Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Oct. 8, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts on a Sunday in the Heartland after a Saturday with no Iowa football...
Empty. That's how bye-week Saturdays in the Klatt house feel. Make no mistake, while I enjoyed the opportunity to watch a lot of Big Ten football - the best kind, as far as this guy is concerned -- it's still much more fun to spend a good chunk of a fall Saturday cheering on the black and gold. And to think, our 2013 season will be put on a temporary hold twice! See the schedule HERE.
I'm no Major League Baseball umpire and nor do I want to be, but if you see the replay from above the third base line, I do think it kind of a stretch to call the pop-up hit by the Atlanta Braves Friday night in the eighth inning of their winner-take-all game with the St. Louis Cardinals an automatic out by invoking the infield fly rule. I know shortstops are trained to go get the ball, but if he is supposed to makes that catch, he should be getting a chunk of that leftfielder's paycheck, too. Of course, those who know me will quickly offer that that's just "Rick's inner Chicago Cub talking..." and, maybe, just maybe, there's an ever so thin sliver of truth to that.
Here's one thing I know about our football game at Michigan State on Saturday and another that I think I know: With respect to the former, if you like rock 'em, sock 'em, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust Big Ten Conference football - and count me among those who don't mind this brand of game at all - then you're likely to have your cup runneth over in delight. The Hawkeyes and the Spartans share in their belief that gaining yards via the ground is a good thing and so, too, is a make-'em-know-that-you're-playin'-football defense. With respect to the latter, I tend to believe this one will be a knock-down-drag-out that's decided during the final quarter. Games like these are typically won by the team that values the pigskin, keeps their penalties to a minimum, and has a confident placekicker. Current history, e.g. a look at this year's team statistics to date, gives the good guys a slight edge: HERE.
Now, on the flip side of a statistical analysis is the fact that often - like our two candidates for the nation's highest office and their staffs - you can make numbers say pretty much anything you want them to say. So here's one set that you need to dig a little deeper into the detail to find the real story: Iowa ranks 11th out of 12 in punting in the Big Ten with a average net of 33.5 yards, a full seven yards behind the league's "best," the Wisconsin Badgers. Now here's the twist: Exactly one-third - 8 - of Iowa's 24 punts have been downed inside the 20. Pair up that number with the number 1 as in just one UI punt thus far in 2012 has resulted in a touchback and you'd be hard-pressed to not like what freshman Connor Kornbrath and senior John Wienke have delivered to date. You can review the stats yourself HERE.
By the way, don't let this weekend's weather fool you. Winter is around the corner, but there are still more than a handful of beautiful fall afternoons awaiting us here in the Heartland which means there's a few more hours of yard work left on the John Deere.
Talk about turning a corner... Perhaps we saw the start of exactly that with Sharon Dingman's Iowa volleyball team this weekend. Iowa notched its first Big Ten win of the season Friday night with a victory at Indiana. The Hawkeyes then followed that "W" with a three-game sweep of No. 12 Purdue at West Lafayette last night. Three straight over a nationally ranked opponent on their floor...it just doesn't get any better than that.
Oct. 19 - The Blowout at Carver. Get your ticket. Be there. It's going to be a pretty entertaining evening. Bigger and better than ever...kind of like our two basketball teams.
Oct. 20 - ANF Game Day at Kinnick presented by the Iowa Farm Bureau and Black and Gold Spirit Night. Remember: Even number sections wear GOLD. Odd and UI students wear BLACK. The Nittany Lions are playing some pretty good football...so in addition to dressing appropriately, bring your "A" game to Kinnick, too.
Black and gold...red and green? So, to create a little excitement about the upcoming celebration of America's farmers, we decided to create an ANF-themed piece of computer "wallpaper." You can see it HERE. To tell our friends and fans about that artwork being available, we placed a short piece on our Facebook page: HERE. We knew there were preferences - some folks like red and others green - and we were going to wait until the week of ANF Game Day to introduce a green version. However, we've heard ya' Hawk fans, so don't be too surprised to see a green one become available this week. Also, for those of you, like me, who haven't spent much time (working) on the farm, what is pictured is a combine not a tractor. Big difference.
One of the many things I like about Hawk Talk Monthly - our new monthly e-mag - is the opportunity to showcase in a large format some of the photography that is captured at our home events. For example, our current HTM offers a great one spread over two pages of fullback turned running back Mark Wiesman. See pages 22 and 23 HERE.
Saturday's performances across the Big Ten did nothing to indicate anything other than the general consensus: The Big Ten is up for grabs. Penn State showed some real grit, coming from behind to defeat Northwestern and will head into its bye week - and Kinnick on Oct. 20 - with the mo' that comes with four straight victories. Meanwhile, Michigan State righted itself at Indiana. Had they not, Sparty would have been 0-2 in the league and not in a very friendly mood next Saturday when the good guys visit East Lansing.
Lastly, have your ordered your hoops tickets yet? You can do so online HERE.