Iowa City was the second stop on ESPN SportsNation's Big Ten Campus tour.
Sept. 21, 2010
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Popular ESPN personality Colin Cowherd said there was something special about Iowa fans early Tuesday afternoon. Just a couple hours later, the Hawkeyes proved him right.
The University of Iowa campus hosted ESPN's SportsNation today at Hubbard Park and hundreds of Hawkeye students and supporters joined hosts Cowherd and Michelle Beadle for the live broadcast.
"I'm a huge Iowa football fan," said UI student Hannah Smith. "I go to all the games so I thought I'd come out and show my support. I love the Hawkeyes."
The crowd's spirited commitment was genuine, but it was about to be tested.
As nearly 1,000 fans were rolling in to catch the show's preproduction walk-through, the rain started falling and a threat of hail delayed production and sent most of the crowd stampeding for cover. A short 50 minutes later, nearly the entire crowd had returned to welcome Cowherd and Beadle back to the stage with chants of "Let's go Hawks!"
"The Hawkeyes aren't scared off by a little rain," said UI student Cameron Cole. "The rain only bothers the average fan, and we're not your average fans. ESPN came for a show and we're going to give them a show."
The UI Department of Athletics rewarded the first 1,000 fans to arrive at Hubbard Park with a free souvenir t-shirt featuring the official logo of the Hawkeyes' "Throwback Game" against Ball State on Saturday. Tickets to all of Iowa's remaining home football games and other door prizes were also given away to randomly selected spectators.
"The whole production was pretty cool," said UI student Jordan Dankel, who may or may not have skipped class to celebrate the Hawkeyes. "The set-up is perfect and it's great to see this many students come out to support the Hawks."
Cowherd's daily radio show, The Herd with Colin Cowherd, also aired live at Hubbard Park from 9-Noon. He explained why the network selected the Hawkeyes as one of its college campus stops.
"We wanted to do a Big Ten tour while classes were in and we looked at all the schools and we thought Iowa doesn't get the publicity of someone like Ohio State. We found a combination of where school is in, so we knew we could get the students out, and it's a great school in the heartland of America (with) incredible support. Wisconsin and Iowa travel about as well as anyone in college football so it made a lot of sense."
The University of Iowa was the second for four stops along SportsNation's tour of Big Ten campuses. The show was televised from Wisconsin Monday and will continue with stops at Michigan and Penn State Wednesday and Thursday.