Iowa Football

Cy-Hawk? Our College GameDay game needs name that's not lame

Hawkeyes, Cyclones and entire state need something with more oomph

Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit on the ESPN College GameDay set in 2015 (Ray Carlin/USA TODAY Sports)
Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit on the ESPN College GameDay set in 2015 (Ray Carlin/USA TODAY Sports)

It’s supposed to be a big, big, deal when ESPN College GameDay is held at your school, because that means your game that day is a big, big deal.

Get on board, everyone, or you’ll miss the circus. For the first time since the show began doing live on-location telecasts in 1993, it’s coming to Ames Saturday morning. The game that afternoon just happens to be Iowa-Iowa State.

The ballgame and the Iowa State backdrop will be focal points of over six hours of national television airtime. So it will be like the Iowa caucuses, but with only one losing contestant instead of 20.

ESPN is airing GameDay in Ames Saturday morning, then the 3 p.m. game will be shown by FS1. Give ESPN credit for promoting a game that will be carried by a rival network.

Although, it’s doubtful ESPN executives thought “Oh dear, won’t the publicity we give the Iowa-Iowa State game turn that into a ratings monster for Fox?”

But that’s all minutiae. This is an all-Iowa showcase to Planet Football, with a capital “P,” and that rhymes with “C” and that stands for College GameDay!

GameDay has aired from Ohio State on 18 occasions, Michigan 12, Oklahoma and Texas 7, Nebraska 6. It’s been to Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Florida A&M. It’s been to Harvard and Penn. In 2007 it went to Division III Williams College for the Ephs’ game against archrival Amherst.

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Now Cyclone World gets its first chance to make the big noise, bring the funny signs, and give Lee Corso love or loathing depending on which mascot’s head he dons as he picks either Iowa or Iowa State to win at show’s end.

The Hawkeyes haven’t exactly been close personal friends of GameDay. The program, which debuted in 1993, came to Iowa City in 1996 and 2006. Both shows preceded Iowa losses to Ohio State.

More important than who wins or loses Saturday, there should be one main concern about this week. That, of course, is the name of the Iowa-ISU game: The Cy-Hawk.

Now, the last thing I want to do is get on the wrong side of Iowa Corn, the Cy-Hawk Series’ sponsor. When it comes to clout in this state, corn has a bit more than me. If Big Corn gets angry and says I must relocate to Kodiak Island, Alaska, I’m communing with bears next week.

But I know you great Iowans are with me when I say the name “Cy-Hawk” is lame for this in-state confrontation.

Look at other intrastate college football rivalries. You’ve got an Apple Cup in Washington, an Egg Bowl in Mississippi, an Iron Bowl in Alabama. There’s a Civil War in Oregon. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State call their rivalry “Bedlam.” Great names, all.

This season’s Utah-BYU game aired late on the first Thursday of the season. I had no reason to care until I heard it called the “Holy War” in the pregame. How could a person turn away from a Holy War in Utah, and in high-def?

Obviously, we’re running desperately short on time. But can we Iowans afford to have this game called “Cy-Hawk?” A nation of college football fans would hear that and think we lack creativity. We most certainly do not.

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Why, Iowa State is where the first electronic digital computer was built. Our state gave the world Maytag Blue Cheese and Sterzing’s Potato Chips.

The modern trampoline originated in Iowa. Without Iowa, trampoline parks would be just … parks.

So we need a snappy, relevant, fun handle for the Iowa-ISU game. I thought I’d come up with a winner with “Game of Thrones.” Then I learned some show on HBO had the same name. Darn it!

A week or so ago, I got a lot of agreement and received a lot of suggestions on Twitter when I said “Cy-Hawk” doesn’t get the job done. Alas, most of the submissions ranged from lousy to rotten. The best was “The State’s Highest-Paid Employees Take Their Free Labor to the Gridiron!” A fine effort, but too wordy.

Someone must come up with a worthy name ASAP. Do you people grasp the importance of this? College GameDay is coming, College GameDay is coming!

l Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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