CEDAR RAPIDS - The Cedar Rapids Kennedy girls' swimming team has never shied away from tough competition.
The Cougars received a healthy dose of it at their invitational.
Kennedy won two events, was runner-up in three more and ... »
A few weeks ago, I lobbied here for the Big 12 Conference to invite UNLV and San Diego State into its fold.
That was a brilliant suggestion, and remains so. Naturally, it has been ignored. The league finds Houston and Cincinnati more captivating than San Diego or Las Vegas. Travel agents would tell you the public has other ideas.
Well, I haven’t given up on trying to lead the Big 12 to higher ground. So I have this proposal that’s even better:
Steal the University of Iowa from the Big Ten.
Does Iowa resonate louder in college athletics than possible Big 12 additions Houston, Cincinnati, Memphis, BYU, UCF, Boise State, et al? Heck yes! It’s in the Big Ten!
Are you a player or not, Big 12? You won’t become one by elevating schools from something called the American Athletic Conference. Do what the Big Ten and SEC and Pac-12 have done to you this decade. Take one of theirs. Tony Soprano would have, though in a considerably harsher way.
There’s no way in the world Iowa would ever leave the Big Ten, you say. Just for starters, Iowa would never walk away from the incredible stacks of cash it gets from the Big Ten Network and the league’s contracts with ESPN and Fox.
Why not? College athletics isn’t about money. Ask any conference commissioner or high-ranking member of a major-university athletics department. Just make sure they aren’t winking while their fingers are crossed.
Besides, the BTN has done Iowa no favors by replaying the Hawkeyes’ 2015 conference football title-game loss to Michigan State about 374 times since it was held last December. The game always turns out the same.
Yes, Iowa would lose border rivalries with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Illinois and Northwestern. But it would be getting new partners in Stillwater and Lubbock. And West Virginia, too. Horizons expanded.
Old Hawkeye friends Bill Snyder and Bob Stoops coach football in the Big 12. But this Harbaugh fellow up in Michigan is some figure in the shadows who never seems to draw attention to himself. What do we really know about him?
Touted Iowa 2017 football running back recruit Eno Benjamin has been big on trying to persuade other top preps to join him in Iowa City. Put the Hawkeyes in the same league with four Texas schools, and Benjamin can lock up 20 of Texas’ finest high schoolers for the Class of ’18. And again for the Class of ’19. Hook ‘em, Eno!
Sure, going to the Big 12 would sharply decrease Iowa’s chances of returning to another Rose Bowl. But by the time Pasadena is ready to welcome back the Hawkeyes (25 years from now, give or take), the Big Ten will be a 64-team league that once again includes Iowa. The BTN will be available on five planets.
Now, let’s talk about Iowa-Iowa State. Many Hawkeye fans would like to see the current long-running football series between the two halted so Iowa supposedly could add a high-powered nonconference game to its schedule.
If the Hawkeyes and Cyclones are in the same league, that problem is solved. Iowa would be free to schedule a different nonconference team from a Power 5 league. Like, say … Purdue?
Given the in-state harmony that’s always gained from each year’s Iowa-ISU men’s basketball game, civility would only be increased with two meetings a year and even a possible third in the Big 12 tournament.
Members of both fan bases could travel together in caravans to Kansas City for the tourney. That would build greater respect and love for each other. But first, they must agree to drink in separate bars down there.
Obviously, this is all just a spoof. We’re just having some off-season fun here. I’m not seriously arguing Iowa should join the Big 12. Not when the Pacific-12 would surely be glad to have the Hawkeyes.