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Local Sports

Cy-Hawk football game alive for now

Colin Cowherd is at it again. I don’t watch his television show on FS1, and his radio show is no longer available in the Des Moines area market

Cowherd still finds a way to fire up Hawkeye fans.

For better of worse, he likes the attention he’s getting, and he’ll keep making outlandish comments as long as fans let it bother them.

I get his criticism. Iowa doesn’t play the toughest non-conference schedule in the country. But does it really matter?

If Iowa had beaten Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game two seasons ago, the Hawkeyes would have been in the College Football Playoff. An undefeated Power 5 conference school will never get left out of the playoff unless there are more than four undefeated teams. That’s a fact.

The Hawkeyes don’t need to ramp up their schedule. They are not playing bad in bowl games because of who they play in September. Thinking that way is silly.

Cowherd’s comments did trigger an instate discussion though. Should Iowa dump its annual game with Iowa State to improve its national perception?

According to the two universities, that answer is a no. Both programs added two years to the current Cy-Hawk football contract, keeping the game safe through 2023.

It becomes tricky after that. The new television deals start in 2024. The current grant of rights deal expires, too. That means television could play a bigger role in who plays who.

The Cy-Hawk football game is fun for the fans for the most part. I’m sure it’s stressful for everyone, too. No one likes losing that game because the losing fan base has to deal with the winning fan base at least until basketball season.

Both teams could benefit from dropping the game.

For Iowa, beating Iowa State does nothing for the program on the national scale. Losing to the Cyclones, like they have done in nine of the past 18 seasons, is essentially crippling. Especially when Iowa State goes on to win three games like in its most recent seasons.

For Iowa State, the goal right now is to get to six wins. Dropping Iowa and scheduling a home cupcake would give the Cyclones an easier road to six.

The best thing to fix Iowa’s perception is for the Cyclones to improve under Matt Campbell.

Iowa may have to adjust who it plays because of the Big Ten’s decision to play nine conference games.

Nine Big Ten games gives Iowa only three non-conference selections. And the university administrators have said they must have seven home games per season to fund the rest of the athletic department.

So, it would appear, that if the school wants to schedule tougher opponents, they may do that at the expense of Iowa State eventually.

It’s not something I’d be in favor of, but I would understand it.

The Hawkeyes play for conference titles and bowl games first and foremost. They don’t care how they get to those bowls. Wins are wins to them whether it’s Middle Tennessee State or Notre Dame.

Iowa has scheduled tougher than Cowherd gives it credit for. The year the Hawkeyes went 12-0, they played two Power 5 schools in Pittsburgh and Iowa State. Iowa has played two different home and home series’ with the Panthers during Kirk Ferentz’s tenure.

Not every season is cupcake city like Cowherd suggests.

Iowa is not playing a top 10 school in the non-conference season every year, but playing multiple Power 5 programs should be good enough.

Contact Troy Hyde

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