That “Modern Era” Thing

  • Fanatics -

    Thank you for your patience today and welcome to the newest version of Cyclone Fanatic!

    Most of the changes we have made are very simple, but will greatly improve your user experience while visiting the website.

    We have upgraded our forum software to speed things up. Our homepage is much cleaner and should be even more mobile friendly than before.

    We appreciate your loyalty and are committed to not only keeping Cyclone Fanatic in tip-top shape, but continuing to build this community for the next decade and beyond.

    We ask that if you are experiences any glitches to let us know in this thread . Will will be diligently working on the site all day.

    Thanks again.

    Chris Williams - Publisher

Aclone

Well-Known Member
Dec 14, 2007
17,982
4,782
113
Des Moines, Ia.
The Modern Era of Cyclone Football?

I was asked exactly when I thought that the “modern era” of Cyclone football began. The issue came up in the wake of the Dan McCarney “interview” (the man is a force of nature, you don’t interview him so much as point him in the right direction). That’s a thought provoking question, and I took a moment to consider it.

Then Monday morning on the Williams and Blum podcast, I realized that I’d gotten their attention. Hey guys, as I said, pick another term. I have no objection to saying things were energized in Dan McCarney’s tenure. “Modern” simply isn’t the right word for what you’re trying to describe, though.

Oh...and if the fifteen year gap between Earle Bruce and Mac is significant, then so is the ten year gap between Mac and Matt Campbell.

However, what I was pondering the past few days, was just where that “Modern Era” of Cyclone football actually began.

Now, the modern era of college football is generally agreed upon to have begun around 1960, which is the point where television became such a factor. Correspondingly, there is another bump about twenty years later, when the ESPN era began and unfolded, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

Though there’s a related note we’ll touch on later.

By odd coincidence, Clay Stapleton’s coaching career coincided with that 1960 era. Alas, for whatever reason, that was the zenith of his career. His landmark action probably wasn’t coaching the Dirty Thirty, or beating Oklahoma, but as the AD hiring fellow Tennessee alum Johnny Majors as his own successor.

Arguably, the Majors era is one option for the start of the “modern era” for Cyclone football, as he got the team to the school’s first two bowl games. Er, before departing to coach Tony Dorsett.

Johnny Majors’ success carried over to the Earle Bruce era, though it took Coach Bruce a few years to consolidate those gains, finishing with a trio of eight win seasons and a pair of bowl games, starting to churn out bowl games.

Then Woody Hayes just had to go and punch a Clemson player.

(In a bit of pure irony, who knew that Woody’s brother Ike was was Cyclone All American?)

What’s lost in the midst of this decade of the Seventies, however, is that the stadium that began nameless, then started being called Cyclone Stadium, then finally was officially christened in honor of Jack Trice, was built and opened. 1975.

Something that is often lost in all of the wrangling about the CyHawk game is that ISU might not have had a new stadium when they did if it were not for Iowa. When negotiating resuming the series, the Hawks simply refused to play a home and home series while ISU’s games were hosted at Clyde Williams Field.

Thanks, Hawkeyes?

Or, if you prefer, we can simply say that the new football stadium was an organic portion of the extended project that was the Iowa State Center complex. Whichever sounds better to you.

As Williams and Blum commented and documented well, the start of the McCarney era marked another period of Cyclone growth. However, that wasn’t it, exactly. For example, that cool story Mac told about the donuts and the mouse? The only reason the football offices were at State Gym that year was because of a construction project that had been planned before he was hired. The Jacobson Building.

The upswing in football support had already begun before Mac arrived.

Frankly, as amused or bemused as CW was to notice the football team practicing at the Lied Center, I remember the endless political wrangling that had to happen on campus for that facility to be built with a combination of athletic department money and student funds.

The football team’s artificial turf got wedged into that little turf war. Call it a stepping stone.

The ongoing facilities improvements are other landmarks. I won’t go into the endless iterations of the Olson/Jacobson complex, except to say that I don’t think that particular process will reach it’s apex until the North End Zone completes a similar genesis to the SEZ, truly bowling in Jack Trice Stadium, and not just for appearance’s sake.

The Bergstrom Indoor Practice Facilty was a huge step. That was groundbreaking for ISU football. Cutting edge.

The multifaceted Complex added on eight years later was almost as important—as are the facilities currently under construction.

The badly needed reconstruction of the concourses was another significant step.

The new scoreboard another.

The South End Zone project was just as immensely significant to the program as the original indoor practice facility.

Of course, Jack Trice Stadium being built was both the root and the anchor to all of that expansion. Take note of that point.

One facet to look at isn’t merely the facility improvements themselves, but just where the money came from for them. Sure, donations were the core investment around which that funding was built, but the true uptick in revenue flow was based upon an ongoing upward shift in conference TV money, which began with the blossoming of that aforementioned ESPN era.

Of course, one immense moment was when Nebraska’s departure ended the stranglehold on conference TV revenue, and led to equal shares being distributed.

Thanks, Nebraska! And good riddance!

One key on the facilities money spigot that many people overlook was when ISU contracted out facilities management and operation to a private contractor. That meant a lot to cash flow.

Sure, it was cool to have great concerts regularly coming into Hilton and Jack Trice for a while, but I remember the Iowa State Center management saying, “Hey, we’ve got all this money stuffed into our accounts. Is it okay if we go ahead and pay off the last decade or so of mortgages for these buildings?”

Cash flow. A sign of the “modern era” in Cyclone Athletics.

I’m not going to ignore the influence of either Gene Smith or Jamie Pollard.

Of course, as Blum and Williams pointed out, another dimension in the Cyclone Football dynamic is enrollment. When I was a student, enrollment was roughly 25,000. A few years back, the student body suddenly burgeoned into the 35K range. Yes, oddly enough, a 40% increase in students can result in a substantial shift in dynamics.

And I’m not talking about just the number of fans involved.

So yes, I’ll agree that Dan McCarney was a substantial factor in a fundamental shift in Cyclone football. Not the initiating one, or the sole one, but a significant force in the wave of change at that time.

Part of a process. However significant.
Instead, if I look back in the history of Cyclone football, I’m going to say that the true doorway to the “Modern Era” of Cyclone Football was the opening of the stadium one day to be known as Jack Trice. That was the root, the anchor, the pivot of all change.

Not just because Cyclone football attendance, in a short period, went from 32K to 50K. Because what that new stadium enabled the program to do.

Now, to be fair, I teased Williams and Blum about their “modern to me” perspective. I admit, I’m a bit guilty of that myself.

I’ll reiterate, pick another term.

But I think that there is one factor that the two of them haven’t considered yet. At least, not the full, long term implications of it.

That 35K enrollment curve.

Yep, it’s easy to say that there are more fans under 30 than there are over 60. That’s an obvious part of the dynamic.

But there’s another factor not different from when young folks complain about the “old people” behind them at Hilton telling them to sit down. There’s a perception that those “old folks” aren’t real fans, because they aren’t standing up and yelling.

Well, when you get older, you’ll understand. Because those “old folks” were the same young people chanting “Sit Down Norm!” at Missouri’s coach decades ago.

But the real, underlying truth is, while the youngsters are the ones sitting there, those “old people” are the ones paying the freight.

Just think about it for a second. The Reiman family, the Sukups, the Bergstroms, the Jacobsons? Those aren’t Millenials, or Generation Z, or whatever you want to call it. Those are all “old folks”.

Yep. While the twenty-somethings are busy graduating and paying off their student loans, while those twenty- and thirty-somethings are busy building families and their fortunes, it’s the empty nest 50- and 60-plus crowd who are sitting on their investments. Who are writing checks with lots of zeros. Who are fueling big donations.

And did you notice that little something? That 40% bump in enrollment means that in twenty or thirty (or forty) years, there’s going to be that many more “old folks” with money in their pockets—and a love for Cyclone football.

Long story, not so short? Yes, I think that one solid definition of the “modern era” of Cyclone Football begins with the opening of Jack Trice Stadium.

But for those folks who were part of that spike in enrollment? When Williams and Blum are old and gray, I’d make a wild guess that “35K” generation of Cyclone fans, those current “younger” folks are going to say that the beginning of the “Modern Era” in Cyclone football was...the hiring of Matt Campbell.

And I think that may just be a darn good way to look at it.

GO CYCLONES!
 

Cyched

Minister of Culture
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
May 8, 2009
18,026
26,111
113
Ankeny
My answer is the hiring of McCarney in 1995

Troy Davis does his thing in 95 and 96 and gets invited to New York. Should’ve won in 1996

Reversed the course of our main rivalry in 1998

Breakthrough season in 2000 as the major inflection point.
 

NickTheGreat

Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2012
8,796
2,306
113
Central Iowa
I'm the same age as Chris and Brent, so I also consider it "modern era"

Sure there was some time between Mac and Campbell, but some big things happened in that time period. Not sustained success, but some noteworthy occurrences (2011 OSU for example)

But like Chris said, it's almost fair to call it the Jamie Pollard era.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Urbandale2013

Mr Janny

Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
Staff member
Bookie
SuperFanatic
Mar 27, 2006
34,539
13,231
113
I think I would definitely mark the start of the BCS as the beginning of a new era in college football. And the playoff would be another one, except, I think I would say the line of delineation might be all of the realignment.

But 1960 as the beginning of the modern era? No I don't buy that. Even if you disagree with BCS and The Playoff being separate eras, the supreme court case NCAA v Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma from 1984 definitely is. That's the case that took TV rights away from the NCAA. It was a monumental shift in college athletics, and shaped the current way we consume college football.
 
  • Agree
Reactions: Sigmapolis

HFCS

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2010
44,531
23,899
113
LA LA Land
I think ISU football you either go back to Mac years or you say only Campbell is modern era. Modern era definitely doesn't include pre-Mac anymore.

Mac was a big shift, but CPR really wasn't compared to Mac years. Some higher highs and lower lows but overall comparable.

In basketball there's really only the McD years that stand out since Orr as total outliers, so either modern era gos all the way back to Orr including TF/LE, or it starts with FH.
 

HFCS

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2010
44,531
23,899
113
LA LA Land
1996 when the Big12 kicked off.
I feel about that time too...but I always wonder if it's because that's when I started at ISU.

Mac/TF/LE is start of modern era.

In 10 years we'll say Campbell/FH/SP are start of modern era.
 

HFCS

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2010
44,531
23,899
113
LA LA Land
I think I would definitely mark the start of the BCS as the beginning of a new era in college football. And the playoff would be another one, except, I think I would say the line of delineation might be all of the realignment.

But 1960 as the beginning of the modern era? No I don't buy that. Even if you disagree with BCS and The Playoff being separate eras, the supreme court case NCAA v Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma from 1984 definitely is. That's the case that took TV rights away from the NCAA. It was a monumental shift in college athletics, and shaped the current way we consume college football.
in basketball there's absolutely no way that pre-3 point shot (1986) is modern in any way
 

Sigmapolis

Minister of Economy
SuperFanatic
SuperFanatic T2
Aug 10, 2011
17,852
21,342
113
Washington, DC
The "modern era" to historians started in the 15th Century -- generally in 1453 with the final fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. So "modern" can go back pretty far if you want to use it like that.
 

Mr Janny

Welcome to the Office of Secret Intelligence
Staff member
Bookie
SuperFanatic
Mar 27, 2006
34,539
13,231
113
in basketball there's absolutely no way that pre-3 point shot (1986) is modern in any way
Agreed. I was speaking specifically about college football in my post
 

HFCS

Well-Known Member
Aug 13, 2010
44,531
23,899
113
LA LA Land
The "modern era" to historians started in the 15th Century -- generally in 1453 with the final fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans. So "modern" can go back pretty far if you want to use it like that.
In art history it's about 150 years.
 

GoldCy

New Member
Jul 11, 2016
4
-1
3
The end of limited substitutions early 60's. Killed Stapleton and ISUs chances of being really good.
 
  • Informative
Reactions: Aclone