Tag Archives: ESPN

Slivers About Hawkeyes At the NFL Combine

No, not this kind of combine

No, not this kind of combine

Mitch King to fullback in the NFL?

OK, this is the only place I’ve seen or heard this so far about the Iowa defensive tackle at this weekend’s NFL Scouting Combine. it needs more verification than this excerpt from http://cle.scout.com/2/841197.html

FYI, Mitch King has also been asked to work out as a FB here

When King is mentioned as a defensive tackle now, some form of the term “undersized” often is used. This is from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock is not a big fan of Georgia Tech defensive end Michael Johnson.

“He’s 6-7, 260. He’s going to run like a wide receiver. He’s going to jump like a running back,” Mayock said. “Everybody is going to fall in love with him. But there is way too much bad [game] tape of him for me to even like him a little bit. I don’t like him at all.”

“If you take that little nose tackle at Iowa, Mitch King, and put his heart in Michael Johnson’s body, you’d have a Hall of Fame player,” Mayock said. “I just think Michael Johnson is so talented, but he’s wasting it.”


Mayock was also quoted in a sportingnews.com story about running backs. I’m guessing very few actual NFL team executives speak on the record at this thing, so NFL Network folks fill in the gaps. Based on the decreased number of media members at this year’s Super Bowl (I got in the main press box for the game for the first time in my four Super Bowls.), the NFL Network and ESPN will be all the media covering the game in a few years.

Anyway, the Sportingnews.com item — http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=519969 — on the running backs:

The NFL people know Knowshon

The NFL people know Knowshon

Pitt’s LeSean McCoy and Iowa’s Shonn Greene have first-round potential, but Wells (Ohio State) and Moreno (Georgia) are the first names mentioned when you ask most scouts to rate the backs. Both Moreno and Wells are entering the draft as underclassmen, and they have very different styles. Wells (6-1, 235 pounds) runs with more power while Moreno (5-10, 217) is more elusive and has superior pass-catching ability.

“Moreno is my No. 1 tailback,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. “His lateral quickness and explosion are amazing. I’ve never seen a guy in the last 10 years who finishes every run the way he does: dropping the shoulder, not running out of bounds. I love the kid’s toughness.”

I’m pandering to the Iowa folks on this, maybe, but doesn’t that also describe Greene to a ‘G.”

And for a good, fresh story on offensive lineman Seth Olsen, another Hawkeye at the Combine, check out this effort by the Daily Iowan’s Amie Kiehn:



Missouri, Nebraska Grab Prime-Time Football Slot

As Iowa found out a few years ago when Missouri ditched a home-and-away football series with the Hawkeyes, Mizzou will do what it deems is best for Mizzou.

By the way, much as you Hawkeye fans surely enjoyed your team’s dominance of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl, a Missouri-Iowa Alamo Bowl would still have been a better and more-meaningful matchup.

Anyway, Missouri is going to host Big 12 rival Nebraska on a Thursday night this year. It’s the conference-opener for both. ESPN will air it, and it will be a big deal.

The HuskerExtra.com story: http://www.huskerextra.com/articles/2009/02/13/football/doc4994cecf95ae9266018125.txt?orss=1

As part of the bargain, apparently, the Tigers will also get their game at Nevada moved to a Friday night for ESPN packaging, and the Mizzou-Illinois annual tussle in St. Louis is also set for an ESPN slotting.

Nebraska won’t mind the national audience for its trip to Columbia, either.
It’s a progressive move by both programs. I’m not sure I’d want to have the Thursday night game, especially if it meant a road trip. But at the same time, you know it will attract a lot of television eyeballs who normally don’t see these two teams.

Hlas Live Blogging from Richmond-UNI Football Game at 3

We could go all day and into the night on Gene Chizik/Auburn stuff, but actual football is being played in Iowa today.

Actual, important, ESPN-televised football. Not ESPNU or ESPN Classic or ESPN Deportes. ESPN.

It’s Richmond against Northern Iowa in the UNI-Dome, with the winner playing Montana in next Friday’s national-title game in Chattanooga, Tenn.

I’ll be live blogging from the Dome. Join me with your comments and questions. The link is:


The Hlist: America’s Most-Craved College Football Roundup

By Mike Hlas

Illinois head football coach Ron Zook, left, talks with linemen Jeff Alle (rear) and Jon Asamoah during Saturday’s 23-17 loss to Western Michigan at Ford Field in Detroit. (AP photo)

Opening kickoff

“We are at about 19,000 feet. The mountain is at 26,000 feet, and the air is changing a little bit. The air is a little rarer.” — Alabama Coach Nick Saban after his team improved to 10-0 with a 27-21 overtime win at LSU

First downs

1. The Wait is On: There is no Game of the Week this week. Which is all right, because next week’s is good enough for two weeks.

It’s 10-0 Texas Tech at 9-1 Oklahoma. Both are idle this week. Both got even more revved up Saturday. Tech routed No. 8 Oklahoma State, 56-20, and Oklahoma obliterated Texas A&M, 66-28.

“We can stop ourselves, and that’s what we try not to do,” said stellar Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree. “But I think probably that’s about the only people who can stop us.”

“We seem to surprise a lot of people other than our team,” added his coach, Mike Leach.

The Red Raiders have scored 479 points. Oklahoma tops even that, with 514. The Sooners held a 66-21 lead over A&M after three quarters in College Station, then released their feet from Aggie throats.

“There are still sportsmanship issues that you do your best to handle,” Oklahoma Coach Bob Stoops said. “I just think that’s important. We played hard for three quarters.

“You just have to choose sportsmanship over BCS points. To me, in the end, it’s the right way to play it.”

OU running back Chris Brown didn’t have the same sentiment after his three-touchdown effort.

“You know how the BCS is going right now,” Brown said. “You just can’t win by a nail-biter, unless it’s a very great team you’re playing against. You can get up on a team 35-0 in the first half and fell like, well, the game’s over. Not with us. We want to keep pouring it on.”

2. Dancing in East Lansing: Did you see this coming? Did anyone? The first-place team in the Big Ten on Nov. 11 is Michigan State.

The Spartans are 6-1, a nose in front of 5-1 Ohio State and 5-1 Penn State. They have this week off, then play for at least a share of the Big Ten title Nov. 22 at Penn State. MSU is virtually assured its first January bowl in nine years

Michigan State beat Purdue, 21-7, to set up its showdown in State College.

“We’ve been through a lot together, but I think our greatest moments are ahead of us,” said Spartans senior quarterback Brian Hoyer. “We have an opportunity to do something here that hasn’t been done in a long time.”

MSU head coach Mark Dantonio: “I said last year that we have an opportunity to win every single football game that we come out to. Everything we do — the 80 hours a week you work as a coach — that’s to win, that’s not to stay close.”

3. Bucking Broncos: Can anyone in the Big Ten defeat Western Michigan?

The Broncos of the Mid-American Conference handled Illinois in Detroit, 23-17. WMU quarterback Tim Hiller completed 28 of 40 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns.

You may remember Hiller torching Iowa for 367 yards and three TDs in Western’s 28-19 win in Iowa City last November.

“He’s a great player, an NFL player, with unbelievable accuracy,” said Illinois Coach Ron Zook.

“My grandfather (Dan Sabino) played for Illinois in 1952 when they won the Rose Bowl,” Hiller said. “He had his jersey and ring in his office. I learned all about Illinois football. That’s why this was so special.”

4. Campbell Mmmm Mmmm Good: The Hlist normally holds pickpockets in the same regard it does Pick ‘Ems.

That’s The Gazette’s Saturday Pick ’ems, a weekly collection of bizarre predictions and even less stable commentary. The Hlist is one of the participants. The Hlist may be a self-Hloather.

But KCRG-TV’s John Campbell predicted this score: Iowa 24, Penn State 23. And that’s no fish tale.


1. Penned In: Penn State’s loss to the Hawkeyes wasn’t welcomed only in Iowa.

“Let’s face it, the majority of the country did not want to see Penn State in the BCS title game,” wrote Stewart Mandel of sportsillustrated.com.

It’s hard to get too down on Penn State. That’s still the best team in the Big Ten, and will be the league’s Rose Bowl representative. Plus, Joe Paterno was more than generous after Saturday’s game.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Iowa,” Paterno said. “The Iowa kids stayed tough, played hard. Their quarterback played a heck of a game for them. . . . And when they turned the ball over for us, we didn’t get the job done. Don’t take anything away from Iowa, OK?”

What becomes a legend most? Grace in a difficult moment, that’s what.

2. Orange Slush: Let’s say you’re the Motor City Bowl, and Illinois finds a way to win one of its last two games to finish 6-6. Do you want the Fighting Illini in your game?

Who is the Motor City Bowl to be picky? Who is the Motor City Bowl to turn up its nose at a team that was in the Rose Bowl last season?

Well, Illinois played in Detroit Saturday, losing to Western Michigan in front of a reported gathering of 12,785. The actual crowd was about half that at 65,000-seat Ford Field, the site of the Motor City Bowl. It is believed to be the smallest crowd to see an Illini game since they hosted Pittsburgh before 9,962 fans in 1945.

“We could have played them naked in a gymnasium (and still lost), said Illinois defensive coordinator Dan Disch.

“We want our seniors to go out with a bang,” said Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn, “but they’re not going out with the bang they expected.”

3. Gophers Burrow Downward: Minnesota was nationally ranked and 7-1. Then it lost successive home games to Northwestern and Michigan, which aren’t exactly Texas Tech and Oklahoma.

“You could tell they didn’t take us seriously,” said Michigan defensive end Brandon Graham after the Wolverines’ 29-7 win at Minnesota. “They weren’t expecting us to smack them in the mouth. They questioned our toughness. They must have thought that we just stopped caring about playing.”

The Gophers stop playing their home games in the Metrodome for good after their season-finale against Iowa. Michigan (3-7) closed its Metrodome history with 12 wins in 12 visits. That’s a dozen times it left the Dome with the Little Brown Jug traveling trophy.

“Michigan needs to get the Little Brown Jug, fill it with cognac, and forget this whole season ever happened.” said Chris Fowler on ESPN’s College Gameday.

Final gun

“Okay, this time I really mean it: Since Notre Dame clearly can’t hold up its end of the football rivalry, BC really is going to have to drop them from our schedule the way we did Holy Cross.” — Mike Lupica, New York Daily News and Boston College grad.

BC beat Notre Dame, 17-0, for its sixth-straight win over the Irish.


(AP photo of Michigan State’s Javon Ringer)

The Hlist: USC is Merciful, Missouri is Miserable

Opening kickoff

“In Iowa, where Kirk Ferentz faces the prospect of losing his job precisely because his program has become a feeder team for the Iowa City Jail, things get worse than usual. Ferentz’s kid James, a freshman lineman, got pinched on underaged drinking (shock!) charges. The crime is of questionable import until you figure it might take Dad from the hot seat to the guillotine.” — Tom Ziller, Sportingnews.com

It seems an exaggeration.

First downs

1. Buckeye Nuts: These are a few excerpts from letters to the sports editor in Sunday’s Columbus Dispatch, written after Ohio State’s 16-3 win over Purdue and before OSU’s game at Michigan State on Saturday:

“With the exception of a few, this team needs to follow the yellow brick road and ask the wizard for a heart. While they are at it, the offensive line could ask for courage and the offensive coordinator could ask for a brain.” — Chris Sturgill, Worthington

“If (head coach Jim) Tressel keeps calling plays like he has recently, I’d make early reservations for the Outback Bowl, or wherever third-place Big Ten teams go.” — David Scott, Columbus

“Beanie Wells is capable of 200 yards per game, but the O-line seems to refuse to play with emotion for an entire game. … A promising season is likely to slip away without major improvement.” — Tom Scurlock, Washington

Wells ran 31 times for 140 yards in the Buckeyes’ 45-7 win at Michigan State on Saturday. OSU is OK.

2. One Week, Two Burials: A week ago today, Texas Coach Mack Brown approved a suggestion to bury the game ball from the previous Saturday’s 45-35 win over Oklahoma on the Longhorns’ practice field. Several Horns players then drank a Kool-Aid-like concoction to make them “forget” the big win over the Sooners and focus on the coming week’s game, against Missouri.

Score one for superstitions. No. 1 Texas buried Mizzou, 56-31.

Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy completed 29 of 32 passes for 337 yards. He passed for two touchdowns, ran for two others. He has completed 81 percent of his passes this season, a pace that would easily break the NCAA’s record of 73 percent.

“We need to continue for him to be who he is,” Brown said. “I don’t know if we need him to be any better.”

3. Abnormally Normal: In a season-full of upsets, no Top Ten teams got dumped Saturday.

Not that Southern California feared the reaper. Associated Press reported that two hours before kickoff USC players “menacingly rocked their buses, as if they couldn’t wait to get on the field.”

“Our guys had a ball playing football today, from the locker room on out,” USC Coach Pete Carroll said after his team’s 69-0 laugher over Washington State.

It’s fun being good. USC has won its last three games by a total of 141-10 since an upset loss at Oregon State. The Trojans have scored 117 unanswered points.

USC is ranked fifth in the BCS standings. Carroll’s response: “It doesn’t mean anything about anything.”

(Don Hawkins)

4. Son Sits in Mountains: Colorado’s Dan Hawkins is a father and a coach, but not necessarily in that order during games.

Hawkins pulled starting quarterback Cody Hawkins, his son, after two series of the Buffaloes’ game against Kansas State. In came true freshman Tyler Hansen. With his red-shirt removed, Hansen passed for 71 yards and a touchdown and rushed 19 times for 86 yards. Colorado won, 14-13.

“You have to do what you have to do,” Coach Hawkins said of the move.


1. Lanced in East Lansing: “What’s the one thing you did well today?” MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi was asked after the Spartans’ 45-7 loss to Ohio State.

“I thought we did a good job in warm-ups,” he said.

Michigan State running back Javon Ringer was held to a season-low 67 rushing yards.

“We’ve been trying to prove to people we’re not the same team, where we lose one and fall apart,” Ringer said. “This game, I’m telling you, is not gonna be that hard to get over. Next week is Michigan, and that’s the game we really look forward to. That game’s in a whole different category.”

Yeah, it’s a game against a team the Spartans can beat.

2. Missouri Breaks: After Texas crushed Missouri, Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo was asked what he thought of Missouri’s body language.

“Body language?” Orakpo replied. “I don’t know. I just play football. I ain’t no doctor.”

Ranked No. 3 two weeks ago, the Tigers could use a healer after consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Texas.

“There’s no excuses,” said Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel. “They outplayed us, out-blocked us, kicked us, running, passing, coaching, everything.”

At least Pinkel has the Tigers’ weaknesses pinpointed.

3. Shooting Blanks: Washington State’s run of 280 consecutive games without being shut out was snapped in their 69-0 debacle of a loss to USC. The Cougars mustered just 116 total yards and four first downs.

“I think our team — a lot of guys are used to losing,” griped WSU defensive end Andy Mattingly.

It seems likely. Wazzu had Pac-10 defeats of 66-3, 63-14 and 66-13 before this game.

USC could have made it 90-0 had it desired. The Trojans played four quarterbacks. They let the last 16 seconds of the first half run out with the ball at the WSU 10 and timeouts left to use.

The Hlist thinks USC wanted to leave the Cougars with enough of a program so it can play at USC next year.

4. Lou’s Loose Lips: Even when you can understand Lou Holtz, he doesn’t always make sense.

ESPN analyst Holtz apologized on the air Saturday for mentioning Adolf Hitler in a discussion of the leadership skills of Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez during an ESPN studio show the night before.

“Ya know,” Holtz said Friday, “Hitler was a great leader, too.”

Wow. On top of that, Holtz predicted the winners of five of Saturday’s key games around the country, which he and broadcast partner Mark May do each week. He was wrong on all five.

Final gun

“This is an embarrassing situation, and I’m hoping this is the lowest point in our season.

“We have a very fragile football team; there’s not much confidence in the locker room right now. It’s not a pretty thing.”

San Diego State Coach Chuck Long after his Aztecs’ 70-7 loss at New Mexico.

Northwestern-Iowa football on ESPN Classic???


Will someone please explain how or why Saturday’s Northwestern-Iowa football game is on ESPN Classic? Does ESPN know something about this game that we don’t?

No offense to either team, but doesn’t an event have to prove itself to be a classic before it can be defined as one? And frankly, how likely is it that the Wildcats and Hawkeyes will team up to play a game that ranks among the best Kinnick Stadium has ever hosted?

Here’s ESPN’s description of ESPN Classic:

ESPN Classic is a 24-hour, all-sports network devoted to telecasting the greatest games, stories, heroes and memories in the history of sports.

It seems an exaggeration based on Saturday’s programming. Take a look. All times are Eastern, and all of these links are dead.

11:00a – Billiards – 2005 Men’s Trick Shot Magic, First Semifinal
 12:00p – College FootballNorthwestern at Iowa
 3:00p – Drive to the New York Auto Show
 4:00p – Drive to the Los Angeles Auto Show
 5:00p – Drive to the North American International Auto Show
 6:00p – Drive to the Chicago Auto Show
 7:00p – Drive to the New York Auto Show
 8:00p – Boxing – 2001: Acelino Freitas vs. Alfred Kotey
 9:00p – Boxing – 2005: Diego Corrales vs. Jose Luis Castillo
 10:00p – Boxing – J.C. Chavez
 11:30p – Boxing – 1988: Tyson/M. Spinks
 12:00a – 2007 World Series of Poker

If Iowa and Northwestern play the Game of the Year in college football, or even the Game of the Day, it probably will be the most “Classic” event ESPN Classic airs all day.

But doesn’t it have to establish itself as a classic first? It seems like a lot of needless ressure to put on the two teams.

Go out there and play one of the most stirring football games mankind has ever seen, men. Don’t just play hard. Do amazing things, things that far transcend anything you’ve ever done in your lives.

No, this game looks like Big Ten Network material. You know, where the league’s many so-so games are shown each week.


ESPN Doomsday Purveyor: Iowa in the Motor City Bowl



People who write about college football have occasional summer doldrums. So it is with ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach, who has his bowl projections for the coming season at the site right now, in June.

When everyone is 0-0. When the first of many upsets to come has yet to occur.

Well, why not? It’s all just entertainment. But how entertaining is it for Iowa Hawkeyes fans to see their team projected to go to the (shudder) Motor City Bowl to play the Fighting Cardinals of Ball State?

Schlabach has Ohio State making its annual trip to the BCS championship game, Wisconsin representing the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, Illinois in the Capitol One Bowl, Penn State in the Outback, Michigan State in the Alamo, Michigan in the Champs Sports, Purdue in the Insight, and … Iowa in the lowly Motor City.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Tickets for the Motor City Bowl are next to nothing. Correction: Ford Field in Detroit, the site of the game, is next to nothing.

But look at it this way. Ball State will be a clear step up in competition from the two teams Iowa opens the season against, Maine and Florida International.

Ball St

(the Ball State Cardinal – the fact this is a waste basket is not an editorial comment)

The ESPN.com prophet of doom’s work is at http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=schlabach_mark&id=3458435