Alamo Bowl continues climb to prominence

April 9, 2009
Iowa quarterback Drew Tate (5) congratulates  Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) following Iowa's 26-24 loss in the  Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30, 2006 in San Antonio.

Iowa quarterback Drew Tate (5) congratulates Texas quarterback Colt McCoy (12) following Iowa's 26-24 loss in the Alamo Bowl on Dec. 30, 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. (Brian Ray/The Gazette)

The Alamo Bowl annually picks fourth or fifth among the Big Ten and Big 12’s bowl-eligible teams. But some of those middle-of-the-road school have produced top-tier performances in television viewership and attendance.

In 2006, the Iowa-Texas game posted the best TV ratings of any non-BCS bowl game that season. It was a Saturday night contest and posted a bowl-record 5.99 rating for ESPN, less than 1 full point behind the Orange Bowl that season.

In 2005, the Nebraska-Michigan game also earned the top TV ratings for any non-BCS bowl game in 2005. Both years, the Alamo Bowl blasted past New Year’s Day tradition-rich bowls such as the Cotton, Capital One, Outback and Gator in TV ratings.

The Alamo Bowl now will parlay those impressive ratings into an even better time slot. The Alamo Bowl has joined the New Year’s lineup, playing its game at 7 p.m. Jan. 2, a Saturday. There are five bowl games on Jan. 1 — Outback, Gator, Capital One, Rose and Sugar. Four bowl games are scheduled for Jan. 2 — Cotton, International, Papajohns and Alamo. There’s no BCS bowl scheduled that night, which gives the Alamo the entire spotlight. Only an NFL scheduling curveball could keep the Alamo Bowl from record-breaking ratings.

“This year’s calendar has provided us an excellent primetime Saturday time slot that will allow the Valero Alamo Bowl to reach a wide audience,” said Alamo Bowl President Derrick Fox. “The January 2 date should also work well for people traveling to the game as they can celebrate Christmas at home and then spend a long weekend ringing in the New Year in San Antonio.”

Iowa has played in the bowl four times since its debut in 1993. Iowa has beaten Texas Tech twice (1996, 2001) while losing to California (1993) and Texas in 2006.

The placement appears to be a win-win for the bowl and the participatory leagues in terms of exposure. Past Big Ten schools, such as Northwestern in 2008, looked at the Alamo Bowl as slap. Now, with a primetime slot in January, the Alamo Bowl seems more equal with the Big Ten’s other slotted bowls.

Look for the bowl to push both leagues for marketable teams, both geographically (Big 12 South) and from a national television perspective (say, Wisconsin or Iowa over Northwestern or Purdue). If the bowl can get a high-profile matchup, like in 2005 or 2006, it may be hard to bump the Alamo Bowl from the New Year’s Day lineup.

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Primetime games in Iowa football’s forecast; Angerer up for award, Alamo now January bowl

April 7, 2009
University of Iowa students cheer for their team while they walked off the field after Iowa played Ohio State on Sept. 30, 2006.

University of Iowa students cheer for their team while they walked off the field after Iowa played Ohio State on Sept. 30, 2006.

Iowa officials say at least two Iowa football games this fall are being considered for primetime on ABC.

The two mentioned include Iowa’s Sept. 19 game against Arizona and then Sept. 26 game at Penn State, Iowa officials have said. The official primetime schedule has not been released.

Iowa (9-4 last fall) likely will have day games at home against Michigan (Oct. 10) and at Wisconsin (Oct. 17). Both games are homecoming matchups, and the schools avoid primetime for homecoming week, the officials said.

Of Iowa’s 13 games last year, only one — the regular-season finale at Minnesota— was played in primetime. Iowa played seven games on the Big Ten Network, four games on the ESPN family of networks and twice on ABC. This fall, Iowa hosts seven games and travels for five. Iowa has played in primetime four times since 2006 – twice on the Big Ten Network and twice on ABC. Two of those games were at Kinnick Stadium.

 As for Iowa’s schedule, it rivals many of the toughest in the nation. Iowa’s opponents finished 87-67 last year. Iowa faces seven bowl teams, including three on the road that played in January 1 or BCS bowls. Iowa plays only three teams with losing records last year — Iowa State, Michigan and Indiana — all of whom have beaten Iowa at least once since 2006.

Iowa opens against Northern Iowa (12-3 last year), which lost in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals last December. It’s possible Iowa may win the game but not by a comfortable score to secure a high poll position.

Iowa then travels to Iowa State (2-10), a place Iowa had not won since 2003. Iowa has lost four of its last five at Iowa State.

“We pick up UNI, which obviously is a good football team,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. “We just have to look back to 2005 (a 45-21 Iowa win). They were a tough, competitive team and had great success and continue to have great success. Iowa State is always a tough game for both teams.”

Iowa then host Arizona(8-5), which beat a 10-3 Brigham Young team in the Las Vegas Bowl. Iowa’s final non-conference game — which comes one week after the Big Ten opener — is against Arkansas State (6-6), which upset Texas A&M last year.

Iowa hosts Northwestern (9-4, Alamo Bowl), Minnesota (7-6, Insight Bowl), Michigan (3-9) and Indiana (3-9) in Big Ten play. Iowa’s road Big Ten schedule is treacherous, where teams went 37-15 last year. Iowa plays at Penn State (11-2, Rose Bowl), Ohio State (10-3, Fiesta Bowl), Michigan State (9-4, Capital One Bowl) and Wisconsin (7-6, Champs Bowl). Iowa has lost the last five at Ohio State, last four at Michigan State and its last game at Penn State and Wisconsin, respectively.

Ferentz said he hasn’t thought much about the schedule.

“The Big Ten is always going to be a challenge,” he said. “Right now, I’m not too worried about it. We’ll move into that once we get through spring ball.”

The Alamo Bowl announced today it will play in primetime on Saturday, Jan. 2 on ESPN. The San Antonio-based bowl now makes four Big Ten bowls on either Jan. 1 or Jan. 2.

“This year’s calendar has provided us an excellent prime time Saturday time slot that will allow the Valero Alamo Bowl to reach a wide audience,” said Derrick Fox, Valero Alamo Bowl President/CEO. “The January 2 date should also work well for people traveling to the game as they can celebrate Christmas at home and then spend a long weekend ringing in the New Year in San Antonio.”

Iowa middle linebacker Pat Angerer was named to the 2009 Lott Trophy Watch List. The Lott Award is given to the nation’s best defensive player.


Iowa FB revenue comparisons with Iowa State, Notre Dame, Big Ten

March 1, 2009

Iowa ranks fifth among Big Ten schools in football revenue for the 2008 fiscal year (July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2008), according to figures supplied to the U.S. Department of Education.

These numbers differ slightly from those submitted to the NCAA, but most of the intangibles are the same. This list also includes football expenses for 2008 as well as recruiting expenses for men’s sports. The Education Department doesn’t supply specific recruiting expenses, but a good rule of thumb is that football recruiting expenses take up between 40 and 55 percent of all men’s recruiting expenses (except Notre Dame, which is much higher).

I also supplied a list of 10 other colleges to compare expenses from Big Ten schools with those of similar conferences and Notre Dame.

Ohio State
FB Revenue — $65,162,179
FB Expenses — $33,063,248
Men’s recruiting expenses — $794,284
 
Michigan
FB Revenue — $57,463,603
FB Expenses — $16,785,667
Men’s recruiting expenses — $929,383
 
Penn State
FB Revenue — $53,766,038
FB Expenses — $16,537,705
Men’s recruiting expenses — $534,741 
 
Michigan State
FB Revenue — $43,826,312
FB Expenses — $17,910,444
Men’s recruiting expenses — $744,715
 
Iowa
FB Revenue — $37,998,729
FB Expenses — $26,166,182
Men’s recruiting expenses — $637,685 
 
Wisconsin
FB Revenue — $37,733,698
FB Expenses — $22,979,031
Men’s recruiting expenses — $452,958
 
Illinois
FB Revenue — $25,370,427
FB Expenses — $12,210,666
Men’s recruiting expenses — $862,681
 
Minnesota
FB Revenue — $24,275,876
FB Expenses — $9,306,397
Men’s recruiting expenses — $866,117
 
Indiana
FB Revenue — $21,774,074
FB Expenses — $12,493,144
Men’s recruiting expenses — $633,002
 
Purdue
FB Revenue — $21,641,794
FB Expenses — $14,501,436
Men’s recruiting expenses — $810,016 
 
Northwestern
FB Revenue — $21,080,405
FB Expenses — $12,113,946
Men’s recruiting expenses — $482,588
 
OTHERS
 
Georgia
FB Revenue — $67,053,051
FB Expenses — $19,073,103
Men’s recruiting expenses — $858,183
 
Notre Dame
FB Revenue — $59,774,851
FB Expenses — $16,589,924
Men’s recruiting expenses — $1,793,517
 
Alabama
FB Revenue — $57,370,617
FB Expenses — $16,154,793
Men’s recruiting expenses — $654,253 
 
Nebraska
FB Revenue — $49,076,861
FB Expenses — $18,797,860
Men’s recruiting expenses — $755,993
 
Washington 
FB Revenue — $37,092,611
FB Expenses — $17,202,549
Men’s recruiting expenses — $529,929 
 
Virginia
FB Revenue — $30,297,214
FB Expenses — $18,010,178
Men’s recruiting expenses — $569,738
 
Georgia Tech
FB Revenue — $29,353,239
FB Expenses — $14,199,958
Men’s recruiting expenses — $1,040,710
 
West Virginia
FB Revenue — $27,552,053
FB Expenses — $17,778,686
Men’s recruiting expenses — $1,066,916
 
Oregon
FB Revenue — $24,493,155
FB Expenses — $16,293,303
Men’s recruiting expenses — $903,462

Iowa State

FB Revenue — $17,404,826
FB Expenses — $9,833,299
Men’s recruiting expenses — $882,283