Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts
Sept. 6, 2010 -- Labor Day 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 -- this week 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 - Some additional random thoughts for a Labor Day and, of course, the Monday of arguably the biggest week in the state of Iowa are fans of college football, Iowa-Iowa State week.
OK. I have to admit, while I work for the UI and for the Iowa Hawkeyes, I don't study the two-deeps. Frankly, my job doesn't really require that level of expertise on who will be lining up on Saturday. I trust our coaches...and cheer like mad on Saturdays. So, when a young man named Brad Herman was on the receiving end of a beautiful spiral by Ricky Stanzi Saturday that fell just a yard shy of a 37-yard connection for a very quick six, the lone thought running through my head was along the lines of, "Well, it looks like we've restocked at tight end." The catch was the second as a Hawkeye for the junior from Metamora, Ill. He also added two more in what was a glorious day at Kinnick for him and a glorious day at Kinnick for UI tight ends.
Did I say it was a glorious day at Kinnick Saturday? John Campbell, Cedar Rapids' KCRG-TV9's talented and down-to-earth sports director, and I were visiting in our normal location at kickoff (field level, northeast corner) and couldn't recall a prettier season opener weather-wise - barely a wisp of a cloud and temperatures that struggled to climb past 70. Heck of a deal.
I chalk this one up to the world wide web which gives us the chance to read more about more than ever before: I find it rather amusing the discussion that because Michigan and Ohio State are to be in different divisions of the new Big Ten means those two storied programs will get to play a "second time each year." It's said and written as if it is a fait accompli -- "a thing already done," according to Webster's. Hmmmm. Seems to me there's a few coaches and groups of student-athletes in both of the league's new divisions that kind of look at that as a rather significant assumption.
Not that it matters one iota, but, just in case you were curious, I think the commissioner, his staff and our directors of athletics did a fantastic job with that difficult task. Change is difficult...but I agree with many: It won't take long for this seismic shift in the grandest conference in America to feel like it's always been...kind of like the addition of Penn State not so long ago.
I'm not sure what Kirk and the staff did during pregame, but whatever it was, please do it again and again and again. The Hawkeyes busted out of the Swarm sharp, very sharp as evidenced by that very efficient and well-executed opening drive.
I'm not going to dwell on it, but I hope fans of the Hawkeyes and friends of the University of Iowa read with a sense of pride the recent report of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau study on the economic impact seven home University of Iowa football games has on the community my family and many friends call home. $100 million -- $14-plus million a game. Heck of a deal.
And speaking of the CVB, a wonderful organization that does wonderful things for the greater Iowa City/Coralville community, Josh Schamberger and his gang - a group that had a great deal of support from Dale Arens, the UI's licensing director and the man in charge of the UI Athletics Hall of Fame - did it again. FRYfest 2010 was a raging success and included a world record for participants in a single version of the "Hokey Pokey," led, in spirit, by the head coach himself, Hadyen Fry, who opted out of the dance, but declared the more than 7,000 participants champions during the post-dance celebration. Heck of a deal.
A neighbor was kind enough to shout out a "Go Hawks!" last night while I was walking Sydney. I shouted back, "One down, 12 to go." Yes, folks. It's a marathon, not a sprint. However, while we did, in fact, just bust out of the blocks, we are 1-0 and we are healthy and we didn't need a pair of blocked field goals in the game's final seconds to send 70,000 home happy. The fact that it was an "easy win" - could there really be such a thing? - did catch the attention of the head coach. "This is not territory we are used to. I would not mind trying to get used to it," he said after Iowa's 10th straight win in a season opener.
Donuts anyone? Ron Rainey's Iowa soccer team defeated intrastate rival Northern Iowa Sunday by a score of 6-zip. It was the Hawkeyes' fourth straight win and all have been by shutout. Heck of a deal.
Five points will be on the line this weekend in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes entertain Iowa State in the first two Hy-Vee Cy-Hawk Series events of the year. Of course, just about everyone knows that the annual battle on the gridiron is scheduled for Saturday, but I'd like to remind fans that Sharon Dingman's very entertaining Iowa volleyball team will entertain the Cyclones at 7 p.m., Friday, in the Arena. If you're in the vicinity, check it out. I guarantee you'll be entertained. And, if you're a lucky soul, you could walk out of the home of the Hawkeyes the winner of a very nice door prize.
I think many fans of the Hawkeyes did, in fact, "Think" Saturday, as requested by the UI and the UI Athletics Department. Alas, a big test will come Saturday with the 2:30 p.m. kickoff. Again, it's not about prohibition. It's about being smart and responsible. Think about it...and try to do the right thing if you're coming to Kinnick Stadium this weekend and every weekend.
Kudos to Dan Sabin and his son, Josh. They are at the top of the pyramid when it comes to the Hawkeye Express, the UI's "train to the game." The Express set a single-day record Saturday, providing more than 4,900 transportation to and from Kinnick. Heck of a deal.
Saturday's game is advertised as an "ABC Regional" game. I feel compelled to remind fans of the Hawkeyes who don't have access to the game on ABC because they aren't, generally speaking, in the Heartland, per the Big Ten's outstanding agreement with ABC, those fans will have access on ESPN2. So, while it's advertised as a "regional" broadcast, fans of the Hawkeyes coast-to-coast will be watching. Again, this type of agreement is what separates the Big Ten from its peers. It speaks to the passion - and the number - of Big Ten friends, fans, and alumni across this great land of ours.
And, lastly, a reminder for those who will be in Kinnick on Saturday: Leave for your seats pregame a little early. The security search at the gates will be a little more detailed and we'd hate for you to miss the pregame pageantry or, worse still, the opening kick.
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.