conferences.

The NCAA also decided to allow one game per year against D1-AA competition to count towards bowl qualification. I don't think that is a great thing for fans of college football, but it is a good thing for teams like UNI, as they will be in line for annual paydays should they choose to accept that ‘blood money'. I call it that because they will get their heads pounded in, in exchange for a nice check to come to Iowa City, Ames, Minneapolis or Madison on a regular basis.

The reason that I don't like this ruling is that it practically guarantees that 12th game is going to be a watered down contest against a D1-AA team in most years. We will NOT see great intersectional contests filling those slots, because of the risk of losing such a game and losing ground in the lucrative BCS standings as well as those type of matchups are typically home and home situations, where you will be on the road every other year. That takes away from the number of home games you will play, thus taking away the cash cow that we have already talked about from said home game.

Hey, maybe I will be wrong and Iowa will look to schedule intersectional games like the attempted four game series against the Missouri Chickens and the eventual team that replaced Mizzou; Syracuse. But those are home and home series, as is Iowa's annual battle against Iowa State.

So you can darn near guarantee that the other two games will be against inferior D1 programs or D1-AA programs. Iowa hosts UNI and Ball State this coming season. UNI was a late addition in place of the Chickens from Missouri.

Perhaps Iowa will not go that route and will look to schedule strategic recruiting games. What I mean by that is trying to hook up with a Syracuse or a Rutgers to capitalize on the Northeast recruiting efforts that Iowa does, or take on a TCU or a Baylor to dip their beaks in to Texas. I doubt Iowa will look to schedule teams from the Pacific time zone, as that throws off their preparation more than Kirk Ferentz likes to see. See last year's Arizona State game and its 10pm central time kickoff for an illustration.

You will not see teams like Iowa playing any less than seven home games per year, and you will see most high major teams play at least eight home games per year, and perhaps as many as nine or ten.

The opportunity to play at least one if not more home games per year than you have ever played in your school's history will be too tempting to pass up. Wait, not tempting, it will just be impossible for an Iowa to forego that revenue opportunity, especially at a time when the football program is producing more revenue than it ever has.

Football is king on college campuses. Most of the sports that exist, outside of Men's basketball, owe their existence to the revenues generate by the football program. That is certainly the case at Iowa, though wrestling has probably been in the black more often than not over the course of the last 25 years.

What do you think? Is a 12th game and the trappings that go along with it a good thing? We would love to read your opinions. Click on the link below to go to the post regarding this subject on HawkeyeNation.com's Football Forum and sound off:


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