Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Sept. 20, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: Later this month, the UI Athletics Department will officially introduce its new free daily e-newsletter, "Hawk Talk Daily" -- "HTD" for short. However, we decided to re-introduce a popular column from last year's "Official Sports Report" -- OSR -- in advance to celebrate the start of the 2010 college football season. If you want to make sure you are on the list to receive HTD, send an e-mail to email@example.com with "HTD" in the subject line. We'll keep you posted as the launch of HTD nears. Enjoy!
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Some random thoughts for the Monday morning after.
OK. Let me be (among) the first to ask this question: Raise your hand if you'd like to have a second chance at Arizona, say in the 2011 Rose Bowl? Folks, I for one would like to think that that's still very much a real possibility.
For teams in the Big Ten Conference - I believe -- that's always the No. 1 prize. Play well enough to represent the league in the Granddaddy of them all. Play well enough to be invited to make that trip over the Rockies and it means you've won the Big Ten, earned a ring, and lots of attention and affection and adoration and admiration as a team that is squarely among the nation's elite. And, if all the chips and checkers and dominoes just happen to fall correctly, maybe, just maybe, you're in the mix for something even grander. Heck of a deal.
Julian Vandervelde, Iowa's well-spoken, multi-talented senior offensive lineman, reminded all post-game of the fork in the road that will sit squarely in front of the Hawkeyes until they get to Swarm at Kinnick for the start of the Throwback Game against Ball State next Saturday. Turn left, and you've decided to cash it in. Turn right, you've opted to learn, grow and compete at a higher level. History indicates clearly that this is a program that typically makes right hand turns.
It probably went mostly unnoticed because of the laser-like focus fans of the Hawkeyes had on the event in Tucson, but Ron Rainey's Iowa soccer team did it again Friday night. The Hawkeyes put up a doughnut defensively. This time the victim was intrastate rival Iowa State by a 4-0 score. The win pushed Iowa's lead in the 2010-11 Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series to 5-2.
Interesting day in the Big Ten Saturday. A really gutsy overtime win by the Michigan State Spartans, a hold-on-to-your-hat win by the other Michigan team, and a head-scratching victory by Wisconsin. All things considered equal, it looks like we're a few weeks away from what promises to be another very interesting season in the nation's grandest conference.
My family and I checked in to the Hyatt-Regency last August just in front of Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio. An hour or so later while running an errand, I bumped into him and I introduced myself. We exchanged obligatory pleasantries before each going our separate ways. I left the exchange with this assessment: A pretty good guy and real competitor. So, obviously, best wishes to him and his family as he works to recover from the heart attack he suffered hours after his very gutsy call in the Spartans' overtime victory over the Irish.
Have you seen the outside of the new office space at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the four levels of glass that faces Newton Road, lately? Stunning. Absolutely stunning.
My son the UI freshman has predicted for over a year now that Broderick Binns was going to do exactly what he did late Saturday night. Too many pass attempts have gone through his hands the last few years. Sooner or later one was going to stick. And, as I wrote a week ago, throwing over or around Binns - who, obviously, is one heck of an athlete - is like throwing over corn silo. He also showed some Clayborn-like wheels on his run to paydirt. Heck of a deal.
ESPN's popular television show "SportsNation" will make its first visit to the UI campus Tuesday afternoon. Obviously, the vision is to duplicate the excitement of a visit of ESPN's GameDay. That's a tall task, but the guys at ESPN know they have to start sometime and it might as well be with a tour through four Big Ten campuses. If you're in town on Tuesday, join the fun on Hubbard Park at 3 p.m. You could walk away with some game tickets. The first 1,000 will be door prize winners: They'll receive an official 2010 Throwback Game t-shirt.
I remember one of the early visits to the UI campus by GameDay. A couple hundred fans at best gathered on what was then a practice field just to the south of the "Bubble." Clearly, like football programs, it takes time to build a champion...and GameDay is, in fact, a champion. There's nothing bigger.
My job doesn't require me to study the schedules of all teams eligible to play in the BCS championship game and to determine who will run their table and, therefore - presumably - be worthy of participation in that grand event. But, I am a big believer in the BCS system and would dare say that a Big Ten team that finished its regular season at 11 -1 with its only loss coming on the road to another BCS team who, for the sake of this discussion, goes 12-0 or 11-1 or even 10-2, would likely be a part of that discussion. My point? It's a long season where every game, every Saturday matters. For those who thought this Iowa team had what it took to play on that big stage, don't despair. My suggestion to you is to take one game at a time and cheer like heck each week for the good guys in black and gold. Who really knows what it all will look like come late November. The unpredictability of college football is, after all, what makes it so very special.
Random Thoughts is written by Rick Klatt, the UI Athletics Department's associate athletics director for external affairs, and is an exclusive feature of Hawk Talk Daily, the daily e-newsletter of the UI Athelics Department.