Thursday, September 30, 2010

New Schedule, Greenway, and Expanded NFL Season

The Big XII did a solid job with its new football schedule, with one major exception. I don't like that the order of the schedule wont' fluctuate from year to year.

Chad Greenway is one of the most beloved Hawkeyes of the Kirk Ferentz era. Greenway will be Iowa's honorary captain on Saturday, which should bring good karma... the Hawks were 4-0 against Penn State during Greenway's tenure at Iowa.

There should be a college football game involving BCS teams every Thursday during the season.

We're more aware than ever about the toll playing football takes on the body. Hundreds of former NFL players struggle to function normally upon retirement. Many have others have died prematurely. And the NFL's answer is to add two more games to the regular season? Unbelievable.


Tenth Inning, Social Network, MC22

  • Tip of the cap to Ken Burns and PBS (IPTV) for The Tenth Inning. It picks up where "Baseball" left off in 1994.  The past 16 years of baseball are exciting and infuriating at the same time.
  • Fran McCaffery needed to land Cedar Rapids Washington star Josh Oglesby. It's a start.
  • Drake had it women's basketball media day Wednesday, September 29. We missed it. I'll confess we've never put anything basketball related on the calendar prior to October, but with the schools moving everything up, we better start. Bulldogs, we owe you one. Sorry.
  • Bob Feller just added a pacemaker. Feller may be 91, but he's not going anywhere without a fight.
  • I'm watching the Defenders on my DVR. When did Jim Belushi morph into Johnny Bench?
  • I can't wait to see Secretariat.
  • The Social Network is not something that appeals to me, except Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay. Anyone who wrote A Few Good Men, The West Wing, and Sports Night knows how to use words. Especially A Few Good Men.
  • Yes, the video quality for the UNI at ISU football game on MC22 was poor, as spoofed on SoundOff, but if not for Mediacom the game wouldn't have been seen at all. Coverage of local games is the only reason I haven't switched to DirecTV because I really want the NFL Network.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reds Clinch, Free DJK, Cubs Cashgrab

  • The Cincinnati Reds win the NL Central. Who told you that would happen? Not me.
  • Baseball playoffs begin next week. Will we notice? I hope so. I'll jump on the Twins bandwagon.
  • Don't miss Shawn Terrell's story on the silencing of DJK at Iowa. It's on our sports page video player.
  • The Cubs will charge fans $50 to play on Wrigley Field after the Northwestern-Illinois game. Hey, they have to do something to pay for Soriano, Zambrano, and Ramirez.
  • Time to watch Ken Burns' Tenth Inning. Can't wait.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bears Win, The Real Ed Wilson, Tenth Inning

  • Now Packer fans know how Hawkeye fans felt after Arizona. Green Bay appeared the better team in Chicago, but the Packers self-destructed with bad special teams, foolish penalties, and lack of a running game.
  • Chris Hassel and Shawn Terrell are both big Bears fan. They're being set up.
  • @TheRealEdWilson on Twitter is not the real Ed Wilson. Many of you have asked if he is. Our Ed is not on Twitter, but the Ed who is does give a brief forecast. Monday's one word example: "MOIST".
  • Is it just me, or has the baseball season all but disappeared? Next to no buzz.
  • If you're a baseball fan, don't miss Ken Burns' "The Tenth Inning" on PBS Tuesday and Wednesday night.

Hangover Over, Throwbacks Rule, Childish Adults

  • Just what the doctor ordered for a hangover: Ball State.
  • LOVED Iowa's throwback uniforms, wish they were in gold instead of yellow, but why quibble. If the Hawkeyes had worn those uneys all along, they'd now be considered classics, like Alabama and Penn State.
  • Kirk Ferentz owns Penn State. After Saturday, he'll be 8-2 vs. Joe Paterno.
  • ISU did what a Big 12 team should do to one from the Missouri Valley: won easily. It didn't quite feel like 27-0, but it sure as heck was nothing like 2007 when UNI dominated Iowa State.
  • I don't think Austen Arnaud or Jerome Tiller has done anything to win or lose the starting quarterback job. If I were Paul Rhoads, I'd go with the hot hand. For now, that's Tiller, but I wouldn't hesitate to switch back. Nothing to lose, and coming off the bench could relieve some of the pressure Arnaud puts on himself.
  • The NFL must be relieved both Favre and the Cowboys won. The league wants those two in the playoffs in a big way.
  • Sunday I watched several adults yell at the officials at a pee-wee football game for first and second graders---6 and 7 year-olds. That's downright sad.
  • Here's a sign how great Pixar movies are. I could never get one of the older kids to accept an invitation to sit down and watch, say, Finding Nemo, Cars, Monsters Inc, or Toy Story---but if the teens come in when one's playing, they're always hooked. A good story is a good story.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Shutout Saturday

I love college football Saturdays. Standing in the rain is practically enjoyable when you're at Kinnick, even if the game is a dog, and the stadium is half empty.

Sure, Ball State is a terrible football team. But the Cardinals proved to be the perfect proverbial Bloody Mary for an Arizona hangover. The Hawkeyes got exactly what they needed out of the game. Kirk Ferentz feels more comfortable about his running back depth, and everyone was relatively healthy after 60 minutes.

Nice work out of the Iowa State defense. A shutout is a shutout, even when it comes against an FCS opponent. On top of that, the Cyclones defense provided most of the offense in the 'Clones 27-0 win over UNI.

Iowa State's offense is another story. It's very disconcerting ISU isn't putting more points on the board. With Tom Herman's track record and all the experience returning, the offense should be further along, and Austen Arnaud re-injuring his arm won't help the situation.

I love listening to the pre-game and post-game call in shows for both Iowa and Iowa State. Jim Zabel, Jon Miller and Chris Williams provide great analysis. And even though I'm not a big fan of WHO Radio's programming, I love the new Ronald Reagan promos that the station is airing. Good stuff.


P.S. Formatting issues with the blog... sorry about the lack of paragraph seperation.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ryno and Craig.

Ryne Sandberg is reportedly a candidate to be the Toronto Blue Jay's new manager. Chicago is Ryno's top choice, but if the Cubs give him the run-around, don't be surprised if he bolts for Canada. Toronto would be paradise compared to the year Sandberg spent in Peoria.

Craig Brackins has been a member of three NBA organizations in the three months since he was drafted. I can't decide if that means Brackins is better than projected, or if teams are quickly realizing he was over-hyped at Iowa State.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bowyer, Overtime, and the Blues

I admit my interest in NASCAR dwindles quite a bit once football season starts. Now, the driver I was pulling for in the chase is all but out of the race. Clint Bowyer was docked 150 points after his winning car from last weekend failed inspection. Bowyer drops from 2nd to 12th in points, which ends his quest for the Sprint Cup. I met Bowyer and his car owner, Richard Childress, at the the Iowa Speedway this summer. Bowyer was a riot in the 20 minutes or so I spent b.s.-ing with him. Never mind the fact that he hit on every intern in sight during that time span...

Mark Dantonio's recent heart attack made me curious about how many hours college football coaches work per week during the season, and how much stress is involved with the job. I broached that topic with Kirk Ferentz on Tuesday, but Ferentz really didn't want to go down that road. If I had to guess, I'd say Ferentz works close to 100 hours per week during the season. But he also makes nearly $4 million per year, and Ferentz is smart enough to realize how it would sound if the state's highest-paid employee was lamenting his long days. Ferentz admitted in generalizations that he works long hours, but also pointed out that lots of people work long hours or hold down two jobs. Such a soundbite doesn't make for an interesting story, but it's a smart play on Ferentz's part.

I'm headed over to Blues on Grand to check out Matt Woods and the Thunderbolts. It's a shame Des Moines will have one less place to listen to live music in just a couple weeks.


Hamton Out, Letterman In, Twins Hungover

  • I feel for Jewel Hampton. Rehabbing an injury is both gruelling physically and mentally. Hampton worked so hard to get his right knee back in shape, only to blow out his left. He could still play dozens of football games at Iowa, but I'm sure that seems so far away right now to  Jewel.
  • Next man in. That's the mantra at Iowa, but it's not clear who is the next man in at running back. A-Rob then...
  • Remember when we wondered how Iowa would find enough carries for three potential starters: Robinson, Wegher, and Hampton. And then there was one.
  • Iowa State's offense isn't working well, so that makes Jerome Tiller the answer, at least in the minds of many fans. That's an oversimplification, but at this point it can't hurt to give Tiller some reps.
  • Why is anyone surprised to learn Letterman was in on the Joaquin Phoenix hoax?
  • Five days, and I still haven't seen The Town.
  • I'm headed to the Hangover game Wednesday. My friend Ryan and I were hoping to see the Twins clinch, but Tuesday night the Twins won and the White Sox lost, so the players celebrated, which means we get the hangover game. I can't wait to see Target Field anyway. My ticket cost $85! Never thought I'd pay that to see a Twins game.
  • It's a triple-header: Twins, The Town, Arcade Fire.
  • Is Lethal Weapon 2 really better than Lethal Weapon? Our KXnO radio listeners backed Andy on this one.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

SI Dazzles, Kurt Dances, Hawks Recover

  • Drew Brees is now in the conversation of best NFL quarterbacks. You knew when he had a minute to work with, the Saints would beat the 49ers.
  • Scary end to the season for Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin. He's still in the hospital after being pierced in the chest with a shattered bat. If the maple bats are a problem, time to rule them  out.
  • I'm going to my first Twins game at the new Target Field Wednesday. As fate would have it, Sports Illustrated will put out its new issue that day with this unbelievable cover. It's a wow.
  • I can't believe while I was watching Monday Night Football, Kurt Warner was on another channel dancing. I did watch the season Shawn Johnson was on, and even hosted the DWTS tour event here in Des Moines, but I can't get through another season. Not even for a good guy like Kurt. My mom and sister will have to represent me.
  • Hawaii Five-O looks like a hit to me, thanks in no small part to the star turn from Scott Caan. He has the same mannerisms and charisma of his father, James.
  • The Event is just waiting for me to watch,  but I promised my wife I wouldn't watch it until she gets back from a business trip. Is it as good as advertised?
  • I still can't believe Iowa lost at Arizona. I was certain the Hawks would win, which is why I don't gamble. Arizona was the better team Saturday night, but I'm stunned Iowa played that sloppy. Big Ten season hasn't even started yet. Plenty of good times ahead for Hawk fans.
  • Iowa State just isn't a good football team yet. The Cyclones have a must-win if there ever was one against UNI.
  • My son, Colin, had his first football game. He played linebacker. When I asked him his favorite part of the game, he said, "No one tackled me!". Again, he was on defense. Still learning, but having fun. What else matters.
  • From the "Where are they now department", former Roosevelt basketball star Josh Ansah started his own clothing line. He appears to have stayed in good shape too:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hawkeye Heartbreak, Injury Limbo, Cyclones Stumbling

What a weekend. I'm still coming to grips with the fact that Iowa lost at Arizona. I felt much more confident about this game than I have about any big Hawkeye game in a long time. Honestly, I have no idea what to take from the loss. Should I be encouraged that Iowa played that bad, and still had a real chance to win the game, against a really good team? Or should I be wary of all the problems that arose? Special teams is clearly a major problem, right now; but what about the offensive line looking like bowling pins on that final drive, or the defense (which was supposedly one of the best in the nation) completely collapsing in the final minutes? We'll find out, but it won't be this week. Ball State is the opponent. Snooze....

After playing BS, the Hawkeyes face an all-out onslaught --- their first four Big Ten games, are against ranked opponents. Oh, and then there's #2 Ohio State at the end of the year.

There success moving forward could hinge on the results of Jewel Hampton's MRI. Late reports from's Rob Howe, say it's not looking great. Ferentz told Howe that Hampton will be out "a while", and linebacker Bruce Davis could be out for the season. We should learn more on Monday.

Paul Rhoads says his team isn't practicing hard enough. They better ratchet up the intensity, this week. A loss to Northern Iowa, at home, would spell disaster for the Cyclones.

I thought Austen Arnaud played his best game of the season, against Kansas State --- but it still wasn't good enough. This offense shouldn't be having this many problems. ISU is ranked 82nd in passing, 84th in rushing, and 103rd in point per game. That's not good for any BCS team, especially a BCS team with such an inexperienced defense.

Did you see what happened to Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin? It's actually worse than it looks.
Colvin is in stable condition, but he's expected to remain in the hospital for several days. His season is over.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Cyclone Analysis

Iowa State's uber-tough schedule doesn't leave the Cyclones much margin for error. And Saturday in Kansas City, ISU lost a win-able game. That doesn't mean the Cyclones won't go to a bowl game... it's too early for that kind of talk. But for every win-able game the Clones lose, they'll need to upset a favored team. What game could atone for Saturday's loss? Texas Tech, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska? See what I'm getting at? It's an uphill climb from here on out.

I shouldn't be surprised that much of the blame for the K-State loss is being heaped on Austen Arnaud, but I am. The general sentiment in SoundOFF emails and on message boards is that ISU would be better off with Jerome Tiller under center instead of Arnaud. I think Tiller is a serviceable quarterback, but what exactly has he done to prove he's a better option than Arnaud? One touchdown pass against Nebraska? And to be clear, being enamored with the back-up quarterback is not a phenomenon exclusive to Cyclone Nation. I just don't understand why fans can't trust the head coach, in this case Paul Rhoads. He's a sharp guy, and he's been at every workout, practice, and game for the last two years. If Rhoads thinks Arnaud gives Iowa State its best chance to win, take his word for it.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Maroon Machine, Hawkeyes Roll, Lacey Wins

  • Good gosh, Dowling is good. The Maroons keep blowing out ranked teams. Hit me back if Dowling doesn't go undefeated and win the state championship.
  • College football Saturday predictions: K-State keeps I-State reeling, Iowa makes people wonder why Arizona was favored by 1.
  • Great to see Seneca Wallace starting Sunday for the Browns.
  • I'll take Peyton over Eli in Manning Bowl II Sunday night on channel 13 (followed by SoundOff!).
  • Reggie Bush says giving back the Heisman trophy is not an admission of guilt. Right.
  • Did you know former Cyclone Alison Lacey just won a WNBA title with Seattle? Lacey didn't play much after a season of ice cold shooting. She was 4-35 from the field.
  • No Gators arrested the past few days.
  • Derek Jeter didn't cheat. The baseball culture is such that you're encouraged to pretend you caught a ball when you know you trapped it, or take a base any way you can. Baseball is not golf. However, Jeter didn't need to fake the injury. That's too much.
  • My son Colin plays his first Little All-American football game Saturday. This is good news. Colin is tired of practice. He told me tonight, "Dad, I think I need to be seven, not six." Most of the time, he's having fun with football at six.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Movie Night and Mr. November

The Iowa football team normally has team meetings in the hotel the night before a game, except when the Hawks play a night game. In that scenario, the team meetings are moved to Saturday so the players aren't laying around the hotel all day with nothing to do. In other words, the Hawks have Friday night open this week. The plan is for the entire team to catch a movie in Tucson. The seniors get to pick the flick, which Ricky Stanzi says is a double-edged sword. Stanzi told me it's nice to have control over the movie, but it's also a pain because all the underclassmen have been pestering him all week about which movie he and the other seniors will pick. Apparently, James Vandenberg started texting Stanzi last Sunday inquiring about the movie. Stanzi said linebacker Jeff Tarpinian is the movie buff on the team, and Tarp will recommend "The Town," both because it looks exciting, and also because the only other option might be "Eat, Pray, Love." Good choice, Tarp.

Derek Jeter's Oscar-winning performance on Wednesday night is the latest hot-button sports topic. I don't have a problem with Jeter pretending that he was hit with a pitch, but did he really have to feign an injury? For crying out loud, the trainer nearly dragged Jeter back to the clubhouse for x-rays.


Miller & Deace Done, Ines Turns Heads, Doing It for the Snookies

  • Reggie Bush gave back the  Heisman before they took it away. Let's not mistake this for nobility.
  • "Miller & Deace" in the morning will be missed. Chemistry and friendship can't be faked. They had both. They're leaving for the right reasons, but it's terrible timing for listeners, and KXnO. The show ends two weeks into the most anticipated football season in Hawkeye history.
  • Jon Miller is a rising star on the Big Ten Network. Look for his show "The Pulse" on Thursday evenings. (also the night you'll see Jon's Hawkeye Insider reports on our newscasts)
  • U of Miami is the latest school to tell football players they can't tweet on twitter any longer. Iowa never started. Iowa State still going strong.
  • Can't wait for Patriots vs. Jets this weekend.
  • I'd also like tickets for Cubs vs. Red Sox at Fenway Park next season for the first time since the 1918 World Series. Babe Ruth played for the Sox. He's the last pitcher to bat in a spot other than ninth in the World Series (sixth).
  • Ines Sainz is a stunning woman. She knows that. She uses that. She still doesn't deserve harassment. However, if she wants to be taken seriously as a professional, she needs to dress like one.
  • One of our boys saved his money like never before. The reason: Halo Reach.
  • My son Colin asked repeatedly to play tackle football this season. Since he's only six, I did not think that would be possible, but Des Moines' Little All-American Football League added six year olds this season. Here's Colin before this first practice in pads Monday night:

  • Beaverdale Fall Fest is this weekend. Raygun has the shirt to go with it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Go West Young Men, Parker Parked, Cyclones Dissed

The Hawkeyes haven't won a football game west of Texas since the 1987 Holiday Bowl. Iowa is 0-8-1 over the last 23 years, including an embarrassing 44-7 defeat at Arizona State in 2004. This years team isn't too concerned with the trip to Arizona. As Tyler Sash put it "West is just the opposite of going East".

Norm Parker won't be making the trip to the desert. Iowa's Defensive Coordinator is stuck in the hospital suffering from severe back pain. The 68-year-old has diabetes, and his health has been declining over the last few years. I'm sure his players would love to win one for the ol' coach on Saturday.

Some Cyclone fans were wondering why Austen Arnaud wasn't benched after his third pick at Iowa. In 2009, Rhoads brought in Jerome Tiller to close out the game, but not in 2010. I asked Rhoads after the game if he gave any thought to sitting Arnaud down --- he replied with an emphatic "NO".

UNI head football coach Mark Farley is calling this Saturday's game against Stephen F. Austin the "toughest" game on his teams schedule. It's a schedule that a week from Saturday includes Iowa State. I have a hard time believing that a team that lost to Texas A&M by 41 is better than Iowa State. I guess the Cyclones did lose by 25, down there, a year ago. We'll find out in a couple weeks.

And now it's time for the news blooper of the day


Monday, September 13, 2010

Hawks Flyin High, ISU Returns to KC, Jets Crash

Well, we're back. It's hard to believe it was already a week ago, tonight, that we kicked off RVTV in Winterset. This was my fourth tour on the RV road show, and it was definitely the best one yet. Not only have we figured some things out along the way, the towns and communities we visit have too. A huge thank you to all the folks in Winterset, Centerville, Albia, and Osklaloosa. Only 363 days until the next Cy-Hawk showdown in 2011.

I said before the game that I would be very surprised if the Cyclones won. After the game, I couldn't stop saying how surprised I was that Iowa handled ISU as easily as they did. By the time the 'Clones ran their 7th play on offense, it was already 21-0. At one point in the second quarter, the scoreboard read: Iowa 222 yards, ISU -2 yards. The Hawkeyes scored touchdowns on their first four possessions. Kirk Ferentz said it was the best a team of his has looked since 2002. I agree.

Iowa's defense is expected to be one of the best in the nation, but the offense has been even better through two games. Last season, the Hawks ranked 87th in the country, averaging just 23 points a game. This season, they're averaging 28 points --- in the first half.

This Saturday's game, at Arizona, will be one of the toughest tests the Hawks will face all season. Iowa is only favored by one point over 18th ranked Arizona. The U of I says there will be at least 12,000 black and gold clad fans in the middle of 'Zona's "Red-Out". Before the season began, I thought the Hawks might lose this game...but after seeing them up close and personal in week's one and two, I can't pick against them.

The ticket search engine released its list of the most in-demand NCAA football tickets over the first two weeks. Topping the list was the Iowa Hawkeyes. LSU, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame rounded out the top 5. Where you at Nebraska?

Iowa State also has a huge game. The Cyclones open up Big 12 play at Arrowhead in Kansas City against Kansas State. If you're an ISU fan, you know exactly how last year's game ended, so I won't even both you with the details. I called the NIU game a must-win, and I'm going to label this one as a must-win as well. If the Cyclones can bounce back with a win, a bowl game is a strong possibility. This could be that one game that means the difference between a 5 win, and a 6 win season.

A big thanks to Austen Arnaud for ruining the season finale of Entourage. I was sifting through the tape of Monday's press conference when AA stepped in front of the mic and went on and on about ---- well I won't give it away, in case you still have it on DVR like me.
Arrowhead Stadium is absolutely rocking, tonight. It's becoming more and more rare for an NFL stadium to match the electricity found in its college counterparts, but Arrowhead is the exception.

Am I the only one that feels the Jets are a more entertaining team off the field, than on it? I couldn't turn away from "Hard Knocks" on HBO, but their brutal offense made me turn away from Monday Night Football. Wake me up when the game is over so I can hear Rex Ryan at the podium.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


...for RVTV. Please see RVTV blog.

Back next week.



Monday, September 06, 2010

RVTV in Winterset

First stop of the RVTV Road Trip, and Winterset put pressure on the other towns. These nice folks did it up right.

The RVTV Cy-Hawk street party brought out far more people than we expected on Labor Day. They sold nearly 400 sandwiches before running out before the 6 p.m. news even started.

Winterset also borrowed our state fair Cast Your Kernel idea to raise money for the Quarterback Club. One quarter, one vote. The Hawkeyes won. I don't think that's the last time we'll hear that this week.

As usual, I had someone somewhat angrily confront me immediately about my obvious bias. This time it was "Hawkeye". It's running about even this year, but that will change based on who wins.

After the live report at 5, a big storm came through and nearly blew us all away. We thought we might have our first cancelled live shot in 10 years of RVTV (can't put the satellite dish up when there's lightning), but at 6:10, the rain moved out, the sunshine back in, and Winterset smiled. Surprisingly, about a hundred fans stayed during the storm. They didn't stay dry.

First day can be tough because it's the first set-up, but thanks to Bob & Jo's RV, we know the RV from last year. Only problem, the model is called "Cyclone". Yes, nearly every Hawkeye fan notices.

Talk of the town here was definitely Chris and Andy's Stivers Ford jingle. Apparently more than a few people nearly lost it laughing. My favorite comment was from a sweet elderly lady who said, "I love SoundOff. Always have to watch it. I thought the Stivers thing was really funny... racy, but funny."

As I type this, there's a teenage girl outside the RV who is so excited that, "Ed Wilson is here! I can see him!" It's me. I'm playing the part of Ed Wilson.

Off to  Centerville in the morning. That town has a tough act to follow. I can't say enough about Winterset. Nice people, and a beautiful town.


RVTV, Downright Proud, Hawkeye State

  • Today's the Day: RVTV. We're on our way to Winterset. If you're near one of the covered bridges, drop by and say hello. We'll be in the town square.
  • We've never had more positive, immediate feedback than we did after last night's SoundOff Stivers Ford spoof. A number of people laughed out loud, and you can count Andy and me in that group. It's also great free pub for Stivers because several of the emails said they felt like driving to Stivers and buying a car. (Our thanks to Stivers for providing the now familiar music). One problem: I can't get the song out of my head. You can watch the video in the SoundOff section of (It's an 11 p.m. skit, and not for small children.)
  • I thought Iowa did exactly what a top ten team should do Saturday against an overmatched opponent---the Hawks had the game won by the end of the first quarter. That's a big difference from last season. Iowa looks improved from the opener a year ago, and so does Iowa State.
  • Iowa is a 14.5 point favorite. Given the recent history, that seems like too much. Iowa State is almost always the underdog, and usually covers, though not last year. I don't bet, but rivarly games are always tough to figure. Three years ago at RVTV, we couldn't find a Cyclone fan in Ames who gave 0-2 Iowa State any real chance of winning. The Cyclones shocked the Hawks without scoring a TD. No outcome could ever surprise me more.
  • I think Iowa is clearly a more talented football team. Iowa State needs a go-for-broke game plan, flawless execution, and a clear win in the turnover battle (see Nebraska). If that happens, the Cyclones have a chance; otherwise, it's a Hawkeye State for the third straight year.
  • Time to hop in the RV. Enjoy Rivalry Week! Who knows how long we'll have it.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Thoughts on Iowa vs. Eastern Illinois

The Hawkeyes looked good in their season-opener, but not too good. I think Kirk Ferentz is happy about that. Iowa played like a Top Ten team much of the game, but several mistakes illustrate that the Hawks (like most Ferentz teams in September) are still a work in progress. The 27 point win over Eastern Illinois gives the team confidence, but the mistakes and turnovers should keep the Hawks from getting over-confident.

Ferentz has his most talented team since 2002, and Ricky Stanzi is one of the main reasons why. Stanzi is the unquestioned leader of the Hawkeyes, which is why a hush fell over Kinnick when he limped off the field. Even after James Vandenberg replaced Stanzi and continued Iowa's scoring drive, the silence at Kinnick was noticeable. It wasn't until Stanzi returned the following series that the 70 thousand inside the stadium (and hundreds of thousands across Iowa) collectively exhaled. Stanzi said after the game that he merely tweaked his knee, and there was no structural damage. But I wouldn't be surprised if he underwent an MRI anyway, not that we'd ever know about it.

Stanzi's injury aside, I saw a lot of growth in Stanzi's game on Saturday. He had a better rhythm in the pocket, his release seemed a fraction quicker, and I counted at least three times where Stanzi "lived to play another down," meaning he threw the ball away or tucked it and ran when his receivers were covered. Most importantly, he didn't throw an interception, although his fumble inside Eastern Illinois' five yard line surely cost the Hawks points.

Another player that I thought improved significantly from the Orange Bowl was Adam Robinson. There was so much talk about Jewel Hampton and Brandon Wegher in the off-season that maybe a few people forgot A-Rob set a freshman rushing record last season. When Robinson gets through the line and to the "second level," it's nearly impossible for just one player to bring him down. And he has a knack for spinning and always falling forward for positive yards. And although A-Rob doesn't have game-breaking speed, a couple different times on Saturday I saw a burst of acceleration that wasn't there last season.

My biggest concern going into the season was the offensive line, and the unit proved to be a little shaky on Saturday. The good news there - the offensive lines under Ferentz, like most of his teams, tend to improve dramatically as the season wears on. And getting Adam Gettis and Josh Koeppel healthy will certainly help the depth.

Ready for RVTV?


ISU Improved, Drunk Fans, Iowa Staycation

Iowa State looked like a much better football team in game one than it did a year ago. I can't imagine a staff more suited to the challenges in Ames than Paul Rhoads and crew...

As Austen Arnaud goes, so goes the season. He looked much better in the first quarter against Northern Illinois, but made some familiar mistakes after that. Arnaud can do that and still beat a MAC team, but it won't be enough against Iowa, and many others on the Cyclone schedule. I'm sticking with my 6-6 prediction, which despite the match of last season, would mean Iowa State is much better...

I have Iowa going 9-3 and many Hawkeye fans are insulted by that. Those are high expectations. 9-3 is a solid season...

Good gosh some fans get too drunk. I had several people who couldn't form sentences trying to talk to me Thursday night in Ames. I don't mean over-served, I'm talking about wet your pants, pass out in your own vomit drunk. Too much...

Iowa State has really improved the overall experience of going to a game. (The drunks are at every stadium, not just Jack Trice:)...

Nearly all sports and leagues---even the NFL---are experiencing a drop in ticket sales. Not the Hawkeyes. Every football game sold out. People will find the money somehow if there's enough anticipation. There's never been more in Iowa City...

The U of I commits, potentially, more than $40 million to Kirk Ferentz. He's worth it too. It's all relative, but Ferentz helps make a fortune for Iowa and Johnson County (estimated at $100 million a year). The contract extension through 2020 doesn't guarantee Ferentz will stay at Iowa---he can still leave whenever he wants---but it does appear more likely he's at his final head coaching job. Why would he leave?...

Iowa takes on Eastern Illinois without five starters. The Hawks could win this without 22 starters...

RVTV starts Monday. Looking forward to some male-bonding, not looking forward to catching my annual cold. Happens every year...

Watching the Deer Hunter as I blog. What a great movie. So much said without dialogue. If you haven't seen it, make sure you do. Clear out a night with no distractions. Phenomenal...

We're taking a staycation this week (yes, I hate that word too). Water park all the way in Des Moines. The things we do for kids...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Honest Abe and Viral Video

To put a different slant on the timeless Abraham Lincoln quote, "you can't make all of the people happy all of the time."  That was my thought process before the Big Ten Conference announced its new football divisions.  Full disclosure, I didn't spend the last two and a half months analyzing and hypothesizing the 567 different combinations of possible divisions, but I think the conference did a pretty good job.  It's kind of like the NCAA basketball tournament bracket - there are too many factors involved for the seeds and sites to make perfect sense for all 65 teams in the field.

Is it a little sad to know that Wisconsin and Iowa will no longer meet every year?  Sure.  But some collateral damage (in this case, the Heartland Trophy) was to be expected.  The Hawkeyes will still battle for Floyd of Rosedale annually, and a new rivalry has emerged; Iowa and Nebraska will meet in the final game of the regular season the next two years (and hopefully every year). At least from the Hawkeyes perspective, the new divisions seem pretty fair.

Shifting gears, I've watched the video of Josh Koeppel's motorcycle colliding with a truck at least two dozen times.  (If you haven't seen the police video, check out the video player on the sports page at Why are most humans (myself included) fascinated with, for lack of a better term, graphic video?  Thankfully, and miraculously, the Iowa lineman picked himself up off the pavement almost immediately.  Koeppel was treated for minor injuries and released after just a couple hours in the emergency room.  But I have a feeling if the outcome hadn't been as fortunate, a large number of people still would have watched the video. Remember how popular that "Faces of Death" video was? Something to think about.

College football starts Thursday night.  I'm ready.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

RVTV Schedule

The RVTV road trip to the Big Game begins Monday (is it really here already?). Our sweet Bob & Jo's RV arrived Tuesday. Cousin Eddie wishes he had this rig. The tour stops are finalized. Here's where you'll find Andy, Shawn, Chris, and me each night, and until we can wake Chris up, each morning:
  • Monday: Winterset
  • Tuesday: Centerville
  • Wednesday: Albia
  • Thursday: Oskaloosa
  • Friday: Iowa City (duh)
We'll be in the town squares in each of the four central Iowa towns, and by the stadium in Iowa City. Please stop by for our live broadcasts at 5, 6 & 10. And yes, we really sleep in the RV.