Playing Florida State a win-win situation, even if Cyclones lose

Jeremy Gustafson

Okay, okay, the season gets underway tomorrow but the talk of the town hasn’t been Northern Iowa for the past few days.

Sure, the football team has probably had Panther films and playbooks rammed down their thoats, but everyone that follows Cyclone football is talking about Florida State.

The Cyclones have signed to play the Seminoles in the season opener on Aug. 24, 2002, in the Eddie Robinson Classic. While this may seem like one of the biggest mismatches since Jon Beutjer and Sam Aiello, Iowa State really doesn’t stand to lose more than the game.

Dan McCarney said his team may be “six or seven touchdown underdogs” but look at it this way . if that is true and the Cyclones play a close game everyone will be talking about those gutsy Cyclones.

If Iowa State does get blown out, people will just say they were overmatched and never stood a chance anyway.

I look at it this way, next season the Cyclones are going to have more than a handful with their schedule.

Beside Florida State, they play at Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Colorado and Kansas State. They have Troy State and Kansas at home, along with Missouri and Nebraska.

Florida State is exactly the kind of powerhouse the Cyclones are going to be playing all year. Instead of tuning up against Northern Iowa, why not tune up against one of the nation’s best?

Also, the exposure will be incredible.

McCarney is starting to steal some of the recruits that Iowa State used to routinely lose to bigger football schools such as Iowa and Nebraska. When people see the Cyclones on television to open the season, they may just want to be a Cyclone.

And let’s not forget the money. Up to $1 million could be coming the Cyclones’ way if they sell tickets, and since it’s in Kansas City, the Cyclones will sell tickets.

The Cyclone team will take a bus to K.C. as opposed to a plane, for instance, to Phoenix.

The team will be staying in a hotel just for the weekend of the game, as opposed to staying in Phoenix for over a week, which they did for the Bowl.

Those are money savers that will make the payoff for the Eddie Robinson Classic larger than the football team pulled in last year at the bowl game.

Likely, given the Cyclones’ rough schedule, they may not be invited to a bowl game at the end of the 2002 season.

With the Eddie Robinson Classic, the team will have an insurance policy and hopefully make some money.

This year, the Cyclones stand a good chance of returning to postseason play. That would mean they have a CHANCE at having money-making seasons three years in a row.

Athletics director Bruce Van De Velde will forever be remembered as the guy in charge when baseball and swimming were cut, but give him credit.

He is working on a tight budget and has found at least one way to keep making a little money.

While making money, he also has involved Iowa State with one of college football’s finest people, Eddie Robinson himself.

Robinson is the historic coach who finished his career at Grambling State with 408 career wins, a national record.

He and his family are now working with the Eddie Robinson Foundation to help young minority men and women get college educations.

Being involved in such a charity will give Iowa State a good name and associate the Cyclones with one of college football’s finest coaches.

So, even if the Cyclones suffer a blowout, they will still look like winners when the game is over.

Now, go out there and root for the Cyclones to beat those Seminoles, I mean, Panthers.

Jeremy Gustafson is a senior in journalism and mass communication from Ogden. He is sports editor of the Daily.