Nov. 6, 2010
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Random thoughts on the morning of a “trap game” in Indiana…
First things first: I made a mistake in my most recent collection of “Randoms.” I suggested to readers to check out a photograph of Hawkeye defensive back Marcus Hyde taken when he was stretching for the pylon at the end of his 66-yard touchdown return last Saturday against Michigan State. Marcus doesn’t play for the Hawkeyes. His brother, Micah, does and does very well. Let’s officially call this a fumble by yours truly.
Today it’s the Indiana Hoosiers, a team that is far from void of talent but hasn’t won a football game against a Big Ten Conference opponent for quite some time and a team that is stuck on the Hawkeyes’ schedule between an emotional victory (Michigan State) and an opponent that has proven difficult in recent years for the good guys (Northwestern). They call `em “trap games.” My money is on the Hawkeyes figuring out a way to avoid being trapped.
Here’s the stat for today’s visit to Bloomington – home of one of the prettiest campuses in the country…second to the UI, of course – that jumped off the page: While Iowa holds a commanding edge in the series all-time and in games played at Indiana, the teams have split their last 10 games. “All you have to do is look back to last year. They had us on the ropes,” Kirk said of last year’s victory in Kinnick on Halloween Day. “Back in ’07, they beat us thoroughly (and) they got the ball rolling in ’06.”
It’s been a pretty exciting week in Carver. First, on Wednesday, Fran talked about the start of the new season for his first UI men’s basketball team. On Thursday, it was Lisa Bluder and Tom Brands’ turn. Judging by the enthusiasm – perhaps a conservative description of the animated Mr. Brands — of this trio of head coaches, Carver is going to be a happenin’ place this winter sports season…which leads me to this question: Have your purchased your tickets yet? If not, click HERE. And, to read more about the Hawkeyes, click HERE and/or HERE and/or HERE.
The star of the week? My vote goes to Margaret McCaffery, wife of Fran. She was absolutely brilliant in her introduction of Iowa’s head coach at a luncheon staged last Wednesday in support of the Ronald McDonald House and the Iowa Children’s Hospital/UI Dance Marathon. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that the McCaffery’s certainly have no problem chiding one another, are delighted to be a part of the Iowa City community, have embraced the opportunity to move important charities like those mentioned above ahead, and are very, very excited about the start of the college basketball season and the future of the UI men’s basketball program.
As you might guess, a variety of staff of the UI Athletics Department receive a fair amount of feedback, both negative and positive, after each event we stage whether it is a football game, volleyball match or basketball game. We thought fans of the Hawkeyes would appreciate this one, penned by a fan of the Michigan State Spartans who travelled to Kinnick for last week’s game. We think it speaks directly to one of our highest priorities administratively: To stage events in an environment that is fan-friendly and fun and safe, and sprinkled with an appropriate share of Heartland hospitality and good sportsmanship:
Dear Mr. Barta:
I am a long time Michigan State fan and an alumnus of MSU. Since the 1970’s my wife and I have traveled to many away football games that included a myriad of experiences (some positive and some negative). I wanted to drop you a short note to tell you how much we enjoyed our experience this past Saturday (excluding the results of the game).
From the time we parked at the Hawkeye Express train lot, the time we spent outside the stadium, to the time we left we felt welcomed as your guests and were treated with respect and courtesy. Prior to the game we had many people tell us they were happy to see us there and wished our team the best of luck. As we departed from the game and dejectedly walked up the stairs to the exit we expected to be greeted with some good natured heckling, but were delighted to find that no one said anything negative. The only comments we heard were things like, “Good Game” and “Have a safe trip home, thanks for coming.”
We have been to most of the stadiums in the Big Ten and I am pleased to tell you that your fans are undoubtedly the most cordial of any we have encountered. I only wish all of MSU’s fans treated our guests as well as we were treated. Please pass this message on to those who might appreciate it.
Good luck the rest of the season.
Michigan State University Class of 1974
OK, I’ve said before that, at my core, I’m a fan. So I did what many fans did after the Iowa-Wisconsin game: I pulled out the 2010 Big Ten composite schedule, studied it for a few minutes, and mapped out the Hawkeyes’ path to the Rose Bowl, the promised land for every team in the nation’s oldest and grandest and most competitive football conference. Then, when I was satisfied with my plan, I e-mailed it to myself. I took a peek earlier this week and liked what I read. One week down and all the pieces of my puzzle were still in play. I think I’ll share my thoughts with everyone in late November to give you a chance to compare yours with mine.
The star of the week? My vote goes to Margaret McCaffery, wife of Fran. She was absolutely brilliant in her introduction of Iowa’s head coach at a luncheon staged last Wednesday in support of the Ronald McDonald House and the Iowa Children’s Hospital/UI Dance Marathon. I won’t go into the details, but suffice it to say that the McCaffery’s certainly have no problem chiding one another, are delighted to be a part of the Iowa City community, have embraced the opportunity to move important charities like those mentioned above ahead, and are very, very excited about the start of the college basketball season and the future of the UI men’s basketball program. From where I sit it seems very clear: The young men who play basketball for Fran and, more globally, the Hawkeye program, are in (a pair of) really good, caring and capable hands.
Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette and author of “The Hlog” – one of my favorite journalists, err “content aggregators,” for a variety of reasons – offered this interesting tidbit about Tech’s victory over Tech Thursday night: (VT versus GT) HERE. Visits to other college campuses by coaches for the purposes of education are pretty common, I believe, in this colelge football business. It’s the equivalent, me thinks, of “continuing education” and/or me attending a conference or a seminar on my areas of responsibility. Mike does ask a pretty good question, though: How much can one person/staff learn in a few days and, better still, how quickly can what someone learns be integrated into a defensive scheme? Probably a good question to ask one of our coaches during the break after the end of regular season and during bowl game prep…
In closing, I want to share this link with you: HERE. The entry assumption is that you are a friend of the University of Iowa and a fan of the Hawkeyes, and, perhaps, an alumnus and/or a contributor to the UI Foundation. If you’re any of the aforementioned, I’m certain you’ll enjoy “Our Moment,” the UI’s annual report for 2009-10.
Random Thoughts is written by Rick Klatt, the UI Athletics Department’s associate athletics director for external affairs, and first appears in the digital world as an exclusive feature of Hawk Talk Daily, the daily e-newsletter of the UI Athletics Department.