By Justin Kendall
Just got back from the press conference announcing the 2009 and 2010 Iowa State and Kansas State neutral site games at Arrowhead.
Good to see the Cyclone beat writers -- both of them -- made the trip south on I-35. The pre-press conference jabber was whether the Cyclones had settled their quarterback conundrum. Of course not. The season opener is only SIX DAYS AWAY!
Chiefs president Carl Peterson, who looks like a long-lost Soprano, talked about treating the game like a "mini bowl game." Peterson is certainly paying the schools like they're in a bowl game: each is guaranteed $1.8 million. They'll also share revenue from the gate.
The details: The Cyclones and Wildcats will play at Arrowhead Stadium on October 3, 2009, and October 9, 2010. Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas City Chiefs season ticket holders will get first crack at tickets. Tickets go on sale to the general public in the spring.
On the stage, Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard looked like a giant next to Peterson and K-State AD Bob Krause. Pollard proved he's a helluva salesman.
"Kansas City is a home away from home for Iowa State fans," Pollard said. "We have great tradition of being down in this area, going back to the Big 8 basketball tournament. We won the last Big 8 basketball tournament."
I have a lot of memories of watching the Cyclones play in the Big 8 and Big 12 basketball tournaments in Kansas City, and the Cardiac Clones' great 2002 football game that nearly ended in an upset of No. 3 Florida State at Arrowhead.
Pollard said Cyclone coach Gene Chizik "lit up" at the possibility of playing at Arrowhead.
"Let's not underestimate what this will mean to the players," Pollard said. "We all know -- you cover 'em -- we have 125 kids in camp right now, and if you asked them, 125 of them think they're going to play in the NFL. We all know that if one or two of 'em play in the NFL, it's probably more of a reality. We're going to provide an opportunity for them to be in a historic NFL stadium and that's pretty special because those are things that those kids will take with them for their lifetime because the majority may never ever get to step on a field in the NFL."
I like the idea of the Cyclones playing in Kansas City. I'm biased because it's one less road trip for me. But the benefit is even better for the team, especially in 2010 when the Cyclones will play seven home games, four road games and the Arrowhead game. I asked Pollard if the 2010 scheduling had anything to do with Texas and Oklahoma coming back on the schedule -- and both are road games.
"Don't think we didn't think about that," Pollard said with a sly grin.
I asked Pollard about pushing back the Cyclones' Big 12 home opener in 2009. He didn't see a problem in waiting a month.
"It creates a lot of excitement about the beginning of the Big 12 season," he said. "We eliminated our bye week. ... Coach Chizik had just started, but he agreed to do it because he recognized that he'd rather give up the bye week than take the risk of playing in November when it's just not as exciting of an environment."
Another reporter asked Pollard about the possibility of the game hurting the Cyclones' chances of playing in a bowl game.
"I hope that we have that problem," Pollard said. "It would be one heck of a problem to have, wouldn't it?"
Pollard also spoke of creating a rivalry with the Wildcats.
"We even talked last night at dinner about having a traveling trophy," he said. "You can let your imaginations run wild about what ag product ..."
Maybe a silo?