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AMES — ESPN College GameDay started doing live telecasts from campuses in 1993, but Saturday may have been a first for the college football extravaganza.
The guest picker getting booed was a bit of a novelty. But the thousands of people in attendance chanting “Take a shower!” at him, now that was different.
So it was with Ashton Kutcher and a predominantly Iowa State crowd Saturday morning just outside Jack Trice Stadium. Kutcher was roundly booed as he “arrived” in a black harvester with an Iowa Hawkeyes flag flying from it.
The shower chant stemmed from Kutcher and wife Mila Kunis telling the world in July, via podcast, that they aren’t big believers in lots of showers and baths.
"If you can see the dirt on them, clean them," Kutcher told podcast host Dax Shepard, referring to his two children, ages 6 and 4. "Otherwise, there's no point."
We know this, why? Because Kutcher and Kunis are famous. Which is the same reason Kutcher was here Saturday.
He was born in Cedar Rapids, grew up in Eastern Iowa, and attended the University of Iowa for a while. Then he went on to become famous, and took a private jet from California to Ames to spout some statistics about some of Saturday’s college games, literally shout his praises of Hawkeye football, and pick Iowa to beat Iowa State Saturday to no one’s surprise.
He still got booed. As did Lee Corso, who also tabbed Iowa to prevail. Before that, the 86-year-old Corso was quite popular with the young crowd during the three-hour telecast.
Before Kutcher arrived on the set, GameDay staff scooped up a few signs about him that weren’t especially nice. Most signs, though, were benign. Several mentioned corn.
There was an “Overrated!” chant early in the program. It may have had fans of both sides giving it.
Eight minutes into the show, Texas was mentioned and jeered. Texas and Oklahoma leaving the Big 12 Conference for the SEC isn’t a popular thing here. One fan’s sign:
1. Benedict Arnold
4. Judas Icariot
It’s “Iscariot,” not “Icariot,” and there are some who would suggest Judas was three spots too low on the ranking. However, Texas being ranked above Benedict Arnold would probably be a unanimous choice here.
BYU got cheered when its name came up during the show, because it is one of four schools to be extended membership invitations to the Big 12 Friday.
When GameDay host Rece Davis said Alabama was playing Mercer, a “Mercer! Mercer! Mercer!” chant broke out. That was probably another GameDay first.
“I’m Ashamed to be in (L) Ames,” was a sign held by a Hawkeye fan. He wasn’t guilt-ridden enough not to have gotten to the TV early Saturday morning to get a front-row position, where he stayed for over four hours.
The crowd did do ESPN’s bidding, though. When the show needed quiet, it got quiet. There were a few segments related to the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., and everyone was attentive to those.
Representatives of law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and the U.S. military appeared on the show, and were applauded.
One of the taped segments included a 2001 Iowa fullback from Iowa City whose college career stats were four games played, three carries, two yards, and one big move after he left school.
So emotions bobbed up and down during the show, going from somber remembrances to the usual enthusiastic football chatter. Oh, did I mention there were signs?
“If You’re Reading This, You’re Not an Iowa Fan”
“Google how many 10-win seasons does Iowa State have”
“Kirk Ferentz eats M&M’s in alphabetical order”
“Charlie Sheen > Ashton Kutcher”
Perhaps the best message, though, was on a T-shirt worn by an older fan watching what little of the show he could see from well behind the stage.
“I Just Hope Both Teams Have Fun.”
It already was hot before the three-hour GameDay ended at 11 a.m. After a few hours of being at the big broadcast, we all could have used a shower.
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