When Iowa is going to sell bottled water at a discounted price ($2! What a deal!) at a Hawkeyes game at Kinnick Stadium, you know it’s hot.
We’re entering somewhat-new and hot territory Saturday for the Northern Illinois-Iowa football season-opener. The Weather Channel says the forecast in Iowa City for Saturday is a high of 98 degrees, wind of 6 mph, and a 0 percent chance of rain.
I went back and checked the box scores of Iowa’s last 10 season-openers, eight of which were played in Iowa City and the other two against Northern Illinois in Chicago. All were played between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5 on the calendar.
The warmest temperature at kickoff? It was 79 for the 2007 NIU game in Chicago and the 2005 Ball State game in Iowa City. That’s quite a difference from 98, no? The list of tempearatures at kickoff according to the official NCAA box scores:
2012: vs. Northern Illinois (Chicago) 73 degrees
2011: Tennessee Tech 75
2010: Eastern Illinois 61
2009: Northern Iowa 70
2008: Maine 76
2007: Northern Illinois (Chicago) 79
2006: Montana 74
2005: Ball State 79
2004: Kent State 75 (It got up to 84 during the game.)
2003: Miami, Ohio 70
This all surprised me. I would have thought there was an 85-, 88-, even a 90-degree day in there somewhere.
In fact, the warmest home game at Kinnick in the previous five seasons was 77 degrees for Syracuse on Sept. 8, 2007.
Iowa does have experience with a 97-degree game, though the current fifth-year seniors were redshirt freshmen. It was 97 at kickoff for Iowa-Arizona in Tucson on the night of Sept. 19, 2010. It was a dry heat.
Iowa sports information director Steve Roe tells me Iowa’s 1994 home-opener against Iowa State hit 102 degrees. Iowa’s season-opener against Kansas State in Kansas City, Mo., was above 95, and I can vouch for that. The Gazette’s Marc Morehouse and I walked at least a half-mile from the parking lot to the stadium after sitting in a horrendous traffic jam.
Iowa’s athletic administration is understandably concerned, and sent out this notice on Wednesday morning:
• Cooling stations will be available at all corners of the stadium, equipped with tents for shade, misting stations and cold towels
• Fans may bring in more than one sealed bottle of water
• Fans can purchase bottled water for a reduced price of $2 inside the stadium
• Fans can bring in an empty reusable water bottle and refill at drinking fountains
• Additional paramedics on-site and on-call
Be smart, everybody. It’s just a game.