Tickets for the Iowa State, Ohio State and Purdue games are gone, and ticket sales for the Wisconsin game have been suspended. That leaves the September 2nd game against Montana, the October 28th game against Northern Illinois and the November 4th game against Northwestern as the only contests with tickets remaining. All games are expected to be sellouts, which would run Iowa's consecutive sellout string to 24.
The NIU game has been designated for the ‘Blackout' game this year, where fans are encouraged to wear all black to the game, as they did last year against Michigan.
The reason this game was selected to be the blackout game is because Kirk Ferentz felt that it was the lone game without anything attached to it; Purdue is homecoming, Montana is the season opener, Wisconsin is senior day, etc.
They had originally given some consideration for the Ohio State game, but felt since that was a night game, there was not extra incentive needed….
But they have changed their minds.
That game is going to be a ‘Be Bold, Wear Gold' contest, where fans are going to be encouraged to deck out in gold colors.
I am a fan of this concept, as I think gold shows up far better on television than does black. The entire nation will have a chance to watch Iowa-Ohio State on September 30th, either on ABC or ESPN, depending on where the game is placed. It's also a 7pm start, making it just the second true night time kickoff in school history.
The Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon takes place on August 1st and 2nd in Chicago. This is the day that I really begin to realize that the college football season is upon us. So we are just 13 days away from that event and 46 days away from kickoff against Montana on September 2nd.
Here are some likely headlines and questions that will come out of the Big Ten event:
IOWA: Expect plenty of questions regarding Kirk Ferentz's salary and Drew Tate's Harley Davidson. Tate will really tire of that question before Iowa's media day is finished.
PURDUE: Joe Tiller will be asked about his changing of his handling of his players after a few bad eggs spoiled the broth before the season even began last year, and before the Boilermakers were one of the biggest disappointments in recent memory.
MICHIGAN: Someone is going to ask Lloyd Carr as to whether or not he feels any heat or pressure at Michigan, and that someone will get their head handed back to them afterwards.
OHIO STATE: How can the Buckeyes replaced nine defensive starters and be a realistic national title contender?
WISCONSIN: The post-Barry Alvarez era begins with Bret Bielema taking over the reigns. Is he too young for the job? His ascension up the college coaching ranks to have a gig like Wisconsin is remarkable. Then again, he was an assistant for Hayden Fry, Bill Snyder and Alvarez; he had some good teachers.
MINNESOTA: Will one of the most overpaid coaches in the game (Glen Mason) be able to get his team to its annual middle of the pack finish without a deep stable of running backs and an offensive line that loses a lot of beef?
MICHIGAN STATE: Will one of the most overpaid coaches in the game (John L. Smith) be able to get his team above its annual middle of the pack finish with its annual talent that is much better than a middle of the pack finish? The heat is on Smith, as well. That should yield some interesting answers.
PENN STATE: Should Joe Paterno have gone out on top after last season? I will not be the one asking that question.
ILLINOIS: What is Ron Zook bench pressing these days?