Orange Bowl. Iowa Caucuses. A pretty big day coming up on Thursday. And, if you live on the east coast, you apparently think that the two might interfere with each other.

It started about a month ago in <span style=”font-style:italic;”>Newsweek</span> magazine. In a column that laid out where each Democratic candidate’s support was coming from, Jonathan Alter claimed that Barrack Obama might be in trouble because he had a lot of young people supporting him, and they might decide to stay home and watch the Orange Bowl, featuring fellow midwesterners Kansas, than go out and vote.

I laughed, thinking, “Silly East Coaster. Does he really think people from Iowa are going to miss out on the chance to determine who wins the first step in the nominating process to watch a team from another state? Does he know that Kansas and Iowa are different states?”
This week, an AP story highlighted some campaign dirty tricks, in which Iowans were receiving phone calls reminding them of an important football game that would be on TV Thursday night. The article pointed out that the Jayhawks from <span style=”font-style:italic;”>neighboring</span> Kansas were playing that night. Now Iowa and Kansas are close, but they don’t share a border, so can you really call them neighboring? Did anyone look at a map before sending that story out?

And it continues. Apparently Mike Huckabee, who should know better, said he wasn’t worried about people watching the game because it wasn’t going to be a good game anyway. I assume as an Arkansan he was inferring that he expects KU to roll over VaTech, but still he should understand that the game is not going to make a difference in who comes out and votes tomorrow. The weather, yes. An exhibition game that involves neither of the home state teams? No.

But, as I was catching up on my New York Times Magazines, I discovered I might be wrong. In a profile of Huckabee, a reporter sat in on a group of older gentlemen in Pella who meet each day to eat breakfast and talk about this and that. While going through the prospects for the various candidates, one of the locals said, “The Orange Bowl is that night. People might not vote.” So if even people from Iowa are thinking it, might it be true? Might Jon Alter and the rest of the east coast media elites have learned, in the weeks in Iowa, that KU is everyone in Iowa’s second favorite team? Or being the agreeable folks that they are, the Iowans, inspired by the dramatic change of fortunes for KU football, are genuinely interested and excited to see how the Fighting Manginos do in Miami?

All I know for sure is that I’ll definitely be switching away from the game during commercials to see what’s going on in Iowa.