Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

Sept. 15, 2013

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Random thoughts on a Sunday after an absolutely wonderful Saturday in the Heartland…

First things first: Mother Nature (finally) smiled on those of us in the Heartland yesterday. Sunny and almost chilly. And, she’s supposed to follow it up with a little rain today…too little, too late, for sure, but we’ll take it nonetheless.


Here’s my first thought/observation on yesterday’s big game in Ames: I really liked the way Kevonte Martin-Manley gave Jake Rudock a big target on our first touchdown of the game. He got separation and then made himself “big” as he straddled the goal line. Of course, Jake’s strike was a thing of beauty and completed a scoring drive that included a five-for-five effort by our signal caller. Good stuff.

Here’s my second: I know I am not alone when I share with you that I was yearning for the good guys in black and gold to get up by two scores during the third quarter of the season opener. It didn’t happen. I felt the same way yesterday. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to get the margin to two scores. So, I was a happy camper when Mike Meyer drilled that 28-yard field goal in the waning minutes of the second quarter…and felt even better when his 37-yarder split the uprights a few minutes later thanks to the handiwork of James Morris.

Here’s my third: Sure, it got a little closer than any fan of the good guys would have liked. But a little drama is good for soul, right?

I’ve said it the last two weeks and I’ll say it again: We have a keeper as a quarterback. One very cool customer. And, yes, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about Mark Weisman? Just give him the ball behind that line and watch him go.

Here’s our take on the football win over our sister institution: HERE.

Here’s a link to some video I think you’ll enjoy: HERE.

I’ve said it the last two weeks and I’ll say it again: We have a keeper as a quarterback. One very cool customer. And, yes, what can I say that hasn’t already been said about Mark Weisman? Just give him the ball behind that line and watch him go.

Here’s a link to a video that will bring you up to date on the construction of the Hawkeyes’ Football Operations Center: HERE.

Ron Rainey’s Iowa soccer team pushed its 2013 record to 7-0 with its 24th straight win over a nonconference opponent Friday night. The Hawkeyes defeated Saint Louis, 3-2. You can read about it HERE. You can watch a video HERE.. The two goals scored by the Billikens were the first scored against the Hawkeyes in four games, and only the second and third goals allowed by Iowa all season. I was thinking yesterday morning whether getting that string of shutouts snapped was a good thing and concluded it probably was. I figured there was no need to have the additional pressure of having that hanging over our heads as we get ready for a midweek game with Northern Iowa before opening league play next Sunday against nationally ranked Michigan. I wonder what the head coach thinks…

Tracey Griesbaum’s field hockey team rolls into today’s game with Stanford fresh off a 7-1 victory Friday over Central Michigan. You can read about that HERE. You can watch a video HERE.. It should be a good test today at 1 on Grant Field. Iowa is ranked eighth in the most recent national poll. Stanford checks in at No. 10.

Last week I wrote about my old boss — Bob Bowlsby — and the “troubles” he woke up to the Sunday after the first Saturday of the college football season. Those losses to FCS schools by Kansas State and Iowa State back on Aug. 31 are a hiccup compared to the problem Bob, the commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, is navigating these days as a result of the investigative reporting done by Sports Illustrated on the alledged goings-on on the campus of Oklahoma State University. One of my favorite “Bowlsby-isms” is this one: When solving a big problem, Bob often would suggest that you take “one bite of the elephant at a time.” My guess is that Bob has had a mouthful of elephant this week.

Here’s one truth about the alleged goings-on in Stillwater: Fair or not, true or not, those of us in the business of intercollegiate athletics know the allegations cast a long, dark shadow over all of us. However, my advice to anyone willing to listen is this: One bad apple — if, in fact, OSU is proven to be a bad apple — doesn’t spoil the whole bunch. Which gives me a nice opportunity to share with you a nice reminder of our long, long, long history of success in the classroom by the football Hawkeyes: HERE.

I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m growing tired of the never-ending hype of “Johnny Football” and I don’t think I’m alone — HERE — and some of the angst in probably a result of stuff like this — HERE. I’ll also add that as the weeks go by, I get more excited about the start of another season of “Big Ten Conference football.” It’s going to be another exciting season our league.

You know, this “It’s this team’s Super Bowl or the biggest game on the schedule for that team or this team has bigger fish to fry” thing when it comes to Iowa vs. Iowa State has also grown a little weary. Step back a second. Don’t you think it’s an important game for both teams every year? Both teams want a win, neither wants a loss. From where I sit, the rest is all hot air…which, of course, is part of any and every “Rivalry Week.” Now, here’s the hiccup. If you were to give me this option each year: Lose to Iowa State, but be packing for Pasadena in December. As tough as that might be for many of us, I would say “Where do I sign?” I think the truth is, I’m like the most fans: I want both.

11 a.m. kickoffs or 5 p.m. kickoffs when the good guys are playing away from Kinnick? This guy votes for 11 a.m. every time. 5? That’s a long time to wait for a “tweener” — you’re not an “early game” nor are you “prime time.”

I was impressed with Michigan a week ago in its big prime time win over Notre Dame. They proved to be much more human — or should I say more college football-like — yesterday in hanging on for dear life against Akron inside the Big House. The ups and downs of the Wolverines in eight days is what I enjoy so much about the college game. Unlike the pros, who are so good and robot-like, the college game is impacted greatly by the “energy” in the building. Oh, yeah, the home team also had four turnovers. As Kirk says, turnovers are killers.

Speaking of killers, the good guys won the turnover battle 2-1 in Ames last night and were flagged only three times for a total of 30 yards.

There’s a Tiger on the prowl at the PGA Tour’s BMW event in suburban Chicago. There’s also a big Hawkeye fan who wields a pretty mean putter lurking near the top of the leaderboard. To examine it more closely, click HERE>.

When is a $60 ticket to next Saturday’s football game at Kinnick really a $40 ticket, or a $25 ticket is really a $5 ticket? The answer is HERE.

“Lotta corn here in Iowa,” the Fox Sports 1 announcer declared at the end of the first quarter last night. There is…and we’re proud of the fact that we help feed the world. Here are links to a couple of our partners who know this agribusiness stuff really well…the good folks at Iowa Corn, proud sponsors of the Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series: HERE and our good friends at the Iowa Farm Bureau, our partners on the ANF initiative: HERE.

I mentioned field hockey earlier. On Friday, I had to explain to another attendee why the artificial grass at Grant Field was watered at halftime. It’s simple: The water provides the resistance that keeps the ball the two teams are chasing on the turf versus in the air. In the spirit of transparency, 30 years or so ago I asked the same question: “Can someone explain to me why we’re watering Astroturf?”

Lastly, did you notice No. 55 on our kickoff coverage? He seemed to be, as Kirk might say, pretty “active”…but what do I know other than I know I saw his number often. His name is Marcus Collins. You can read about him HERE. My hunch is that we’ll see more of him next year when our three starting linebackers — and what a trio they were last night — are no longer with us.

Have a great week.