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When: Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021.
Time: 4:30 p.m. Eastern.
Where: Jack Trice Stadium, Ames (61,500).
Cable channel finder: AT&T U-Verse, Comcast Xfinity, Spectrum/Charter, Optimum/Altice, Cox, DIRECTV, Dish, Verizon Fios, WOW.
No. 9 Iowa State is preparing to play what is undeniably the biggest home game in the 129-year history of the program. The top-10 matchup with rival Iowa on Saturday drew ESPN’s popular pregame show, “College GameDay,” to Reiman Plaza.
After decades of being a college football afterthought, Iowa State has reached the big time. And the looming uncertainty of conference realignment is not about to spoil this moment for the Cyclones and their supporters.
“I’m just trying to really focus on this season and this team and give them my full attention and appreciation. And the future will sort of take care of itself,” former Iowa State quarterback Sage Rosenfels said. “You just don’t have much control over it.”
Such is life in college football’s vast middle class, where the whims and wants of the sports’ blue bloods shape the landscape and somewhat randomly determine the haves and havenots.
Texas and Oklahoma made the Big 12 a Power Five conference, which generated the revenue, resources and exposure that Iowa State has used to transform its football program. But in July, the Longhorns and Sooners decided they will leave Iowa State and the rest of the Big 12 behind to join the Southeastern Conference in 2025.
This has been something of a trend in college football over the last decade or so. When there is an uprising in an unusual place, the establishment tends to figure out ways to push it down.
Boise State used the BCS to raise its profile and become a national power. When the BCS was replaced by the College Football Playoff it established more clearly the Power Five conferences and their big-money schools, further marginalizing schools outside those leagues. Boise State hasn’t been a national contender since.
Not long ago, there were six power conferences in major college football. The Big East held equal status with the Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference and Pac-12.
Even after Miami and Virginia Tech were snatched from the Big East, its status (and the money that came with it) provided a platform for schools such as Rutgers, UConn and USF to have their moments. Eventually, the conference was poached to death by its peers