Miller: What's a Versus Network?

The Iowa-Iowa State game is a nice little intrastate rival around these parts. We are all pretty proud of its intensity, and we believe that the rest of the college football nation should take notice of what we have going on here. That's going to be a little hard to due when the game is on a network called Versus. Jon Miller talks about that, plus the recent football departures...

Well, we knew that someone was going to televise the Iowa-Iowa State football game this year.


Last year, the game was on the ESPN family of networks.  The year before, half of the nation saw the contest.  The year before that, again, ESPN.  The years before that, I believe that the game was also on Fox and TBS perhaps.


You know about those networks.


This year's game?




No, not Iowa Versus Iowa State.  Or yeah, that is the game.  I know.


The TV network carrying the game is something called Versus.


Haven't heard about it?  Well, that isn't surprising, since the NHL plays its games on that network, and game three of this year's Stanley Cup finals drew a 1.1 rating on NBC, in primetime, the worst primetime rating in the history of that network.  In fact, snowboarding had a 1.3 rating on NBC in 2002.


Iowa-Iowa State.  On Versus.  12:30, September 15th. 


I think that channel is somewhere in the 50's on my Mediacom Cable lineup, but I am not sure.  I honestly haven't had any reason over the course of the existence of Versus to tune into the station.  Unless they were the ones that had the Tour de France last year, then I might have tuned in.  But that could have been OLN, so I am not really sure.


You can visit them at and see for yourself.


I did, and their sports pages proudly promoted coverage of The America's Cup.  That is a boat race, in case you didn't know or had forgotten about Dennis Connor. 


They are also the proud home of the 2007 cycling season, says so right on the website.  They also air something called the IRB and it has something to do with rugby. 


The station carries ‘field sports', such as fishing.  They also are big into televised bull riding.


Really, it sounds like Versus is in 2007 was ESPN was in like 1979 when it launched.  The difference being, in 1979, you watched the Stihl Woodcutting Olypics and Aussie rules football on ESPN because, well, it was on cable TV, and cable was new, and it was sports. 


But the novelty has worn off a bit on that.  Then again, looking at what ESPN has become these days, outside of the college football season, maybe Versus is onto something.


I guess it could all come down to this;  the home team controls the television situation.  Rather, the television arrangement of the home team's conference dictates where the game will air.  So since we are talking about the Big 12, who is drastically trying to catch up with the times when it comes to getting their games on TV, this shouldn't come as a big surprise, should it?


In the end, Jamie Pollard might be the biggest thing to ever hit Versus.  Well, either Pollard or Floyd Landis.


In another football related topic, Iowa issued a press release on Wednesday announcing that running back Shonn Greene and cornerback Amari Spievey  were no longer with the football team. 


The plan had been to redshirt Greene this season, which would have given him two years to be a starter at Iowa.  Greene has a combination of power and speed that had Iowa fans salivating from the moment he burst onto the scene.  Seriously, he literally burst onto the scene on special teams.


But that plan appears interrupted now.  There is a chance that Greene could come back to Iowa, with regards to eligibility.  If he goes the Juco route and wants to come back, he would still have one more year of eligibility remaining, because you get five years to play four.  If he needs to get his academics in order, he could always go to a Juco and not play, and then come back, which would keep those two years of eligibility.


But as we know, once players leave a program, it's rare that they make it back. Greene is a talented football player, and he had a bright future at Iowa.


Iowa landed just one running back in last year's recruiting class, in Jevon Pugh.  He will come to campus this summer and be an injury away from the depth chart, as Dana Brown will be the only other non-senior scholarship running back; Albert Young and Damian Sims will be seniors.


Iowa should be able to recruit a few running backs this year; Jason Ford, anyone?  


Kids want the chance to come in and play early, and Iowa will certainly have that opportunity to sell on the recruiting trails, with no promises of course. 


But there is a very, very good chance that in 2008, Iowa's starting running back will have zero carries in his career during crunch time.  That's a wide open situation right there, which should be every running back's dream. 


Here's to hoping that Iowa gets two top-caliber backs in this recruiting class; you can never have enough of them.


Spievey was a depth chart filler at corner going into this year, a position that Iowa isn't very deep at beyond this season either.  And it's a lot harder to recruit corners than it is running backs.

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