Miller's Grab Bag

It's never a bad time to talk college football, or Iowa vs Iowa State football for that matter. The past seven days has presented opportunities to do just that, and in this grab bag offering, Jon Miller talks more about a subject that gains more and more momentum. He also takes a quick look at who might be a key player for Iowa's Wednesday night home game against Penn State.

A topic has been raging on sports talk radio in central Iowa for the past week that has to do with Iowa and Iowa State football.

First of all, it's never a bad time to talk football, and if you give me even a small reason to do it, I will find a way. College football is my favorite sport right about now, and people love chatting it up.

Last week, it was announced that Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard had made a decision to not sell single game tickets to the Iowa-Iowa State game this year. That game is scheduled for September 15th in Ames.

At that time, some Iowa fans were up in arms over the decision. I felt they were howling at the moon, and said so on the radio. ISU had not sold single game tickets to the Iowa game since 2001. Single game tickets since they had gone to ISU donors. Iowa fans had no chance at them from ISU's ticket office. What's the big deal? This affected ISU fans more than it did Iowa fans.

Pollard just wants to expand ISU's season ticket holder base, and with 30,700 season tickets sold last year, and more than 36,000 single game ticket requests to the Iowa game in 2005, the last time it was in Ames, that's 66,700 fans worth of demand for a stadium that seats roughly 55,000. You can't expand your season ticket base without limiting the number of single game tickets you will sell, something Pollard did.

However, I learned a few things regarding the Iowa-ISU game over the past five days. And when I learned on Tuesday that Iowa State would be charging Iowa fans $90 per ticket for ducats to this year's game, which sounds outrageous. Maybe it's just sticker shock.

The home team in this series is contractually obligated to provide the visitor with 4,000 tickets, and there are no contractual limits on the price of those tickets. So Iowa State is well within its contractual rights in doing what they are doing. That is not in question, and Jamie Pollard is leveraging one of his most valuable business assets, which is the Iowa home game he gets every other year.

But it's not just the $90 ticket price that has me really questioning some things…no, there is something much bigger than that. Something I am not ready to discuss right now, as there are a few more t's I need to cross. I will be talking about this on my radio show on Wednesday. It airs from 2-4 pm central on 1460 KXNO in Central Iowa, or on the web. I will also be on our message boards to talk about it at length after I get everything put together.

But let me just say this; as an Iowa fan, there are some questions that you are going to be asking, and I am curious as to why they haven't been asked before, considering there was a newspaper article in 2005 on the topic that I am going to discuss on Wednesday….stay tuned.

Iowa hosts Penn State on Wednesday, desperately needing a win. The Hawks haven't lost a Big Ten home game since the 2004-2005 season. Penn State is not a big team, something that has given Iowa fits this year. But they can definitely rebound. A pair of 6-5 players, Jamelle Cornley and Geary Claxton are averaging more than seven rebounds per game, and Penn State plays zone defense most of the time. Rebounding out of zone defense is not as easy as it is when you play man to man; it takes a lot of work and discipline.

This is a game that I have been thinking of for a long time with regards to Iowa using multiple guards on the floor, due to Penn State's smallish size. I have been wanting to see more and more of Justin Johnson, and I think we will see him in this game. A lineup of Adam Haluska, Mike Henderson, Johnson and Tyler Smith might be something we see a lot o on Wednesday.

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