There has been some confusion and even outrage (mostly the hyperbolic Twitter kind) over the fact that there are “still good seats available” for Iowa’s Saturday game against Penn State.
“But it’s a night game…”
“…against the No. 4 team in the country…”
“…and the Hawkeyes are undefeated…”
First off: Don’t worry, Kinnick Stadium will probably be full. Or at least look it. (Not going to lie, I wouldn’t refuse a little extra room on the bleachers.)
Iowa is simply testing the limits of its single-game ticket fanbase, perhaps even converting a few to season tickets or at least a 3-game pack next season.
Look at it from that fan’s standpoint, because those are the tickets that remain unsold. Any single-game ticket buyer mapping out their future using what was available before the season had three home game times set in stone: Wyoming at 11, North Texas at 2:30 and Illinois at 11.
So for those fans looking for certainty in their planning, those were your options to pre-buy. The rest of the game times don’t have to be decided until 11 days before due to the new TV deals.
Other fans come into town once a year for the best opponent, regardless of game time. If Hawkeye fans did that at the beginning of the year, you’d have likely picked the other $95 game: Ohio State.
And that brings us to the other big factor: Price.
There’s some sticker shock at $95, especially considering you could go to both of the first two home games for $90 combined.
But a look back at the face value of some my old night game tickets shows that the price for Saturday’s game isn’t really out of line.
Looking back at face value… $70 Michigan 2009, $65 Penn State 2010, $50 Syracuse 2006, so $95 is in line. And $45 opener a deal. #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/8ZWYaxcIPX— HAWKMANIAQ, formerly (@Hawkologist) September 21, 2017
So looking at that, the $45 price for the opener looks that much better. In fact, the Wyoming seat in 2017 is the lowest in my collection for the past decade. And the next home game is Illinois, with $60 adult seats and kids seats for $25. A family choosing between a night game at $95 each or waiting for Homecoming has a pretty easy decision.
But Iowa is no more obligated to keep prices low than fans are to show up at prices they don’t like. Supply and demand. If a couple thousand seats stay empty Saturday, the university is still making more money than they did on the earlier games. And if they were sold out at $95, perhaps next year they’d try $105.
You can’t blame the Hawkeyes for trying to get what tickets are worth — AIRBHG knows I’ve spent a few extra bucks on StubHub in my day — but you can’t blame fans if they stay home, either.
And instead of worrying about the crowd, the Hawkeyes need to worry about this:
So about those picks…
Adam Rossow: Penn State 31, Iowa 16
Dan Vasko: Penn State 35, Iowa 24
Steve Batterson: Penn State 28, Iowa 22
Against a Penn State team which has recorded 30 plays of 20 or more yards during its 3-0 start, Iowa will need to play assignment-sound defensive football and eliminate the turnover and penalty issues which have been an early-season issue. The experience of Trace McSorley, Saquon Barkley and Mike Gesicki probably gives the Nittany Lions a bit of an edge in this match-up.
Andy Staples: Penn State
Bruce Feldman: Penn State
Chris Johnson: Penn State
Joan Niesen: Penn State
Eric Single: Penn State
Molly Geary: Penn State
Scooby Axson: Penn State
Bill Connelly: Penn State 33, Iowa 19
Mitch Light: Penn State 34, Iowa 24
Dan Murphy: Penn State 30, Iowa 24
Mitch Sherman: Penn State 28, Iowa 17
Tom VanHaaren: Penn State 45, Iowa 17
Hawkeye State predictions
Land of 10
Scott Dochterman: Penn State 38, Iowa 31
Bobby La Gesse: Penn State 34, Iowa 31
Marc Morehouse: Penn State 34, Iowa 24
Chad Leistikow: Penn State 31, Iowa 13
Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Penn State 34, Iowa 23
Pat Harty: Iowa 23, Penn State 21
Rob Howe: Penn State 31, Iowa 24
Jon Miller: Penn State
Sean Neugent: Iowa 23, Penn State 20
David Schwartz: Penn State
Mitch Smith: Penn State
Mike Zierath: Penn State 36, Iowa 14
Tom Kakert: Penn State 31, Iowa 17
Blair Sanderson: Penn State 31, Iowa 28
RDietz: Penn State 27, Iowa 17
Torbee: Penn State 31, Iowa 24
Lyle Hammes: Penn State 31, Iowa 21
John Kerth: Penn State 34, Iowa 24
Matt Randazzo: Penn State 28, Iowa 17
Max Brekke: Penn State 47, Iowa 31
BoilerHawk: Penn State 35, Iowa 31
JP Scott: Iowa
JPinIC: Penn State 34, Iowa 27
Hello Jerry: Penn State 31, Iowa 20
Matt Cabel: Penn State 56, Iowa 10
Benjamin Ross: Iowa
Rob Donaldson: Penn State 35, Iowa 24
Jordan Hansen: Penn State
Cody Hills: Penn State 33, Iowa 28
And finally, the totally irrelevant prediction based on playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football 2004 on a PS2, as is the tradition since 2015:
Ryan Jaster: Hawkeyes 55, Penn State 46. Touchdown strikes of 76 and 81 in the first quarter set the tone. Then it really got wild. Onside kicks, short fields and zero pass defense made the fourth quarter a shootout that never really was in doubt, despite the fact that Iowa was outscored 36-34 in the final frame. (That’s a higher score than almost all of the picks above.) The teams traded TD passes of 60, 60, 41, 49 and 58 yards at one point. Nate Stanley finished with 573 yards passing, eclipsing the record of 558 of “1988 QB” (Chuck Hartlieb). Say what you will, but if Stanley sets Iowa’s passing record, I like the Hawkeyes chances. The irrelevant prediction might have just found the formula to victory.
This week’s totally irrelevant prediction: #Hawkeyes 55, Penn State 46. TD strikes of 76 & 81 in 1st quarter set the tone. Then it got wild. pic.twitter.com/k2oDuPJPF4— HAWKMANIAQ, formerly (@Hawkologist) September 22, 2017
Prognosis: Nobody picked North Texas last week, and the Mean Green Eagles were winning at halftime. So there’s always a chance. But few have faith in the Hawkeyes. And some of those that do are just keeping a promise to a friend, picking them only because no one else is, or playing an outdated game system using players from 14 years ago. (Click those links above for who’s who — five in all!) There is something special about an Iowa night game, but it doesn’t always result in a Hawkeye win. Hopefully those of us in attendance at least get their money’s worth. Prediction? Pain.