- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007

If there’s one monotonous thing about college football, it’s the “every-game-is-a-big-game” mentality coaches love to espouse. It can border on farce at times, such as the 2005 regular season finale when 5-5 Maryland faced 5-5 N.C. State for what turned out to be the right to play South Florida in Charlotte on New Year’s Eve. So much about that sentence is wrong, on so many different levels, it’s best just to shudder and move on.

But at least in that case, the winner got another game and the loser started counting down the days to spring football. But when, say, 5-4 Arizona State played 6-4 Washington State or 7-2 Louisiana State met 6-4 Alabama last Nov. 11, was that really a big game for any of those teams? None of them had a realistic chance at a national title, and all were on their way to bowl eligibility, so what was so “big” about it.

Well, now there’s proof of how “big” an eight-win season can be for a middling program destined for multiple trips to the Little Miss Piggly Wiggly Sweet Potato Pie In the Sky Chopper Two News Bowl, and it’s a very small item that came across the wire about new Iowa State coach Gene Chizik’s contract.

Chizik, who came to Ames after a stint as Texas’ co-defensive coordinator, will get $100,000 for every regular-season victory beyond seven the Cyclones collect annually during his six-year contract.

Now that’s incentive to win what used to be a generally meaningless game.

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