In a surprise announcement Thursday morning, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced that the Iowa State football program would be permanently relegated to the Mid-American Conference at the conclusion of the season.
The news came as a surprise to many, but Bowlsby was able to explain the conference’s reasoning soundly:
“The Big 12 conference has a proud football tradition with some of the best programs in the game. In addition to traditional powers like Oklahoma and Texas, we boast a number of programs that are able to compete for a conference title every few years, regularly expect to go to a bowl game and boast a good football brand.
In recent years the other four power conferences have been able to pull away from us in on field performance, rankings, and national perception. Part of that is our marquee program, Texas’ fault for being a bottom-feeding pile of burning diapers for the last seven years, but honestly there are a few teams in our conference that just don’t belong in the FBS level of college football, let alone in a P5 conference.
We’re looking to land a big network television deal in the next few years, so we need to lose a lot of dead weight to improve national perception of the league. We also want to maximize our per-team revenue by only rewarding teams that actually deserve to be here. Because of this, the Iowa State Cyclones will no longer compete in the Big 12 after their final game of the season, which for them will definitely be November 25.
The decision came down to Iowa State and Kansas, but when you look at the two programs historically, even the Jayhawks make Iowa State look like the first act of The Little Giants.
I’ve reached a deal with the MAC to take Iowa State off our hands. It’s less like kicking them out of the conference and more like relegation in soccer. Except, you know...permanently.”
Looking at the numbers, it’s easy to understand the Big 12’s decision. The Cyclones have the 110th best all time winning percentage out of the 126 active programs with at least 100 games played at the FBS level. The only conference foe they have a winning record against is Kansas State. They’ve only finished the season ranked in the AP poll twice (the most recent being a #25 ranking in 2000).
But wait, it gets worse. Iowa State has only 2 conference championships in school history; both times in a conference with only 5 other teams and both of them before World War I. The Cyclones also once played a game against a high school. And they tied.
One can hardly blame the Big 12 for the decision. In fact, the real question should be how they ended up in a power conference in the first place. Relegation isn’t the worst fate in the world. For example, instead of getting embarrassed by Big 12 also-rans like Texas Tech and Regular Texas, Iowa State will now be able to compete against teams like Kent State and Akron who are at their own level. The Cyclones can now expect to get to 6 wins every other year. If anything they should send Bob Bowlsby a gift basket.
Off Tackle Empire reached out to Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard for comment. Pollard responded with 10 seconds of wordless groaning before saying “It’s probably for the best.” He then set his phone down without hanging up and talked to himself as he filled out online job applications.
What is the saddest thing about Iowa State?
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Their Ronald McDonald uniforms
Their weird obsession with Iowa’s "ANF" helmet stickers
Matt Campbell calling Iowa "The Team Out East"
They lose to FCS Northern Iowa so often that it’s not even a big deal anymore
The mascot of a team named after an old timey tornado is a bird
They live in Ames