AMES, Iowa (AP): Having a beer with friends one weekday afternoon at Wallaby’s Bar and Grille, Chris Clough recounted life as a fan of the state of Iowa.
“You have to know that you’re going to see so many painful years and you just have to get over them,” he said, “and when you have those years when we’re fine, you have to keep them.”
Cyclone fans also know that the other shoe could fall at any time.
He did just over a month ago when the flagship schools of Big 12, Oklahoma and Texas, announced their intention to join the Southeastern conference. The move will be made in 2025, if not sooner.
“We finally show we can beat them,” Clough said, “and now they want to leave.”
The same year’s victories during the Sooners and Longhorns highlighted the cyclones ’biggest season. They reached the Big 12 championship game for the first time and won the Fiesta Bowl, and this year could be even better after the return of almost every beginner.
A record number of season tickets have been sold, the Cyclones had the highest preseason ranking at No. 7 and a sold audience of 61,500 won 16-10 in northern Iowa on Saturday.
While the fan base has never been more excited, Cyclone Club president Jay Chapman acknowledged last month “there’s a bit of anxiety” about the future.
Last week there was some relief amid reports that the eight teams left by OU and Texas will stay together instead of going their separate ways to look for new conference homes.
Three people familiar with the Big 12 talks told The Associated Press on Friday that the league is working to rebuild by adding four new members. BYU, a member of the current independent American Athletic Conference, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston are the “most intriguing” candidates. One person said AP invitations could come out this week.
The four new members would join Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas Tech and West Virginia.
With Oklahoma and Texas in the Big 12, each member received a $ 34.5 million distribution for fiscal year 2020-21, roughly the same as the Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12 schools.
It still shouldn’t be answered how much TV money sent a Big 12 without Oklahoma and Texas.
“If you’re not in a Power Five of some kind, you can change the whole college landscape, just from the revenue standpoint,” said Tuey Rankin, a Texas Tech player in the 1980s and now head of the season ticket.
West Virginia fans haven’t been thrilled to play with a league member more than 1,000 miles away, so the loss of Oklahoma and Texas doesn’t draw any rivalry.
Still, Josh Martin of Moundsville, West Virginia, said, “The conference is worth nothing without them.”
Having Oklahoma and Texas has been good for business at the Big 12 premises.
In Ames, home to 66,000 residents, a football weekend at home generates $ 7 million for the local hotel industry, according to the city’s chamber of commerce. That’s almost $ 50 million per season if there are seven start dates.
ISU athletic director Jamie Pollard and university president Wendy Wintersteen turned down AP requests for an interview to discuss the impact of the Oklahoma and Texas outings.
Clough, an Ames businessman and holder of the ISU football and basketball season ticket for 20 years, said that when he felt the flagships of the Big 12 were taking off, he had the same feeling of sinking as when Nebraska announced in 2010 that he would be leaving for the Big Ten.
“Now we’re going to change it again and, as a fan base, it’s making things harder,” Clough said. “You learn to create new rivalries. Without a doubt, it will be interesting how it works ”.
Rankin, the former Texas Tech player, said there is a lot of animosity towards the Longhorns. He said it is not so much because of his transfer to the SEC, but because of the secrecy that developed.
“We have this whole story together as conference members,” Rankin said, referring to the old days of the Southwest Conference. “They are our rival, but I’m not sure we are their rival. To just say we’re going to do this and do it with everyone else, I think it seems like a selfish thing. I don’t think “anger” is too harsh a term. I think there is a lot of anger. “
For his part, Iowa State’s sixth-year coach Matt Campbell is not left worrying about what the cyclones conference situation will look like.
However, potential recruits may be concerned.
What does Campbell tell them?
“We win,” he said. “We will work to keep winning and if you want to play with a winning team, come play for us.”