Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Dec. 7, 2010

IOWA CITY, Iowa —Some random thoughts on the morning of Game 1 in the battle for men’s college bragging rights in the state…

Iowa versus Northern Iowa inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Game time is 7 p.m. Two thoughts…I’m hoping many of the season ticket holders – general public, UI faculty and staff, and UI students – who invested in season tickets make the investment in time to cheer Fran’s squad tonight. Difference-makers, each and every one of them.


Speaking of difference-makers, I have two more thoughts: UI students are huge difference-makers in the Arena. As a group, they can make that place “hop.” Tonight’s game is the first of two “UI Students Free” games on the Hawkeyes’ 2010-11 schedule and I’m anxious to see if that important group of fans will rally behind this exciting team.

My second thought. Tom Brands. He’s a difference-maker.

How about Bluder’s Bunch? 8-1. Can’t say I’m all that surprised. It’s a talented group that could very well be unbeaten had they just got off to a slightly better start or got over the hump in the second half last Thursday night at North Carolina. Big opportunity for Kash and the gang on Thursday: Iowa State comes to the Arena. If you attend just one women’s basketball game a year – and I’d sure like to see that number be at least two – this should be the one. It’s history: The first time ever that both teams will be ranked among the nation’s best when they square off. Should be lots of fun. Get there.

Iowa versus Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl, Dec. 28 in the Valley of the Sun. I like it. Great opponent. Great city. Great weather. Great opportunity for Kirk’s squad for lots of reasons. And, the Hawkeyes will have the college football world all to itself: The Insight Bowl doesn’t have any television competition. It’s the only college football bowl game being played at that time on that night. ESPN’s number-crunchers will like that…a lot.

Did I say this already? Tom Brands. He’s a difference-maker.

Iowa versus Nebraska in the 2010 Insight Bowl? Frankly, I’m OK with waiting for this border rivalry to crank up at the end of next year. However, the way I understand it Rule No. 1 in the bowl game manual was broken when the Holiday Bowl matched the Cornhuskers with the Pac-10 Conference’s Washington Huskies. That game was played already this year back in September and it wasn’t pretty. Oh, well, UW will have an opportunity to see just how much progress they’ve made.

I’m probably not the only fan of the Hawkeyes to be thinking this: I sure wish Bryce Cartwright was a freshman instead of a junior. I really, really, really like the way he plays the game.

I’m also probably not the only fan of the Hawkeyes to be thinking this: I am really glad Melsahn Basabe, Roy Devyn Marble and Zach McCabe are freshman. I really, really, really like the way this triumvirate of rookies play the game.

Kirk was asked about prep time for the Insight Bowl Sunday night. He sprinkled in a little collegiate humor within an answer that tells me the Hawkeyes will be one focused football team on the playing field in Sun Devil Stadium: “It’s going to be a little tougher to squeeze the workouts in just because of the time, and I don’t think our professors are going to excuse our players from finals. We could ask maybe but I’m not sure that will go anywhere. So we’ll work around the finals schedule, but we’ll get it done. There’s going to be ample time to get ready, and we’ll be ready to go when kickoff comes. No excuses, we’ll have enough opportunities.”

I’m no expert, but, statistically, there’s not much that separates these two teams. And, far as head-to-head competition, each owns a victory over Iowa State…Iowa in Kinnick, Mizzou in Ames. Again, I think it’s going to be a pretty salty football game.

Did I say this already? Tom Brands. He’s a difference-maker.

I find this very interesting and strategic: The Big Ten’s new bowl schedule clearly puts a major – and appropriate — emphasis on the Rose Bowl presented by Vizio as evidenced by the fact that four different games involving league teams played earlier on New Year’s Day deliver their television audiences to the doorstep of ESPN’s inaugural broadcast of the “Granddaddy of them all.” Should be interesting to see the ratings, both for the Rose and its “lead-ins.”

Lastly, get out your calendar and start your collection: Fran McCaffery Bobblehead Night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 21, when the Hawkeyes entertain Louisiana State. And, on the following night, we’ll do the same with Lisa when Bluder’s Bunch entertains Northern Iowa.Gonna be fun…

Go Hawks!

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.