First and foremost, the following scenario has zero chance of ever coming to fruition. In fact, it probably is the first scenario of any kind in the history of human civilization to have less than zero chance of occurring.
But it’s late May and a mighty slow sports news day where I work, so what the hey?
Alabama needs a nonconference football foe for its 2015 schedule. As the linked story tells you, it is having a devil of a time locating an opponent.
Bama already has a game lined up against Wisconsin in Arlington, Texas, and a home game against Louisiana Monroe. It will almost surely play an FCS team later in the season in Tuscaloosa.
The Crimson Tide have schedule-openings for Sept. 12 and 19 of 2015, and undoubtedly want a pushover FBS team to come to Alabama for a nice payday and a savage beating. There’s no way Alabama won’t play seven home games, so its opening will be a home game.
Iowa, on the other hand, has its 2015 slate sewn up nicely. It plays Illinois State at home on Sept. 5, the same day Alabama is playing Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes are at Iowa State on Sept. 12, then host Pittsburgh Sept. 19. There’s no way either of those contracts get broken or altered.
And there’s no way Iowa would give up a seventh home date in a season, even it wanted to do so. The heat it would take in Johnson County for surrendering that weekend would be immense with all that hotel and restaurant business going away.
Plus, there’s no way the Hawkeyes are going to tack on a third nonconference opponent from a Big 5 conference. Relatively few Big Ten teams play two nonconference games against teams from the power leagues as it is.
But I say break all those rules. Get Alabama to spend some of its football largesse to encourage Louisiana Monroe to change the date of its game at Bama to Sept. 12 or 19, pay the Hawkeyes a considerable sum to play in Tuscaloosa next Sept. 26, pay North Texas to move its Sept. 26 game at Iowa to another year, and agree to come to Iowa City for a game in the soonest year in which it would work.
What a message Alabama would send, that it was willing to play two good Big Ten teams on top of its eight SEC opponents.
What a message Iowa would send, that it was willing to play teams from the Big 12, ACC and SEC before embarking on its Big Ten schedule, and was happy to add the challenge of playing at Alabama.
As for losing that seventh home gate, yeah, that’s a rough one. But you solve that as much as you can by getting Alabama to pay through the nose.
Apologies to my good friends in Johnson County business and tourism, but they need to look at the big picture. If Iowa is playing Alabama, that’s a lot more publicity and buzz for Hawkeye football. If it means Iowa secures a future visit to Kinnick Stadium by the Crimson Tide, it would be one of the biggest things to hit Iowa City since ... ever.
Like I said, this modest proposal has a less-than-zero chance of seeing the light of day. Iowa’s not surrendering that seventh home game or playing that kind of a nonconference schedule. No program with any sort of position of power does, or would.
Plus, Alabama isn’t looking for another quality opponent. It just wants a tomato can to crush in Bryant-Denny Stadium for an easy win and a home gate.
In 1981, Iowa’s nonconference opponents were Nebraska, Iowa State and UCLA. That same year, Bear Bryant’s Alabama team played Georgia Tech and Penn State during the regular season.
What were they thinking?