Sunday, November 11, 2012

Honoring Veterans at Kinnick Stadium

Veteran's Day fell on the weekend of a home Hawkeye Saturday. Those who served in the military were honored prior to kick off and a flag was unfurled from goal line to goal line during the national anthem. Iowa wore special uniforms and a great tribute to our Veterans was the highlight of the day.
 Instead of the numerous black and gold flags around the stadium, U.S. Flags were hoisted on Friday for the next day's game.
 And for many who remember a trademark of the Iowa Marching Band, the Stars and Stripes Forever was preformed at halftime.
Former Chicago Cubs announcer, Josh Lewin called the game on BTN. He was joined by Chris Martin.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weather Delay in Bloomington

The first weekend in November brought a mix of weather. In Big Ten country the leaves on the trees begin to turn colors in early October and by the end of the month it is a roll of the dice with what may remain. One of the more southern schools in the conference is Indiana and we encountered two different weather scenes on our two-day visit to the Hoosier State.

On Friday the weather couldn't have been better for this time of the year. Temperatures were in the 50s with the sun warming us up. And in this basketball town celebrating Parent's Weekend, the focus had already been switching to roundball and the football team's possible chance at the Big Ten title game was a distant thought. As students enjoyed one of the last fall Friday afternoons where they could enjoy themselves outside, an opposing football coach could walk the campus without being bothered by any of the student body. Coach Ferentz, who enjoys his coffee could be seen walking along the streets, talking on his phone and not being bothered.
 It is a rarity that a football team can stay so close to campus. And over the years of coming to Bloomington, typically a resort miles to the south would house the team, but its only attraction was Lake Monroe and the bears that we had been warned to stay away from. On game day the drive was similar to that the team encounters coming down from Iowa City, but at this remote resort, there would be no distractions. But the resort had closed and a hotel close to campus became the next option, or a move to Indianapolis.
 And as nice as the weather was on Friday, storms came into the area on Saturday causing a Severe Weather delay, starting the game over an hour late. Lightning could be seen to the south and hail was in the area. Bowls of chili were consumed in the press area waiting for the on-field warmups to begin.
 And what looks to be more the norm than the exception are fireworks bringing teams to the field. Indiana is the third straight school to perform the act....
...and the smoke from the fireworks wafted over Memorial Stadium as the Iowa team entered, and close to kick off of the game.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another trip to Chicago

Northwestern has a small enrollment, but has some of the bigger named graduates. Since the Wildcats have improved their play on the field many of their alumni are fully backing the team. A week ago ESPN talent, and Washington Post writer Michael Wilbon was the honorary captain for the 'Cats as they took on Nebraska. Despite the loss, Wilbon rejoined the team for the Homecoming game with Iowa. He spent a great deal of time on ESPN during the third quarter but joined the Best Video Staff in the Big Ten, if not the Nation for a photo opportunity. Wilbon was very generous with his time and was very courteous in taking the picture. Definitely a proud alum who is as nice in person as he appears on television.
 On the banks of Lake Michigan, Ryan Field provided a very scenic backdrop to a beautiful day on Chicago's North Side. The last trip to Evanston for the Hawkeyes was dreary and rainy, but not in 2012.
Our seat on the 50 yard line provided great views on the field as well as the fall scenery.

A Night Game in Kinnick Stadium

Nights of football in Kinnick Stadium aren't a common occurrence. In 1992 the first one of its kind took place when the Miami Hurricane came to town. But games under the lights have become a more regular happening since the Big Ten Network was created in 2006. No more than one night game a year in Iowa City and it usually is a special event. In Kinnick this year it took on additional meaning with the inaugural member of the "ANF" class, Casey Wiegman was inducted. During the farm crisis of the 1980s, then Iowa head coach, Hayden Fry wanted to bring to light the plight of the farmers to the national audience and placed black and gold stickers on the helmet letting everyone know, "America Needs Farmers." Below, Weigman is honored before the game being the son of a farmer, played for Coach Fry and from small town Parkersburg, Iowa.

 Another future inductee served as honorary captain for the night. Robert Gallery, another farmer's son was introduced prior to kick off. He spoke to the team earlier in the day at the team hotel.

In Iowa City for the game were the Insight Bowl hosts for the Hawkeyes while in Arizona the past two years. Steve Leach, Bob Whitehouse and Jeff Smith were also honored before the game and spent time watching from the best seat in college football.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Victory over Michigan State

After an off-week in the season, the Iowa Football team found a way to get to 2-0 in the Legends Division of the Big Ten and be in the driver's seat for the birth in the Big Ten Championship Game. It was a raw, cold, damp day in East Lansing as the Michigan State crowd was little factor in this Big Ten match-up. The stadium was never full, and by the middle of the fourth quarter empty seats were more prevalent than those occupied. But the black and gold clad sitting in the NE corner didn't leave and saw a double OT victory.
 The Michigan State Video Crew has always been one of the crews we enjoy working with in the conference. Matt Harper and Tom Shepherd have always provided good laughs and memories from many game days. In the video world this was a minor monumental day. Each of use XOS Digital's Thunder platform, always found on PC's, but this year a few have tried using it on the Mac platform for increased speed and performance. This is the first game both schools used Macs to get the game edited for coaches to use following the game.
 Around the hotel on Friday night was Hawkeye Legend Rob Houghtlin. He currently lives in Eastern Michigan and drove over to spend some time with his alma mater.
 However the Michigan State Video Staff has been a bit of a thorn to the side of mine and the Iowa Staff. The last two years our fantasy baseball championship has come down to a matchup of me against one of the two. And each year I have been the runner-up to the championship. My frustration was taken out with a bat to Shep's camera.
A highlight for members of the video crew was meeting ESPN's sideline reporter, Jenn Brown. Here Shane Adams and Jeff Nielsen get their picture taken with her.

Night Out on the Town

Every town has that one establishment where all the older men get together, away from the job and home, where the stories are told and then get exaggerated. In East Lansing, that one place would be Arts - the old hangout for the Michigan State Football coaching staff.

Back in 2009 Tom Shepherd, the Video Coordinator for the Spartan Football team took us to where Perles and Parker would hold court after work. It wasn't a fancy place, but one that would be comfortable to older men - smoky, dark and hidden - away from the crowd of the locals.
The beers are about as large as some of the stories that were told, and the pizza as deep as the lies. But this is where the good times were held by the staff.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

An Off Weekend

Watching ESPN College Game Day I was quick to find out the college game of the day involved the Bulldogs. However it was the Georgia Bulldogs as they defended their #5 ranking on the road at South Carolina, ranked 6th. But another game of the day involved a different Bulldog team. The Drake Bulldogs were taking on the University of San Diego Torerors - a rematch of the defending co-champs of the Pioneer League. Each of these teams came into the contest undefeated in Pioneer League competition, with the winner having a big leg up on the conference crown.
Drake's home game has coincided with our off weekend the last two seasons. Growing up attending Drake football game when the Hawkeyes were on the road, this has become my chance to take my son to their games. A year ago my son and I saw them play Campbell, but this year's matchup had more intriguing story lines going in. The 2011 game had Spike the mascot, this year the real Spike roamed the sideline.
Drake's football coach, Chris Creighton has been in Des Moines for six seasons and his contributions have been greatly felt. Not only have the Bulldogs won or tied for conference titles in many of those years, he has led the team to international play in the summer of 2011 when the travelled to African and play in the Kilamanjaro Bowl. That was part of a two week trip that went beyond a football game. There the Bulldogs team volunteered their time for many projects around the area.
There was much hype leading into the game, but the final score was a letdown. Drake was victorious 38-10 and took advantage of many USD turnovers. The win puts Drake in the driver's seat for the conference crown.
It was Homecoming weekend on the Drake campus. And for the first time was a marching band reunion. Many former band members came back and celebrated the legacy of former marching band director, Don Marcoullier. He led the band and made it one of the elite marching band outfits in the Midwest. Along with performances in front of the home Drake crowd, he would also take them to perform in front of many NFL crowds.