College Football

Hlas: No surprise: Pinstripe Bowl doesn't suit Iowa fans

Iowa followers will follow New York bowl from afar

The Pinstripe Bowl trophy was on display before Iowa's men's basketball game against Southern University Sunday in Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
The Pinstripe Bowl trophy was on display before Iowa's men's basketball game against Southern University Sunday in Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Someone approached me over the weekend to tell me why he wasn’t going to the Pinstripe Bowl.

It would have been a lot more interesting had he said the opposite. That would have made him a reindeer with a red nose instead of a commoner like Dasher or Blixem.

A University of Iowa spokesperson said Sunday that “If you take everything, it’s just over 1,000 (tickets sold) by Iowa out of its Pinstripe Bowl allocation of 7,500. It will take a lot of reindeer to devour all the tickets that will be eaten on this deal.

But that’s not a rap on Iowa fans, not at all. The reasons those who often journey from our state to the Hawkeyes’ bowl destination are taking a hard pass on New York are many. Like:

1. The game is on Dec. 27. Which means the bowl cuts into Christmas, travel-wise.

2. New York City is an expensive trip.

3. Those who go to bowls partly for a break from Iowa’s cold would get no such thing in the south Bronx.

4. A game pitting 7-5 Iowa against 7-5 Boston College doesn’t get anyone too tingly. What most people know about BC football from after Doug Flutie’s senior season (1984) to the present couldn’t fill a beer mug at Cheers.

5. There are a few Iowans who don’t like New York, anytime.

Personally, I heart New York and think seeing a football game in Yankee Stadium would be fun in a kitschy way. But I wouldn’t do it if it meant buying plane tickets on fairly short notice and paying for a couple nights in a Manhattan hotel. Not to mention the incidentals, like street cart hot dogs.

Ferentz Pinstripe Bowl Presser Pt. 2



That said, the Pinstripe isn’t the first less-than-ideal bowl Iowa has ever attended. Iowa head coaches Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz have insisted there is no such thing as a bad bowl. Maybe. But there are plenty of mediocre ones.

Even though the TaxSlayer Bowl is in Florida, it wasn’t as if Hawkeye fans swamped Jacksonville three years ago. Nor should they have. What they don’t tell you in the brochures is that downtown Jacksonville rolls up its sidewalks at night.

Many think Tampa and Orlando are really neat. Others think they would be soulless were it not for their countless Waffle Houses.

Cold weather is common at bowls. It was frigid at Iowa’s first TaxSlayer — then the Gator — Bowl. Iowa played in a chilly rain at a Peach Bowl in Atlanta. The Hawkeyes’ Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech eight years ago came on a cold January night in Miami.

I’ve covered two Sun Bowls involving Iowa in the 1990s. El Paso in late December is not Cancun in late December.

On one of those Sun Bowl trips, I needed several minutes with an ice-scraper to be able to see out of my rental car’s windshield once I picked it up at the airport. The problem was, no scraper was in the car. Welcome to the “Sun” Bowl.

A “bloodless” bullfight in Juarez used to be one of the Sun Bowl’s team activities. It now looks like Juarez is off-limits to bowl participants, times having changed for the worse and all.

Ferentz Pinstripe Bowl Presser Pt. 3


Another team activity at the Sun Bowl was going to a boot factory. I would think team captains might find their Pinstripe Bowl trip to the New York Stock Exchange a bit more interesting.


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Iowa State is headed to its second Liberty Bowl in five years. Those who went to the first one are under no illusions about what the weather will be like there since the high temperature at that 2012 Memphis game was in the 40s, and there was some rain.

The temperature at kickoff at last year’s Pinstripe Bowl was 39. For those who thought Nashville’s Music City Bowl would have been hot stuff, it was 46 degrees when last year’s game kicked off.

There’s only one real bowl, of course. It’s in Pasadena, and it’s a little thing we call the Rose Bowl. Even if you don’t like the game, you’ll love the mountains and sunset. There’s quite a parade that morning, too.

It’s also an expensive trip, as much as a Pinstripe Bowl excursion and more. But at least the game means something.



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