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Paul Finebaum’s Comments About Iowa State Are Everything Wrong with Covering College Football

Maybe Ames doesn’t want him here either.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Semifinal Game Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve seen the comments by SEC mouthpiece ESPN commentator Paul Finebaum directed towards the Big 12, with some special shots taken at Iowa State for good measure. Just in case you haven’t though, let’s take a look at what he said:

Let me start by saying I know exactly what Finebaum is doing here. I know it’s designed to troll and get a rise out of Big 12 fans. But I’m going to dignify it here with a response. First of all, I’d like to know who these people are who told him to come to Ames. Please come forward so I can buy you all a beer, just not inside Jack Trice Stadium. Let’s take the premise that the Big 12 has absolutely no atmospheres that can compete with LSU, Alabama, or Georgia. So what? Have you heard anyone from the Big 12 make a rational argument that Stillwater is nicer than Baton Rouge? I have not. LSU is in a tier on their own. Good for them. What we are really talking about is the certainty that Texas and Oklahoma will struggle when they actually move to the SEC. That’s not going to happen because Florida’s stadium is bigger than Kansas State’s. Texas and Oklahoma are going to lose, and lose a lot, because those programs are high on their own supply. They got greedy. Texas can’t make it in this conference, so they figured we might as well make a lot of money to lose games somewhere else. The Big 12 is rolling along fine without these guys. We know that we’re going to settle into 3rd place in revenue when this round of realignment is done. Maybe it’s time for these media mouthpieces to understand what their employers already do, that the Big 12 is still worth something.

While we’re talking about the SEC, can we admit that conference is entirely propped up by Alabama and Georgia? I will concede that they have great stadiums. But what is that worth when you try and sell me on Texas A&M being special when they’ve actually won more there than they did in the Big 12? Outside of some offseason national championships, that program is basically a pyramid scheme for NIL money. Auburn is so broken that their fans try to fire every coach before he starts on the job. Lane Kiffin is good for a sound bite but Ole Miss ain’t winning anything important. Florida hasn’t won anything significant since Urban Meyer and Tim Tebow left.

Now, let’s address the Iowa State part of this. Our fanbase is intense. Our stadium atmosphere is great. To have this attitude straight out of 2003 about what Iowa State is, that’s just lazy. Finebaum bears it out by straight up admitting that he cannot imagine Iowa State being an intimidating place to play because he does not want to. You don’t want to come to Ames? Buddy, I don’t think you can handle Ames. For as wild as things may get in the South, I don’t know if they can touch the level of anger that can be generated by taking an unwarranted shot at us. We’re loyal, and Ames can be very mean to those who don’t respect it. We might not always win on the field, but we will tailgate our asses off and bring it in the stands. How about this? It’s your job to prop up Texas and OU now? Come to Ames in November when Texas is in town and the weather dips below your comfortable 75 degrees and tell me that Ames can’t be intimidating. Or at the very least watch it on tv (I’m sure your network will bury it on ESPN+ or whatever) and report back to me.

This honestly feels like we’re in the early stages of the next way of how college football is covered, where everything that is not the SEC or Big Ten gets pushed to the side. It’s weird to see this kind of talk from one of the Big 12’s media partners. What makes college football great is that all over the country, every Saturday in the fall, crazy things will happen at all levels. Passion from fan bases exist all over the country. The more this sport gets professionalized, the worse it will become. So while silly, it’s still important that we push back on the Finebaum’s of the world.