CEDAR FALLS - Mark Farley listened to the ticket talk.
Then Northern Iowa's football coach delivered his own sales pitch. He said Monday the deal is not quite done.
Farley's Panthers go to Indiana State Saturday with a full agenda. Win and they clinch a share of the Missouri Valley Football Conference title. UNI would take a large step toward either the league's automatic berth in the Football Championship Subdivison playoffs or an at-large bid.
With the Panthers on the brink of qualifying for postseason play, the school outlined some plans for getting fans in the UNI-Dome seats. Tickets are now available to football season ticket holders on-line, at the UNITix Box Office or by phone. Students can make a purchase beginning Nov. 17. Beginning Nov. 24, the general pubic will be able to buy playoff tickets, if the Panthers make the FCS playoffs.
"Naturally, we anticipate some home football games," said Steve Gearhart, a senior associate athletics director at UNI.
He encouraged fans to buy online.
Gearhart added, "The system we used last year created some issues. Fortunately, we figure we have a system in place that's more user-friendly and much quicker. We anticipate, from what we've seen, that the system is going to work very, very well."
Farley listened to Gearhart, strode to the podium and offered a relatively mild version of the, "not so fast, my friend" rant that ESPN analyst Lee Corso uses constantly.
"You're not in until you're in," said Farley. "The last I looked, we've got eight wins and we've got some huge things we can accomplish, but those teams lining up against us are not gonna allow us to do those things without a fight."
Farley also tried to sell the crowd at Monday's press luncheon the notion that Indiana State is a team that's going to battle the Panthers, no matter how much UNI has at stake.
The Sycamores are just trying to win, period. Following the 35-21 defeat to Youngstown State last weekend, the losing streak now stands at 24 consecutive games. It's the longest slide in the nation regardless of division.
Farley, though, pointed out that Indiana State led the Penguins by two touchdowns before faltering. And he's learning about the Sycamores' improvement in a number of ways.
"I've had officials come up after games and say to me Indiana State has gotten better and better as the weeks have gone on," said Farley.
As for the Panthers, Farley once again stressed that his team has plenty to play for.
There are the postseason possibilities. UNI can also win consecutive conference championships for the first time in Farley's reign as head coach. Finally, he said it would be significant for the Panthers to win the first title since the name change from Gateway to Missouri Valley Football Conference.
If the attention span wanders during the week, Farley promised to issue some reminders.
"Our players will take this very seriously," said Farley. "And if they don't have the idea that this will be a tough game, they'll find out this week that it will be."
HOWARD HONORED - UNI junior tackle Austin Howard has been named the Missouri Valley Football Conference offensive lineman of the week. Howard graded at 93 percent in the Panthers' 42-0 rout of Missouri State and posted a pair of pancake blocks.
Contact Jim Sullivan at (319) 291-1434 or email@example.com.