116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
It’s been four years since Iowa State played a football game at Kinnick Stadium, and a few things have changed in that time.
1. They now sell beer at Kinnick.
Last week, in fact, the stadium had both beer and boos.
That pun probably produced epic booing of its own, so let’s promise to keep working to get better. It’s a 12-game season.
Speaking of beer, this week Casey’s announced it was teaming up with Busch Light and releasing a new beer cheese pizza with Busch Light beer cheese sauce, bacon, sausage, ham, scrambled eggs, green peppers, onions, and a blend of gooey mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
You can’t get that in Paris, folks. Yet, some insist it’s a great food city.
Be honest. Gas station sushi suddenly doesn’t seem quite as bad, does it?
2. Kinnick’s north end zone renovation was completed in 2019.
The stadium had already been loud during games. But if you’re a visiting offense now, the sound now borders on apocalyptic.
It’s a fireworks show at a rocket launch as everyone in the stadium turns on a food blender during a volcanic eruption.
It’s pretty noisy.
It’s the day’s second coming of the guitar intro of AC-DC’s “Back in Black,” but with the guitar intro of Deep Purple’s “Smoke On the Water” atop it. And the guitar intro of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” under it, and the guitar intro of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” wrapped around it, and the volume turned to 11.
Penn State committed eight false-start penalties at Iowa last year. South Dakota State did the same thing last week. Once is a freak occurrence. Twice requires an exorcist.
Even if your offensive linemen had double espressos in the locker room before the game, eight false-start penalties is jumpiness at seldom-seen levels.
Were I the visiting quarterback, I’d back away from the line of scrimmage, look up at the fans in the north end zone, and put my finger to my lips in the universal sign for “Shush!”
It might not work, but you have to give it a try.
3. The Big Ten added UCLA and USC, the Big 12 lost Oklahoma and Texas, commissioners of both conferences retired, you can now legally bet on college sports in Iowa, the Hawkeye Express train from Coralville to Kinnick has been discontinued, and Coralville has a Raising Cane’s fast-food restaurant.
That last item was the most-newsworthy in Johnson County.
OK, this avoidance of the game itself has gone on long enough.
There hasn’t really been the usual rabid game-week banter about ISU-Iowa. The Cyclones came out of the gate nicely last week in wearing down Southeast Missouri State. But their fans aren’t allowing themselves high hopes after losing their last six meetings with Iowa.
Hawkeye people, meanwhile, were so mortified by what they saw from their team’s offense last week that they think these may be end times.
Luckily for all of us angst-plagued, superstitious outsiders, the players don’t see things that way.
This year’s Iowa State team didn’t lose those six straight games to Iowa. Its quarterback, Hunter “Four Touchdown Passes in One Start” Dekkers didn’t lose those games.
Iowa’s players won’t emerge from the tunnel in the fetal position Saturday just because their offense scored a puny three points against South Dakota State the week before. In their minds, that was an aberration, not an indication of a rough season ahead.
Competitors compete. The rest of us fixate on flaws. That’s not an indictment of anyone. It’s just the way it is.
Those competitors will come out flying Saturday, and their fans will hop aboard for the ride. What happened before won’t matter in the moment. It’s all right here, right now, again.
The winners will wonder what they were ever worried about. For those who wind up on the wrong end of the score, well, you know.
No matter the victor, this one is sure to be a classic we’ll describe with awe and reverence until our bodies and minds fail us.
And if you believe that, you’ll swallow anything. Even if it has beer cheese sauce.
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