FSU caps brutal Cyclone schedule

Jeremy Gustafson

Dan McCarney walked into the Jacobson Athletic building Thursday after practice and stepped into a mini-media day.

“You’re all here to talk about UNI, right?” the Cyclones head coach said with a smile.

Actually, the news wasn’t about the Cyclones opener coming up on Sept. 8 with the Panthers, rather it was about the season opener for next year against Florida State.

“It’s a tremendous honor for this university and this football team and this athletic department,” McCarney said. “There’s only two teams in the country that can kick off college football in 2002, and we’re proud to be one of them.”

Iowa State will play the Seminoles in the Eddie Robinson Classic. The game is at 7 p.m. Aug. 24, 2002 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.

The game will be just one of many challenges on the Cyclones’ schedule, which will be one of the toughest in the country.

Iowa State will play road games against Florida State, Iowa, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and Kansas State.

At home the Cyclones host games against Troy State, Missouri, Kansas, Texas Tech and Nebraska.

“There won’t be a tougher schedule in all of college football. I think that’s pretty obvious,” McCarney said.

ISU athletic director Bruce Van De Velde said that this game is a credit to what McCarney has done at Iowa State.

“It is an indication that our football team is headed in the right direction,” Van De Velde said.

For Florida State, it will give the Seminoles a chance to play in a part of the country they normally don’t get a chance to visit.

“Some of our fans and alumni can see us play that normally wouldn’t be able to,” said FSU athletics director Dave Hart.

For the Cyclones, it will be a chance to play a national championship contender other than Nebraska and Oklahoma, but McCarney knows there will be challenges.

“We’ll probably be a six or seven touchdown underdog, but we’re looking forward to it,” McCarney said.

Being an underdog is something the Cyclones will likely have to get used to, given their tough schedule. Still McCarney isn’t worried about it. He’s more worried about the season at hand.

“I’m really not thinking that far ahead,” McCarney said. “What we’re trying to do right now is win our first game and do all we can to improve this year. It’s a very, very impressive schedule, but one we are proud to be a part of.”

The game could end up with a payoff of up to one million dollars for the ISU athletic department and since the team will be taking a bus to Kansas City and only staying for one weekend, the payoff will be bigger than it would for a bowl game.

McCarney said that despite Florida State’s high-powered offense, there were many more benefits to playing in this game, even though a loss could be on the horizon.

“There are a lot of considerations,” McCarney explained, “financial, exposure, the opportunity, recruiting, a chance to match up against the best in college football. All those things played a major role.”

The Cyclones still have an open date on their schedule and contract talks are in the works. As for the caliber of that team …

“It won’t be Florida or Miami, I’ll promise you that,” McCarney said.