Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Iowa - Alamo Bowl; Minnesota - Toilet Bowl

As I stated previously in my blog, Iowa would get a better bowl than Minnesota this year. It has just been reported that Iowa has accepted an invite to the Alamo Bowl; Gophers get the last bowl offered to the Big Ten, the Insight.com bowl - USA Today Article


1. Ohio State - National Championship - $14-$17 million
2. Michigan - National Championship/Rose Bowl - $14.998 million
3. Wisconsin - Capital One Bowl - $5.312 million
4. Penn State - Outback Bowl - $2.85 million
5. Iowa - Alamo Bowl - $1.65 million
6. Purdue - Champs Sports Bowl - $862,000
7. Minnesota - Insight.com Bowl - $750,000

Alamo Bowl - Not too bad for the 9th place team in the Big Ten, and loser of 5 out of the last 6 games.

Congrats on the Toilet Bowl, Gophers. Maybe next season some of your fans will show up to the games and then you might be able to get more $$$ from bowl games. The University of Iowa will receive over twice the amount of money the U of M will, all thanks to its fan because clearly the Iowa Football team itself isn't worthy of it. Sure, the Big Ten has revenue sharing, but it's nice to see Iowa bring a bigger check home than Minnesota, esp. after what I have witnessed from Minnesota fans.

Iowa is lucky they have been selected to play in this bowl, they sure don't deserve it. Look, I am not happy about seeing Iowa in the Alamo Bowl. I'm not trying to rub anything into the University of Minnesota. I am just trying to show what kind of effect a passionate fanbase can have the outcome of a season. This was the perfect example. Should Iowa be going to the Alamo Bowl? Absolutely not; but they are. And there is a reason for that.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Minnesota Gopher Fans: Absolutely Pathetic at Best

Living in Gopher country the past few years, I have witnessed their apathy first hand. Six games into the football season, they could care less about their team. Early January, they stop watching Gopher basketball. They have one of the elite wrestling programs in the entire nation, yet you wouldn’t know it by the support their squad receives. The University itself even gave an extension to their football coach who thrives in mediocrity. Glen Mason was even quoted earlier in the year claiming that he was still in the process of rebuilding the Gopher program, 10 years after taking command of the football team.

The Gopher vs. Hawkeye game on Saturday (11/18/06) just about made me throw up from the point of view of college football fan. Here is a team in Minnesota who is finally playing good football, getting wins on the road, and has a chance to become bowl-eligible with a win over their arch-rival and slumping Hawkeyes from the University of Iowa. You'd think that the rivalry in itself would promote a good turnout for the supporters of the Maroon and Gold, but not so.

Start of the game, there are THOUSANDS of empty seats in the lower level where Gopher "patrons" normally sit. The SE corner seats of the upper deck of the dome didn't even get sold! A Gopher/Hawkeye game and the dome can't even sell it out!

The game is underway and it's time for a pivotal stop for the Gophers, "GET LOUD", pleads the scoreboard as loud music pumps into the dome. The roar (or lack there of) wasn't felt by a single person playing or watching the game. Pathetic. The Iowa faithful, cheering for the most disappointing Iowa team in this millennium was at least twice as loud and once again took over the dome... ON A DOWN YEAR FOR THEIR PROGRAM. What a sad state of affairs this Gopher fan base has become!

As the game progressed and Iowa became the eventual loser, you'd think the sheer joy of Gopher fans FINALLY getting Floyd back, FINALLY having a "One Up" on the Hawk fans would have been enough for them to cheer about. Not so. As the game clock expired and the elated Gopher football team (congrats to them on a terrifically played game, by the way) rushed the disappointed Iowa sidelines to claim their reward, I saw the fire and excitement in the Minnesota players and coaches. It radiated; they were on Cloud Nine. They had done it; they have finally beaten the Hawkeyes. Time to celebrate with all the fa... oh wait... where are they? Where are the fans? Oh, that's right. The majority of the little Gopher fans that had shown up to the game had made their way to the exits before the 4th quarter was even over.

As the Gopher football team paraded their newly acquired trophy around the Metrodome, the apathy continued to spew from the Gopher fan base. The 100th game in this timeless rivalry had been won by the Minnesota Golden Gophers and no one was around to help celebrate. I sat in my seat amazed, not because I had just witnessed one of the poorest Iowa football seasons in recent memory come to a close, but the fact that a Minnesota team that had put so much energy and heart into a win wasn’t able to share their joy with their fans.

Because of those events, even in losing, I was proud to be a Hawk Fan. Hawkeyes will stick by their team through thick and thin, and it has been extremely anorexic this year. Iowa and Minnesota were disappointing last year, yet after Iowa retained Floyd for the fifth straight year the field was full of Iowa fans showing their support. I have witnessed a few non-apathetic Gopher fans, though. Some have taken the lead and started up “Fire Glen Mason” websites and blogs (http://fireglenmason.blogspot.com), while I personally witnessed one gentleman selling “Fire Mason” t-shirts for $10 following the Gopher victory over Iowa.

Iowa finished the season 6-6 (2-6), losing 5 out of their last six games, and finished 9th in the Big Ten. Minnesota finished the season 6-6 (3-5), winning 4 out of their last 5 (as well as 3 in a row), and finished 6th in the Big Ten. The Big Ten has 7 bowl eligible teams, and you can bet that Iowa will receive a better bowl bid than Minnesota. Why? All you need to do is look at the stands following the last game of the season.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

IOWA vs. THE CITADEL: Post Game Report

Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

Pretty impressive game all things considered for the Hawks.

Freeman played an an excellent game at the point. Alford is getting exactly what he wants out of that position. Very nice passing all night long, needs to work on the oops a bit more.

Haluska stroked it well, but he HAS to find his intermediate and close range games or he will not succeed this year.

Pleasantly surprised with our bigs - they didn't have much competition down low tonight, but I think Looby can be an EH type of defender. He is very good on weakside defense. Gorney will be serviceable, his feet are much quicker this year. Seth needs to learn how to finish down low. No more layups or 2 ft jumper, stuff the rock down! Also Gorney was too jumpy on the D end. Tate has a sweet 10 ft jay, and he is aggressive down low. Tate's D is very fundamentally strong. Very happy with what I saw out of the 4 and 5 spots tonight.

Johnson looks like he has a lot of athleticism, but is a bit out of control on the defensive side of the ball. Good looking jumper.

Disappointed with Smith, but he had some butterflies. Too many reaches and dumb fouls. He has athleticism, that's for sure, though. Good things will come from him.

Iowa had trouble finishing tonight, they missed a few lobs, missed a few bunnies, and just did not finish tremendously well.

Wessels will be a much needed addition to the rotation. He will be absolutely serviceable. Good with the rock, and plays smart on both ends.

We won't see much of Angle this year.

Looks like Crawford will likely burn his redshirt this year, as I figured Iowa would have to do.

This team will benefit greatly with the addition of Henderson back into the lineup.

Good game overall for the first game. The team looked smooth on the offensive side of the ball, and played terrific D. Iowa's season will depend a lot on how well they play D. I like what I saw on that end of the court tonight.

I am not overly-excited after what I saw tonight, but I am surely not disappointing in the product on the floor... I can say that much for sure.

I want more finishes though! We have the athletes, let's make some athletic plays!

We shall see how the Hawks do on this huge road trip to start the season, though.


Monday, November 13, 2006



1. Wisconsin
2. Ohio State
3. Indiana
4. Illinois
5. Iowa
6. Michigan
7. Michigan State
8. Purdue
9. Penn State
10. Minnesota
11. NW


Wisconsin - Clear cut favorite in my opinion. They have the talent, experience, and coaching. Pretty good combo there. Remember when I said Tucker was over-rated… NCAA TOURNEY

Ohio State - Losing Sullinger will hurt, but the recruiting class will help. Plus you have Ron Lewis, my darkhorse for Big Ten POY. Matta has a good thing going on... NCAA TOURNEY


Indiana – DJ White is back, Sampson can coach. The Hoosiers are sitting pretty decent... NCAA TOURNEY

Illinois – Talent is still around the program. Not that I think Illinois will be that good, it’s that the Big Ten will be that bad this year... NCAA TOURNEY

Iowa – One of the biggest question marks of the Big Ten for me. They could finish 9th, but I think they’ll be close to 3rd than 9th... NCAA TOURNEY

Michigan – If Amaker wasn’t coaching, I’d have the Wolverines up higher. Good core set of players, but can they compete for a full season? I haven’t witnessed it yet... NIT

Michigan State – Morgan looks like he could be a stud. I just don’t see many other studs on the team. Izzo is the one thing keeping this team this high in my rankings... NIT

Purdue – I am clearly underestimating Purdue, Painter is probably better than most people think. I just can’t put them any higher than 8th... NIT


Penn State – A lot of people like this PSU team; I am not one of them... NIT

Minnesota – Monson and Mason are in the same boat, getting paid to lead sinking ships.

Northwestern – They suck and will always suck.

IOWA BASKETBALL Starts Tonight: Season Preview

Photo courtesy of the Des Moines Register

My outlook/expectations are little higher than the Hawkeye fan-base, and a lot higher than those of the national pundits.

Iowa's biggest question mark is no secret. The bigs are inexperienced and underwhelming. They have big shoes to fill... literally. Whatever we get from the 5 spot (and 4 spot when we play 3 guards) will be an added bonus. Gorney, Looby, Tate, and Crawford will all need to step up (esp. Gorney) and find ways to help out the team.
Although some think Crawford will redshirt, I believe he will not do so this year. Iowa needs bodies and he will need to help out, even if he only contributions are his five fouls. It would have been nice to have Palmer eligible this year, he would be able to help immediately.

I REALLY, REALLY like our guards this year. I believe Iowa has one of the top backcourts in the Big Ten, as well as in the nation (I'm sure others will disagree). Henderson, Haluska, Freeman, Johnson, and Smith are all solid. Wessels needs to be this year's Brownlee; come in and let the other guy's get a blow, take care of the ball, play smart. Once we get rolling on the season, I think we will see the staff use more and more four guard sets. With the versatility Tyler Smith brings to the court, Iowa can afford to play four guards. Look for Johnson to be another Chauncey Leslie.

Losing Mike early will allow Wessels to get some more face time against a few mediocre opponents. Let's hope Henderson's injury heals quickly and he doesn't have any lingering effects from it.

The Hawks will need to avoid foul trouble this year, as they aren't extremely deep. 8, maybe 9 man rotation.

As far as team leaders go, it would be obvious to single out Haluska and Henderson. While perhaps you will see this out of the two, don't lose sight of Tony Freeman. I think he will be the one to make the biggest strides this year and end up being the motor behind the Hawks. Haluska is a fine player, but he is much better in the supplemental role. He is not the kind of player that the Hawks can jump on his back, perhaps he can turn into that type of player, but I am not banking on it. Mike needs to be steady and dominate the other PG on the defensive end, something Tony will do well, too.

Overall, though, this year's team is probably one of the most unpredictable squads of recent memory. No real proven commodities, sans Haluska and Henderson, but major upside (and athleticism) in regards to a lot of our players. The season will really depend on how quickly the team can gel and find their identity.

I like the coaching staff as well. While I am not a cheerleader for Alford, I am certainly not a detractor. I guess that makes me one of the biggest supporters of SA, as most Hawk fan do not approve of him as the coach at Iowa at all. I think he is taking the program in the right direction and the past three seasons has shown increase productivity from the basketball team. The change in the assistants can only help out the Iowa program. Time will tell on that move, though.

As far as a prediction on the season: I see Iowa finishing somewhere between 3rd-6th in the Big Ten, getting about 20 wins, and making it to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament. Haluska should make the 2nd team BT, Smith might pick up a few freshman awards, Henderson has a shot at picking up the defensive POY in the BT although those awards normally go to a big man and he should also find he way onto an all-BT team. But as always, I am sure there will be a few surprises (bad and good) that happen this year. Be ready for a LOT of ups and downs. There will be times this team looks like a junior high squad and their will be times it looks like and all-world squad. Hop on the rollercoaster, though because it's going to be a fun, fun ride... let's hope we have hair left on our heads after the season is over.


Friday, November 10, 2006

Don't take your grandparents for granted...

Wednesday night my Grandpa died. I miss him.

Why is it we never realize what we have until it's gone? This isn't a new concept. We hear people say it all the time. Don't take people, places, times, etc... for granted. But for some reason we all do. I was able to tell him goodbye, hold his hand, and give him a kiss on the forehead... I would have much rather talked to him about the crops, weather, hell even something I normally don't care about; I'd do anything just to be able to talk to him again, and have him talk to me. It can't happen, though, and this saddens me. I miss him. Sure, a part of him will always stay with me for the rest of my life (thanks for the receding hairline Grandpa), but it's not the same. People older than you are supposed to be invincible. They'll never leave you. They'll always be there. But now my grandpa won't be, and I can't get over that feeling. I want him to be there for Christmas to hand me my money card; I want him to lead us in prayer before Thanksgiving dinner; I want him to yell at the grandkids and great-grandkids to stop jumping on the beds in basement. I just want him around. Maybe I should have been around more...

Here's Grandpa Hemann's Obit: GRANDPA HEMANN