Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Sept. 23, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with "HTD" in the subject line. We'll keep you posted as the launch of HTD nears. Enjoy!
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Random thoughts for the Friday before we celebrate Evy and his era...
The sun came up on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... Sure, it hurts to lose a football game - and student-athletes to injury -- when you're "invested." I always say if you, as a fan, hurt, just imagine the hurt being felt by the coaching staff and the student-athletes? It's ours to the power of 10, 20 or 100, I'm sure, because those guys are REALLY invested...physically, emotionally, 24-7-365 invested. Invested in bold letters and underlined. However, the sun did indeed come up as they knew it would, the game was "flushed" as required by 24 -hour rule and it was on to Ball State for the guys inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. And, by the way, unlike some out there in Hawkeye Nation, I have a feeling there's a win or two or 10 still left in this team. Amazingly, some appear incapable of grasping that reality.
Saturday's game is one of eight - yes, eight - that will be available live on the Big Ten Network and its "overflow" channels. This six-pack-plus-2 of live college football is evidence of the fact that there appears to be an insatiable appetite for live college football on television even if, admittedly, in many cases, the audience is primarily comprised of the fan bases for the two teams involved. That formula works, too, because of the huge fan/alumni following all 11 - and soon to be 12 - members of the Big Ten Conference enjoy. The numbers prove this, too. This week's BTN lineup follows on the heels of last week's schedule that set a new viewership standard for BTN. A week ago the three-year-old television network beat all other afternoon football games on cable television in the Big Ten region. The noon ET football games, which featured home games at Illinois (Northern Illinois), Michigan (University of Massachusetts), Ohio State (Ohio), and Purdue (Ball State), averaged a 5.64 household rating (HH) in the eight television markets monitored by Nielson. The rating was 10 percent higher than last year's Big Ten Network record of 5.1 set on Oct. 3, 2009. BTN also earned its highest rating for a non-live-event program. The debut of Big Ten Icons, which aired after the football games last Saturday, attracted a 1.04 HH rating and was the highest rated non-event program in Big Ten Network history. Amazingly good stuff, this BTN.
The 2010 Throwback Game is almost upon us and, as I've stated before, I can't wait to see the 1960 team, err, the 2010 team dressed like the 1960 team, huddle and Swarm and then take care of business while giving the 70,000-plus in attendance a history lesson. Cool. Kudos to the "Shoe Guy" for hatching this brainchild and to fans of the Hawkeyes for embracing it.
Speaking of "embracing it," if you're heading to the Iowa-Penn State game next week, don't forget that it's Black and Gold Spirit Night and we're hoping you show your support for the Hawkeyes and give the national television audience a stunning picture of Kinnick by wearing black or gold, depending on which section of Kinnick you sit in. Click HERE and look for your section. Need more incentive than that to participate? How about this: One lucky fan who does where the right color will be among the finalists for a trip for two to the Hawkeyes' next bowl game. We've randomly selected seat locations and will begin tapping the shoulders of fans at the end of the first quarter until we tap on the shoulder of the lucky Hawk. Won't you be disappointed if your seat location is Numero Uno and you are not properly attired... I can hear it already, "You mean all I had to do was wear a gold (black) t-shirt? You gotta be kidding me!" Heck of a deal.
Younger fans of the Hawkeyes might scratch their head and wonder aloud who the heck this Evashevski guy is. If you're among them, click HERE and come to the game a little more excited about celebrating the "Evy Era." If you're up-to-speed on Evy's accomplishments, click HERE anyway and enjoy a wonderful visit back to the Hawkeyes' 1956 championship season thanks to Dick Lamb and Bert McGrane, authors of the book, "75 Years With the Fighting Hawkeyes."
I've written before about my admiration for Sharon Dingman, the UI's head volleyball coach. Her project of building the Hawkeyes into a championship program is a tall task given the fact that (a) the Big Ten Conference is, without question, the deepest and strongest women's college volleyball conference in the country and (b) it will only get deeper with the addition of powerhouse Nebraska next year. Dingman remains undeterred even while she prepares for tonight's Big Ten opener at Michigan knowing her team will likely start four very talented freshmen...talented student-athletes...but freshmen nonetheless. "I love this group and the '11 class, too," Dingman smiled earlier this week during a quick hallway conversation.
This week there was even more evidence of the progress going on around those of us who still call Carver-Hawkeye Arena home and "live" on the second floor. The southern-most hallway now is a path for big, strong guys with wheel-barrow's full of broken bricks and stuff being taken out of the practice space used by Tom Brands' national champions. As you know, the wrestling room - like Iowa's strength and training space - will expand significantly as a result of the multi-million revitalization of the home of many Hawkeyes.
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 Athletics Department.