Well, this is strange: Iowa Athletics is "excited to share something" with us.
We are excited to share something with you all...stay tuned for the release on Monday the 17th!
— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) July 15, 2017
And it got stranger over the weekend.
Only one day away from our revealare you ready? pic.twitter.com/XdpHUCChTc
— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) July 16, 2017
This is certainly strange for Iowa, which usually shares big news in the opening statement of discrimination suits rather than through a Twitter promotional build-up. What could it be? The possibilities are endless:
- Kirk Ferentz contract extension
OK, that's probably it. We can shut this down now and go about our day.
But just in case it's not another decade of Captain Kirk:
- Alcohol sales at Kinnick: There's no way they promote this. If Iowa ever actually agreed to sell beer at football games, it would be announced at 4:54 p.m. on a random Friday afternoon in June through a press release written in four-point font titled "Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta Announces Promotion in Support of Wheat and Hops Farmers"
- Gary's Fired: Again, doesn't seem right to be promoting this, even if it's justified and everyone has been waiting for it for almost two months. Would be especially weird for an account that bans fans critical of Barta to be so jovial about his ouster.
- They finally gave Rick Heller a raise: This should have been done months ago, and probably would have been had Iowa not just paid the biggest field hockey buyout of all time. But Iowa has never announced coaching deals with this much anticipation, and as good as Heller has been, Iowa baseball still runs fourth or fifth in fan importance.
- Iowa has sold naming rights to Kinnick: This is the most likely non-Kirk Ferentz contract extension scenario. I don't think Iowa would be dumb enough to actually sell Kinnick's name off the stadium, what with a trophy of the guy right outside the door. But "Kinnick Stadium, presented by your Local Lennox Heating and Cooling Specialist" or "Kinnick-Pioneer Hybrids Stadium" is precisely the kind of move we'd expect. Because the only thing more sacred than the memory of a Heisman winner-turned-American hero is the other American heroes who got their pictures on currency.
- Yet another stadium expansion: There's nowhere left for Kinnick to expand, unless they are putting a second deck on the east stands. And while I wouldn't put it past Iowa to block the view of kids at the UI Children's Hospital next door (explanation: "the Cubs did it"), even they're not that bad at public relations.
- New basketball arena: Now we're talking! Did you guys notice how Gary Barta gave up the entire "Iowa Athletics is barely self-sufficient" scam last week when he told reporters that they have already budgeted to spend all the extra money they're getting from the Big Ten? And if you need to extend gigantic non-cash depreciation losses through the first half of the 21st century, what better than a gigantic capital project? Put the new arena out by the Hall of Fame, reduce the traffic and parking nightmare that is Carver Hawkeye Arena, and maybe have some acoustics that contribute to a real-life game atmosphere. Everybody wins (except for all those "give money to UNI" people who would have to explain why Iowa is still running at a loss in 2047).
- New football stadium, which was built in secret over the weekend: Only here because giving the fans a Tiger Hawk at midfield and then never playing a game on it is quintessential Iowa.
- The burrito lift is over: There have been some indications this is happening, which is strange because my burrito intake alone is keeping Panchero's in the black every year. The burrito lift has become one of those hokey, love-it-because-it's-so-bad things that would sincerely be missed.
- C.J. Beathard is coming back for a sixth year: Eligibility rules are complicated, so who knows: Beathard might have qualified for a super-secret second redshirt or a medical hardship for the Outback Bowl alone. But given that he's the highest-drafted Iowa quarterback in more than 20 years, I'm going to say he's better off sticking in San Francisco.
- "Coach-in-waiting" Brian Ferentz: Yes, Brian Ferentz has never officially called a play, but if there are two things that Barta has learned in his decade in Iowa City: An offensive coordinator's public support is never stronger than when he's never called a play, and giving your friends gigantic favors on your way out the door is good business.
- Iowa football is spinning off a sitcom: Have you ever wanted the wholesome family comedy of Full House combined with the madcap antics of Modern Family? Then do we have the show for you! Imagine this: A court orders that Iowa football has to live by the letter of its nepotism work-around, meaning that the offensive coordinator has to send playcalls to the athletic director, who then gives them to the head coach! Get ready for weekly telephone-game hijinx on False Start, this fall on the CW!
So...it's definitely a Ferentz contract extension, right?