Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

It's Shawn again...

The Panthers continue to find ways to win.  UNI went on the road Saturday and beat a much-improved Missouri State team.  I just hope the Panthers aren't peaking too early.

It was great to see a number of players from Drake's 2008 NCAA tournament team back for the alumni game.  The Bulldogs' magical run is the best story I've covered during my nine-plus years working in television. Adam Emmenecker and Klayton Korver later joined Larry Morgan to call the Drake-Creighton game on Mediacom.  Both were outstanding as color commentators as well.  My seat just got a little warmer.

The Cyclones escape with a one-point home win over Colorado?  It's too easy to pile on, so I'm not even going to touch that one.

To borrow a line from the great lyricist Paula Abdul, the Hawkeyes take two steps forward, then take two steps back. Iowa got flat-out punked by a mediocre Michigan team.  The Hawks didn't hit their first field goal until the game was nearly 10 minutes old.  Todd Lickliter told The Des Moines Register, "If they can't get focused for Illinois (on Wednesday), then they shouldn't have taken the scholarships. We signed up for the Big Ten." That's as blunt as I've ever heard Lickliter.

Does anyone want to play in the Pro Bowl?  The Vikings Bryant McKinnie went AWOL in Miami and was kicked off the team.  How do you get kicked off an all-star team?

Until next time...


Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Shawn Terrell here...TGIF

Kurt Warner's retirement news conference left me with goose bumps.  I was struck by how at peace he seems with the decision to walk away. Warner didn't win a Super Bowl ring in his final season, but he still goes out on top in my opinion.  I agree with Warner's assessment that he played as well in his final two seasons as he did when he first entered the league back in 1999.  Warner hinted that he may pursue a career as a television analyst down the road, and he'd be a good one.  NBC already has 17 hosts for "Football Night in America."  What's one more?

Cael Sanderson's return to Iowa was mostly uneventful.  The Hawkeyes wiped the mat with the Nittany Lions, winning 29-6.  I can't understand why some try to turn Sanderson into a villian.  It just doesn't fit.  Maybe that's because I got the chance to know Cael on a personal level.  Back in the summer of 2008, I did a story with Sanderson.  He invited me into his Ames home like I was an old friend.  I don't remember much about the story.  What I do remember is how after the interview, Cael and I sat around playing video games and bs-ing for a good two hours.  I was sorry to see him leave Iowa State, but will always wish him the best.

So apparently it's "doppelganger" week on Facebook?  I'm not sure where the term originates, but the idea is to get people to change their profile picture to a celebrity they are often accused of looking like.  Sort of like SoundOFF look-a-like.  Mine is Kevin Bacon, circa "Footloose."  I had a professor in college that was so convinced I looked like Kevin Bacon that she actually had me stand up in front of the class and yell "Everybody let's dance!"  Needless to say, I got an "A."

Until tomorrow...


Thursday, January 28, 2010

  • Danica Patrick won't race in the NASCAR Nationwide series race at Iowa Speedway. Oh well. That's one fewer loss for her. Something tells me she's not famous for her driving.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing signs Johnston Junior Brett Moffitt... another sign what a rising star Moffitt is.
  • If you tried to take the real Kurt Warner story to a Hollywood producer, they'd tell you to , "Get out of here with that fairy tale. No one will buy that." It all really happened.
  • Say what you will about Todd Lickliter's strategy on the court, the care and caution he's shown Anthony Tucker is admirable.
  • Mark Phelps says UNI plays Washington Redskins style basketball. He does know the Redskins play football, right?
  • I still can't believe Cael Sanderson is the wrestling coach at Penn State. He'll lead the Nittany Lions at Iowa Friday night. Good luck, Cael. You'll need it.
  • J.D. Salinger is dead at age 91. It will be hard to notice he's gone. The recluse was the inspiration for James Earl Jones' character Terrence Mann in Field of Dreams. Please enjoy my favorite movie speech: (scroll down, hit play.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

  • It's a Panther state. At least it is in men's basketball. I thought red hot Drake would keep it close, but the Cats threw a bucket of water on the bulldogs and left no doubt about Iowa's best team. UNI is 18 and 2. Impressive... an easy team to like too.
  • The Hawkeyes have figured something out. Suddenly they're in every game, and winning a couple. Iowa didn't have the depth to keep #20 Ohio State on the canvas, but the Hawks had them on the ropes all night long.
  • Oklahoma played without two key starters, which seemed like a perfect recipe for a much needed Cyclone upset. If ISU had shown up for the first half, the Clones would have won. Nice rally, but too late. Chris Colvin had his coming out party in State's loss.
  • Props to the Cyclone women. Another win over a top 20 team for Bill Fennelly and co. ISU should build a statue of this guy.
  • It appears Kurt Warner will retire Friday. I'd like to see him keep playing, but he's one NFL player who has a fulfilling life beyond football. He's also had too many concussions. Might be time. When he's go into the Hall of Fame, I hope we see some Barnstormer jerseys in the crowd.
  • ESPN fired former Cyclone Paul Shirley for his cold-hearted comments about Haiti.  Ryan in Clive sent in the best of the many emails to and :
Shirley's attempting to apply logic where it doesn't exist. In the initial hours and days after a disaster such as the Haiti earthquake, the only priorities are to save lives, treat the injured, feed the hungry, provide shelter for the homeless and restore order where there is chaos. Period.

Then, and only then, should discussions about rebuilding begin. That's when conventional wisdom should be challenged. There is a time and place for that debate. And it's not now.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The first of our nightly sports updates...

The boss wants this updated nightly by whoever's anchoring. I like this job, so I'm going to do it. Eventually, we'll have to re-brand it because I'm not sure Chris and Shawn want to write under the heading, "Murphy's Law", though as an Irishman, I think they should be proud.

Instead of writing such a long column, we're going to try and pass on a few thoughts from the day prior to the 10 p.m. newscast, though there's no doubt some nights, it will be while Conan's on. Or Jay. Or Jimmy. Or Carson (Is he still on?). Or SNL. Or Andy and me.

Let's get started.

  • USA Today ranks Ames #4 in the nation. Think about that. There's no real way to know if Ames is that good, but the Little Cyclones have sure looked it. Any team with Harrison Barnes is going to be good, but he's surrounded by talented players. It's a real team.
  • Iowa basketball players are feeling good. They should feel good. They beat the snot out of Indiana in Bloomington. Wednesday the Hawks host Ohio State and Iowa has about 47 promotions going to try and get you to the game. Are any working? My hunch is football players signing Orange Bowl posters will do the trick.
  • Ranking the men's college basketball teams in our state right now, if you go be heat, it's 1) Drake 2) UNI 3) Iowa 4) Iowa State. I expect UNI will cool Drake off Wednesday night. Shawn Terrell will be there.
  • It was great to see Seneca Wallace over at Des Moines East today, even if he was sponsored by Visa. Wallace had a good message: save your money. Seneca told Chris Hassel the high school students made him feel old because they don't remember him as a Cyclone, they know him as a Seahawk. Has it really been that long?
  • Finally, I linked this column by former Cyclone Paul Shirley on Twitter (keithmurphy13). Paul says he doesn't think he'll give a dollar to Haiti and explains why. The column has upset a lot of people. Though I don't agree with Paul, I know some people do, and I give him credit for being honest. Check it out and let me know what you think.
I'll be back tomorrow night.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

  • Mark McGwire had five years to craft an admission/apology and that's what he came up with? Who's advising him---Bruce Van De Velde? That was terrible crisis management.
  • Giving McGwire the benefit of the doubt, I still don't see how he could convince himself that steroids didn't help him hit more home runs. All evidence to the contrary, including his own numbers.
  • If you're playing, when you should still be injured, you're cheating.
  • McGwire had many regrettable comments, but none more stupid than "I wish I hadn't played in the steroids era". Mark, you were the steroids era. No one forced you to put that crap in your system.
  • I realize the cheating was widespread, even understandable, but how can McGwire now teach baseball? He, and hundreds of others, made millions off cheating, and they haven't had to refund a dollar. Meantime, many fringe players who didn't cheat, never made it to the Majors, or had their numbers suffer in comparison to these cheaters.
  • Yeah, I'm not over it. I feel retroactively foolish for all that cheering I did in '98. How could we have been so stupid. When you see those highlights now, McGwire and Sosa look like video game cartoons --- nothing natural about it.
  • If McGwire thinks he would have hit all those home runs without taking steroids, why did he apologize to the Maris family? Because he knows somewhere deep that 61 is still the real record.
  • Don't even get me started on Bonds---worst offender of all. And he can't do a confession or apology, he'll perjur himself and go straight to prison.
  • Enough. I'm annoying myself.
  • I have been fascinated by the Late Night Talk Show Wars. What a mess. Here's a summary:

NBC execs mismanaged the Leno/Conan landscape from the start (shocking, I know), Leno didn't want to leave #1 show, Conan took over anyway, Leno moved to prime time where most every affiliate in America---we're a notable exception---suffered in late local news; meantime, Conan mostly stopped being funny and refused tips/advice as his numbers plummeted from where Leno's were, Letterman then had sex with most of his staff, got in front of the scandal, awkwardly confessed/apologized on air for being a "creep", and saw his ratings go up. NBC pulled plug on Leno experiment, tried to move Leno to 10:35 for a half hour, Conan wrote a smart, heartfelt, funny letter explaining why he would not move. Leno then looked like the heavy, anger energized Conan into his funniest shows in years, Jimmy Kimmel went on Leno's own show and skewered Leno as Kimmel was noticed for the first time since the video "F---ing Matt Damon" and Letterman relished opportunity to hammer NBC for passing on him for Leno back in the day, and somehow Jay looked worse than Dave, all things considered. Now, Leno gets what he wanted all along, The Tonight Show, Conan gets a vault of cash, potential future show at Fox, and a huge outpouring of support and sympathy, Letterman worries about losing his #1 status now that Jay's back, but Dave knows he helped make Leno look like bully (which, in a way, he is), Kimmel wishes this fight could continue forever, Jimmy Fallon stays silent and hopes The Roots never leave, and Carson Daly remains irrelevent. Now you're caught up.

  • You know Iowa's basketball program is having tough times when we're breathlessly reporting about the possible return of Jake Kelly. The part I found most interesting was Kelly considering a return to the University he left a year ago. It was kind of like one of those head-scratchers where a couple meet, fall in love, get married, then divorced, and then re-married... to each other. Shawn Terrell talked to Jake and learned Kelly isn't transferring, though it was clear from the conversation the thought had crossed him mind.
  • Congrats to Todd Lickliter and Iowa for knocking off Penn State. That's one more Big Ten win than many predicted.
  • As the Register's Randy Peterson noted, when Iowa State needs to end a long, ugly streak, the Cyclones call in their slumpbuster: Nebraska. (If you don't know the original use of the word slumpbuster, proceed with caution to a "slumpbuster" google search.)
  • Lane Kiffin makes Gene Chizik look loyal.
  • Love this quote from
"Apologies to Kurt Warner and Ray Lewis on being eliminated from the playoffs. My attention has been elsewhere with the whole Haiti thing."
  • I love watching Warner when he's in rythym, like he was against Green Bay, but he was beaten up so badly by the Saints, I wonder if it's time to retire. He's had a number of concussions, and played a lot more football than most.
  • "Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground". Can't get that stupid earworm out of my head. The real problem is I keep singing it, and I don't even like it. My wife is ready to hit me in the face with a frying pan.
  • I'm still trying to get the 85 minutes of my life back I wasted on Paranormal Activity.
  • Let the hype begin. Iowa is #5 in Sports Illustrated first college football poll for 2010. Hawks earned it too.