Seven things from the third Saturday of the college football season:
1. We’ll see if Iowa’s keel is even this week. After an emotional home triumph over Iowa State, the Hawkeyes go on the road for the first time. They still really don’t know who’s their quarterback. They play a Pittsburgh team with much to prove and two weeks to prepare for the Hawkeyes. Big game.
2. Arizona State did Iowa State no favors by losing at home to UNLV in overtime. Instead of rubbing out the Rebels, ASU gave UNLV a big lease on life. Now the Rebels come home to play Iowa State, and there may be some actual interest in the team in Las Vegas. Not a lot, but some.
3. Wisconsin earned some stripes by winning at Fresno State. Believe it or not, East Coast elitists, Fresno State is a really tough place to win. Good for the Badgers for trekking there for a real challenge, and good for the Badgers for leaving with a 13-10 victory.
4. Ohio State. Off you go. Try to settle for a Rose Bowl this year instead of stinking up the national-title game.
5. Michigan. No surprise that it lost at Notre Dame or is 1-2 or will go 6-6. Over the weekend, Coach Rich Rodriguez got the verbal commitment of another five-star guy, this one from New Jersey. Enjoy the Wolverines’ plight now, everyone. It won’t last forever.
6. Oklahoma and Missouri don’t play each other this year. Correction. They aren’t scheduled to play each other. But they’ll meet Dec. 6 in the Big 12 title game, both unbeaten. It will be the Game of the Year and then some.
7. USC looks fairly competent, wouldn’t you say?
It doesn’t matter how much it rains, I’ll be live blogging from Saturday’s Iowa State-Iowa football game. The link is on Gazetteonline.com’s main page and sports page.
Come by, fans of both teams and the all-important independent voters.
This link will lead you there:
I only had the pleasure of covering a game involving a Don “Bear” Haskins-coached team once, but what a game it was.
It was 1987 in Tucson, Arizona. Haskins’ Texas-El Paso team upset Arizona on its homecourt in the first round and Iowa had a walkover against Santa Clara. So the Hawkeyes met UTEP in the second round.
Haskins, who coached UTEP (then called Texas Western) to the national title 21 years earlier, seemed bemused after the 98-91 overtime win over Lute Olson’s Arizona team. He had four players foul out in regulation, but his men still found a way to win. Iowa fans had fretted about possibly playing Arizona on its home court in the second round. It turns out that probably would have been the preferable option that year., before Olson really had Arizona turned into a full-fledged powerhouse.
The UTEP-Iowa game was a thriller. Iowa was down by four points at halftime and UTEP led by six with seven minutes left. But as we saw so many times from the Hawkeyes that season, few deficits couldn’t be made up. Iowa won, 84-82.
It was one of the few times all season that Iowa’s full-court press didn’t bother the opposition.
”I worried so much about the press I totally hadn’t even thought of how much difference there was in size,” said Haskins. ”Their depth broke us down. We broke down defensively and that’s where they got us.”
But man, did he have his team well-coached for those two games in Tucson. Iowa’s run to the West Regional final could very easily have been cut short in the second round.
Haskins died Sunday at age 78. For a wonderful essay on Haskins by the sportswriter who perhaps knew him best, I direct you to this piece by Dan Wetzel:
TO: Iowa Media
FROM: Phil Haddy
RE: Blogging Policy September 5, 2008
Upon further review The University of Iowa Athletics Department has decided to suspend its blogging policy for the coming year. The NCAA policy applies only to post-season championships. Iowa has supported that policy for a number of years in its regular season events. We still have strong concerns and questions about this media phenomenon and the effect it will have on our media partners. We’ll continue to study the situation and let you know which direction the University will proceed in the future.
The Hlog’s reaction: This was a common-sense reaction by Iowa to a common-sense protest by the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Iowa’s stance is it doesn’t want to see primarily play-by-play in the live blogging sessions because of its broadcast rights. It isn’t a totally unreasonable position, though perhaps an overreaction. Anyone who is live blogging should be doing more than that, anyhow, because anyone with a radio or TV available doesn’t need a play-by-play account.
We who are doing this (including yours truly Saturday at 10:45 a.m. – the link will be at Gazetteonline.com’s main sports page) should provide an interactive, give-and-take service, anyway, not be hung up on Shonn Greene up the middle for six yards.
But make no mistake about it. Had the Gazette not strongly protested, it would have been another small defeat for the free press in specific and the human race in general. If that seems just a bit overdramatic, hey, it’s time government started working for you instead of the other way around.
The Hlog approved this message.
Let’s hope this isn’t how our Saturday’s live blogging session from the Florida International-Iowa football game goes, but we make no promises.
Wait, that’s not true. We promise to have the give-and-take with you good people going Saturday at 10:45 a.m. With any luck, no henchmen from the NCAA will be there to take us out of the press box and rearrange our kneecaps.
Look for the link on the sports page at Gazetteonline.com Saturday morning. Offer your own comments about the game, the upcoming Iowa State-Iowa game, or life in general. You’ll be among friends, and you won’t get coffee spilled on you. Unless you do it yourself.
Crafty JackCosgrove and the Maine Black Bears are airborne as I write this, heading home to Orono to regroup and prepare to give the Monmouth Whoevers the beatings of their lives next Saturday.
Bring on Florida International. The Golden Panthers are getting ready to stun the Kansas Jayhawks tonight in Lawrence. And by stun, the Hlog means lose by less than 55 points.
Because the Hlog did such a thorough job scouting Maine the last month, Iowa undoubtedly was the best-prepared team in America this week. With a just a week to prep for Florida International, the Hlog can’t promise the same results.
Oh, sure it can. Another 46-3 type win is in the offing for Iowa, and you all know it. Then the real season begins.
By the way, Utah over Michigan isn’t a true upset. The Utes are good. The Wolverines? Not so much.
More thoughts on the Saturday slate tomorrow after a little time to size up everything.
So the Maine-Iowa football game Saturday is a sellout.
This should come as no surprise to anyone. Why anyone would miss out on this rare opportunity to see the Maine Black Bears is beyond the Hlog’s comprehension.
But now isn’t the time to be stuck in the present. Although, now actually would be the only time to be stuck in the present.
Anyway, Florida International brings its very special brand of football to Kinnick Stadium next Saturday. If you miss this game because it’s a sellout before kickoff, shame on you.
And if your football fever is something that not even more cowbell can cure, you may want to hurry over to Stubhub.com. As of 6 p.m. Friday, Stubhub had 138 Florida International-Iowa tickets on sale for $20 or less.
Get ’em while they’re “hot.”