116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
This is the second in a series of 12, ranking the most-tantalizing games on Iowa’s football schedule. I started at No. 12 for, you know, the super-duper suspense.
Now, here’s No. 11:
Sept. 25: Colorado State
They never met, not even briefly
I know what you thought, you thought that they might
Now what was the problem, the problem was chiefly
She worked the day shift, and he worked the night — “They Never Met,” Martin Mull
You don’t think of mountains when you think of Iowa. I can explain that in two words. It’s Iowa.
The Hawkeyes football team has been a virtual stranger to the Mountain West Conference since its formation in 1999. The only time Iowa has played a team that was an MWC member at the time they met was Wyoming in 2017.
Iowa has never played seven of the MWC’s 12 teams. It has only played two of them in this millennium.
Why? I don’t know. The league has as much or more football cache as any non-Power 5 conference, Boise State, amirite?
Wyoming was supposed to be good when it came to Kinnick Stadium four years ago. It had quarterback Josh Allen, who has made Buffalo Bills fans happy so far.
Allen averaged a puny 4.5 yards per pass attempt with two interceptions in a 24-3 loss. His quarterback rating was a dismal 48.8. Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell had a day. He went on to Mountain West territory with the Denver Broncos.
Under Kirk Ferentz, the Hawkeyes have played Maine and Florida International, Central Michigan and Western Michigan, Buffalo and Montana. But Iowa and Colorado State. They’ve never met. Not even briefly.
Until September. The Rams come to Kinnick this year. This is a program that hasn’t been great, but it’s had an abundance of competence in its history. It went to bowls each year from 2013 to 2017. It won three of the first four MWC titles, but no more since 2002.
After going 3-9 and 4-8 in 2018 and 2019, respectively, CSU fired coach Mike Bobo, and hired Steve Addazio, who was the Boston College coach when Iowa defeated BC in the Pinstripe Bowl four years ago.
Coincidentally, Colorado State’s last road win over a Power Five team was against Addazio’s Boston College team in 2014. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
As for whether CSU-Iowa is something to anticipate, the answer is “Not really.”
The Rams will probably be competitive this season after going 1-3 last year. But they’re 1-11 all-time against Big Ten teams, and Iowa hasn’t lost to a non-Power 5 team since North Dakota State in 2016.
Iowa wishes it could sing “They Never Met” when referencing the Bison of Fargo.
Addazio’s first CSU team played three road games last season and lost all, by an average of 21.3 points. It had four games canceled. It was a season that really wasn’t one.
Over its last two games, the Rams allowed touchdowns via a 93-yard kickoff return, a 90-yard punt return, a 91-yard blocked field goal return, a 20-yard blocked punt return, and a fumble recovery in the end zone.
Colorado State had winning seasons from 2013 through 2017, playing in bowls in each of those years. Fort Collins, the home of CSU, ranked 17th in the U.S. News and World Report’s list of 150 Best Places to Live in the U.S. in 2021-2022.
It’s not the hardest place in the Group of 5 (non-Power 5) conferences to attract players. Current Rams are from 23 different states. Ten are from Florida, eight from California, seven from Georgia, five from Louisiana.
If Colorado State were in the Big Ten, I’d rank it the best place to visit in the conference. And I’ve never even been there.
But this is football, not day-tripping. And this game is one Iowa either wins, or spends a long time wondering why it didn’t win. ‘Tis far, far better to bring in a Mountain West team than some of the nonconference tomato cans that have passed through Kinnick over the years.
Nonetheless, this is a home game and home gate for the Hawkeyes, and not a lot more.
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