Monday, September 27, 2010

Homecoming at Iowa

Today begins Homecoming week at Iowa. The week-long celebration culminates in the football game Saturday night against Penn State. Among the many events are the Iowa Shout, Parade, Pep Rally and revelation of King and Queen. Different members of the Greek System got the week off to a good start by decorating the windows of many downtown businesses.

College Football Week 4

We'll celebrate the UCLA victory at Texas with Nicollete, a member of the UCLA Spirit Squads.....Texas may have lost, but Oklahoma's lackluster performance at Cincinnati also took some of the shine off this week's Red River Rivalry....Many more teams are hitting conference play, including all teams in the Big Ten. The best game in the conference is Wisconsin at Michigan State. The winner can be placed among the conference top teams, the loser will be fighting for respectability....Tennessee escaped with a narrow victory over Alabama-Birmingham. The Vol's chances for wins are becomming fewer.... As important as the game between Wisconsin and Michigan State is to the conference race, that isn't the only game played at Spartan Stadium. On the photo deck video coordinators from each school are facing each other for the Video Guy Fantasy Baseball Championship.

Night Out on the Town

Our emphasis this week is on the east coast and our nation's capital. Chadwick's sits on the banks of the Potomic River in the Georgetown area of Washington D.C. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The brunch is what attracted us to the restaurant.

Since it is located in the Georgetown area, one would think that Chadwick's is the real-life St. Elmos from the movie of a similar name. It has its own bar area, and an area upstairs for extra dining as well as another bar. Pictures line the walls of political figures of both parties. Definitely a place where a few policies were discussed over a few beers.

We enjoyed a great brunch giving us good reason to believe that all meals are delicious.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Throwback Saturday

Saturday's Iowa Football game with Ball State was termed a "throwback" to the year of 1960, the last year of Forest Evashevski as head coach of the Hawkeyes. The uniforms were the most notable momento to the the team of '60, but there were a few other ways to honor that team.

Although not a throwback to the 1960 team, Danan Hughes was the analyst on the Big Ten Network. He teamed with Wayne Larrivee who has announced games in the conference for over twenty years. Hughes was a member of the Hawkeyes in the late 80s and early 90s graduating after the '92 season. Hughes played both football and baseball in college and went on to play with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The black helmets with Tiger Hawks were replaced with gold helmets featuring black numbers. Each helmet sported the name of the player who wore that jersey in 1960. For those that didn't have a coordinating number, "Evy" was placed above the facemask in honor of the coach.

Greeting members of the media as the exited the press box elevator was the lifesize bobblehead of former Hawkeye coach, Forest Evashevski.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hawkeyes defeat Cardinals

The Iowa football team wore the uniforms of the 1960 team and defeated the Ball State Cardinals, 45-0. The Carindals have not scored upon a Frentz-coached team since taking over in 1999. Game time temperatures were much differnt than a week ago in the desert.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Iowa - Arizona in Pictures

A little late in getting photos up from the weekend in Tucson. It was definitely a dry heat, but with a breeze on game night, the climate was very pleasant while in Arizona.

The J.W. Marriott in Tucson was the home for the Hawkeyes while in Tucson. A decent drive from Tucson, but a quiet place to get away from the buzz of the college town.
Cacti all over the grounds of the hotel
A name familiar to many Iowa fans. Former Iowa and Arizona basketball coach, Lute Olsen and his late wife have the court at the McKale Center named for them.
The McKale Center is home to Arizona basketball and volleyball. Located adjacent to Arizona Stadium, the Hawkeye basketball team of the '86 - '87 enjoyed success by beating Santa Clara and Texas El-Paso here in the NCAA Basketball Tournament First and Second Round.
The "Zona Zoo" is the official name of the Arizona Student Section. Students line up for general admission seating at this gate off the NE corner of the stadium

The origin of the term, "Bear Down." John Salmon, who was critically injured in an auto accident, proclaimed to his fellow student-athletes from his hospital bed to "Bear Down."

Sun setting on Arizona Stadium.

It was a "Red Out" for the Iowa game. All Arizona fans were encouraged to wear their Arizona red.

But the Hawkeye fans were prominent. At least 10,000 Hawkeye fans stood out in their gold shirts.

Arizona head coach, Mike Stoops prior to the kick off with Iowa. Stoops was one of three brothers who played at Iowa. Bobby is the head coach at Oklahoma while younger brother Mark is the defensive coordinator at Florida State.

Sun sets on the Tucson downtown district.

Joined by my colleague at the University of Arizona, Tim Cummins.

"The Herd" at the University of Iowa

The popular ESPN2 "Sports Nation" hosted by Colin Cowherd and Michelle Beadle makes a stop in Iowa City and at the University of Iowa as part of a week-long tour through Big Ten country. However before their popular show takes to the airways, Colin Cowherd hosted his ESPN Radio show which can be also seen live on ESPNU from Hubbard Park, on the campus of the University of Iowa.

The radio show attracted many students as they made their way to class, but the attention grabber is Sports Nation which will be televised live from the same location later in the day.

Cowherd took time to interact with the Iowa students during his commercial breaks as seen below.

Cowherd on his take of the National League Pennant Race and his favorite to make it to the World Series.

Cowherd talks about working with the beautiful Michelle Beadle and what his wife thinks about it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Video from Iowa at Arizona

College Football Week 3

Michigan State has a reason to jump for joy after Saturday night's OT win over Notre Dame. How gutsy of a call was that by Mark Dantonio. Down by three with the ball on fourth down, the Spartan Head Coach decided on a fake field goal which resulted in the winning touchdown. As Notre Dame's Brian Kelley met the victorious Spartan coach at mid-field, Kelley fessed up by saying something to the effect of "What a call." What a call it was, and thankfully it worked so Dantonio was not second-guessed....Thoughts go out to Dantonio who suffered a heart attack hours after the win. He is resting comfortably while offensive coordinator Dan Treadwell takes over for Dantonio....The advantage of playing a night game allowed me to watch a few different afternoon games. Perhaps the best of Saturday morning's kickoffs was the SEC battle of Arkansas and Georgia. Ryan Mallett led the Hogs down the field for the winning touchdown with under :30 to play. However Georgia played with much determiniation in the fourth quarter after head coach Mark Richt brought the team together at the beginning of the period to rally the troops. The Bulldogs played with much more enthusiasm and emotion to make a game of it, but was just not enough forcing Georgia to begin SEC play at 0-2, the first time in over 15 years....Minnesota has placed themselves in position to start the season at 1-3. Losses at home to South Dakota and Southern California have placed a great deal of emphasis on winning this Saturday with Northern Illinois. NIU picked to win the MAC by some so-called experts has played their FBS teams tough. Opening at Iowa State as well as travelling to Illinois this past Saturday is impressive scheduling. However this Saturday would be an important victory for either team. 

Night Out on the Town

Orlando and Las Vegas have as many similarities as they do differences. One thing they share is the quality of fine dining. Restaurants cater to people from all around the country, if not the world. And these restaurants can be found in many different locations.

Moon Fish in Orlando is one of the better dining experiences I have had. The fact that it resides in a strip mall does not diminish the quality of food you will receive. Steaks, fish and sushi are the highlights of this restaurant not far from International Boulevard. Portions are more than generous, and no matter how full you become, you don't want to leave anything on your plate behind.

And what better is there with a good steak than a nice glass of wine. A variety of wines greet you with something your taste buds will enjoy.

While sounding very formal, Moon Fish is a very casual place to dine. A good place to take the spouse, meet business clients or relax with friends. Moon Fish will not disappoint.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hawkeyes downed in desert

The Iowa Hawkeyes overcame a 27 - 7 deficit but fell short losing at Arizona 34 - 27. The Hawkeyes return home to face Ball St this Saturday in their final non-conference game before Big Ten season begins.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Walk Thru

The Hawkeyes have arrived in Tucson for the only match up of the weekend of top 25 teams. Iowa is 9th and the home town Arizona Wildcats are 24. Game time Saturday night is 9:30 CT.
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Destination Tucson

The first road trip is upon the Iowa Hawkeyes, and it is one of the longest regular season trips this team has taken for a while. Saturday night at 9:30 the Hawkeyes will take on the Arizona Wildcats.

Packed within are the different shirts and hats that may be needed for availability as well as equipment needed by the Hawkeye training, managerial and video staffs.

Drivers Jeff and Billy closed the doors on the attractive semi just before 1pm and headed down the road for Arizona. They plan on pulling into town sometime Thursday evening. On Friday morning they will drop off the hotel required at the team's hotel then meet the team at the airport to pick up extra items that were needed to be flown down on the same flight as the Hawkeyes.

Game time is 9:30pm (Iowa time) and can be seen on ESPN. This is the only match-up of the day between two teams voted in the top 25, and one of three on the slate facing teams from the Big Ten and Pac 10.

Monday, September 13, 2010

College Football Week 2

It is nice to see the Minnesota Golden Gopher Cheerleaders have already found other things to do with their Saturday afternoons. After Saturday's upset home loss to FCS South Dakota, the Gophers will have a hard time rebounding from the loss as Southern California visits the Twin Cities this week....The Minnesota, Southern California match-up is one of three matching the Big Ten v the Pac Ten. Arizona State travels to Madison to take on the Badgers while the Hawkeyes head to the desert to meet the Arizona Wildcats....Not often would I say this, but the center of the college football world will be in Tucson, Arizona. Few match-ups in the nation compare to this one. The Hawkeyes will be trying to defeat a ranked non-conference opponent on the road for the first time since 1976 when they beat the Penn State Nittany Lions, 7-6. The following week the Hawkeyes traveled to Southern California where they were soundly beaten 55-0....

Night Out on the Town

After opening successful "Shorts Burger and Shine" in downtown Iowa City, former Hawkeye place-kicker Nate Kaeding has opened another location near Kinnick Stadium in Stella's.

The former site of Melrose Market and Taste of Melrose, Stella's is a quaint dining experience with a variety of menu choices that changes every two months. The signature of each dish is the freshness of foods from the area. Iowa pork or meat will always be found on the menu with a nice selection of assorted fruits and vegetables from the area.

Variety is the word one would describe the assortment of beers on tap. Gone are the regulars such as Bud Light and Miller Lite, but Pabst Blue Ribbon, Pilsner Urquell and Hoefgarden are part of the lineup such as local beers from the Amanas and Knoxville, Iowa.

Parking and seating is limited as it sits on the edge of little University Heights. Stella's is able to accomodate more in the warmer Iowa months as the large front doors open to outdoor seating to the south and west. Parking is limited to the small lot shared by a dentist office and city hall. The large Kinnick Stadium parking lot,  a Kaeding, Alamo Bowl game-winning field goal away may be your best bet.

Stella's has only been open for a week and within days will also be open for breakfast and lunch. Dinner meals will be under $20 and judging by the soft opening last week, it will be worth it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Iowa - Iowa State Game in Photos

This week ESPN on ABC had the broadcast of the Iowa v Iowa State game from Kinnick Stadium. The announcing crew of Ron Franklin and Ed Cunningham spent much time in Iowa City to prepare for the week's telecast. It started on Thursday when they attended the last physical practice in preparation for the Iowa State Cyclones. They returned Friday to sit down with Head Coach, Kirk Ferentz and the coordinators. That was preceded by a video session by the announcers, taking a closer look at each of the two teams in the day's contest.

Very few get the opportunity to ride the team buses to the stadium. This is my view - The Best Seat in College Football.
It is estimated over 20,000 more than capacity descend upon the University campus on this day. Many of those stay in parking lots like this passing the time with food and drinks within.
Mike Riggan and his equipment truck outside Kinnick Stadium

All kinds show up in Iowa City. Above is one who doesn't fit in.

A first of a television network visiting Kinnick Stadium, they did their open from the Video booth and not within their network tv booth next door. The reason ESPN on ABC found this site compelling is that is allowed the viewers at home to see into the stadium, and not of the skyline (University of Iowa Hospitals). Both Iowa and Iowa State's video staffs had a little over two minutes to set up in time for the opening kickoff. Below is the video:

Iowa is the Hawkeye State

A dominating first half performance is all the Iowa Hawkeyes needed to secure the Cy-Hawk Trophy for one more year. A 28-0 halftime lead turned into a 35-7 victory in front of over 70,000 fans in Iowa's Kinnick Stadium, the only place in the state this many could come together for a football game.

Monday, September 6, 2010

College Football Week 1

Jacksonville State Cheerleader
The College Football season started off with a few surprises, a highly anticipated game and pretty much status quo. The biggest surprise was to our friend on the side. Football Championship Division school, Jacksonville State went on the road to Oxford, Mississippi and defeated the SEC school in overtime. Ole Miss started Oregon transfer Jeremiah Masoli and perhaps karma caught up the Rebels...The Big East had a poor showing over the weekend. Pittsburgh lost at Utah in OT, UConn -who many felt could pull the road upset - had a poor showing at Michigan, Cincinnati lost on the road at Fresno State, and Louisville lost to Kentucky. Perhaps the best showing by the conference was by Syracuse who won at Akron....Two traditional powers meet this weekend as Michigan travels to Notre Dame. Hard to predict the winner here, but also try determining who had the "better" win a week ago. Was it Michigan's victory at home over UConn or Notre Dame defeating in-state rival, Purdue at South Bend? I'm not sure Notre Dame will be able to stop the mobile Denard Robinson at quarterback. But the intangibles will be the home field advantage of Notre Dame. Michigan has some momentum, but will it last if they get down early?.....The Pac 10 had a strong outing in the first week. Oregon more than dominated at home over New Mexico, Arizona went on the road and defeated a sound Toledo team, and USC had issues on defense, but they continued to look strong at Hawaii. They also sprinkled in their share of lower division teams, but the Pac 10 may be one of the more successful conferences in the nation in 2010....Be prepared to hear often of the coaching battle taking place this Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma. Head Sooner Coach, Bob Stoops will face his younger brother, the Defensive Coordinator of Flordia State, Mark Stoops. 

Night Out on the Town

This week's featured spot has an identity problem. It is a local pub in Des Moines. Cooney's caters to everyone, but don't call it a Hawkeye bar, as Brian, the owner is a University of Iowa grad. Don't call it a Cyclone bar as Kevin's brother, local KCCI anchor Kevin, is an Iowa State grad. You may be able to call it a Drake bar as some of the Bulldog upper classmen find their way to this nearby tavern. But one thing you can call it is a friendly, warm inviting place to meet friends and share in good conversation.
Located on the NW side of the Des Moines city limits, Cooney's has been the neighborhood tap for quite some time. A little over ten years ago it moved across the street to its current location, and the regulars followed Brian over.

A couple of things you can count on when visiting Brian: 1. The popcorn is plenty and goes well with the cold draws. 2. Always a game on the television. If Iowa and Iowa State are both on at the same time, he caters to both clientel showing each school on the many televisions. and 3. If there isn't a game on, Brian has no other news station on, but that of his brother, KCCI - Channel 8.
Brian takes much pride in tending his bar. Always there to open in the afternoon, but gives way to his younger bartenders when the college students come calling. However Brian returns every night to clean and close.

On this weekend of Iowa and Iowa State, you know you can watch the game here and have friends, as well as enemies, around.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Opening Weekend - Eastern Illinois

The home opener with Eastern Illinois meant football was back in Iowa City. A top ten team stirred much excitement for those in black and (mainly) gold on Saturday. Excitement hasn't been this high for the start of an Iowa Football season for quite some time. This Saturday was signified as the "Be Bold Wear Gold" game encouraging everyone to show up in their best Gold shirt.

The first game also brought back many familiar faces who once walked the Iowa sidelines.
Every Iowa game is televised thanks to the the contracts set up by the Big Ten Conference. If the game isn't on one of the ESPN family of networks, it will be seen on the Big Ten Network. Calling the game Saturday was Tom Hart and former Hawkeye lineman, Anthony Herron, the network's number two broadcast team.

And what would Fry Fest be without the man it was named after. Here former head coach, Hayden Fry takes time for a picture with Erick Tjarks and Michael Witt from the Video Staff of the Iowa Football team.
Sitting in the Learfield Booth was Matt Sherman. Sherman was the starting quarterback of the Hawkeyes in the mid-90s. He currently works for Learfield in Minneapolis where he keeps an eye on the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Above he is joined by former Iowa Offensive Coordinator, Don Patterson who was in town as part of the 1985 reunion. That team made its way to #1 in the nation and later lost to UCLA in the '86 Rose Bowl.

And new tailgating policies were in effect for Iowa Football 2010. Those policies affected everyone in University lots.

Opening Weekend - Evashevski Drive

The Iowa City / Coralville area honors those who have spent time in the area making it a better place or placing the area on the map. Around the University of Iowa Athletic Complexes there are many reminders of those who were integral in placing the Hawkeyes on the map. Downtown Iowa City honors historian and former All-American swimmer with a statue as well as one of the cities schools being named after him. The early 70s found the football stadium being re-named after the lone Heisman Trophy winner who was later killed in World War II, Nile Kinnick. In the 90's Elliott drive, located near Carver Hawkeye Arena - a facility he worked hard to build - was named in honor of former Athletic Director Bump Elliott. And a year ago hall of fame football coach for the Hawkeyes, Hayden Fry had the main access road into Coralville and the athletic complex named after him. In 2010 another former Hawkeye Football coach had the distinction of a road being named after him.
Forest Evashevski was the head football coach for the Iowa Hawkeyes in the 50s. He led the Hawkeyes to their first bowl appearances, those being the Rose Bowl as Big Ten Champions. Evashevski Drive, dedicated the day before the Hawkeye's home opener, runs on the west side of Kinnick Stadium. Among the dignitaries on hand for the presentation were University of Iowa President, Sally Mason, current Head Football Coach, Kirk Ferentz, Athletic Director, Gary Barta and a member from one of Evashevski's teams, Jim Gibbons. Former football assistant coach and Varsity Club President, Dave Triplett was the master of ceremonies.

Children of Evashevski's were on hand for the presentation and unveiling of the street sign that bears that former Hawkeye's name.

Opening Weekend - Johnson County I-Club Breakfast

As tradition has it, every Friday morning prior to a home football Saturday, the Johnson County I-Club holds a breakfast featuring Iowa Football Head Coach, Kirk Ferentz. This breakfast is no ordinary breakfast. I can't imagine anywhere else a standing room only crowd would listen to a speaker at 7am along with a performance by the Iowa Marching Band, Cheerleaders and Dance Team, as well as the mascot, Herky parading around posing for pictures. That is what this past Friday brought in downtown Iowa City. The anxious fan base began appearing at 3:30am in order to secure seats in the front of the room.

Another tradition that began early this decade is the freshman class being introduced at the first one of the year. Above the freshman class were asked to perform the Hokey Pokey in conjunction with the anual Fry Fest celebration later that day.

Hawkeyes start the season with a win.

The Iowa Hawkeyes got off to strong start as they took a 37-7 win , but also had to worry about the starting Quarterback and his andkle (Ricky Stanzi) following a possible injury in the frst half.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Divisions Announced

Now we know, and Iowa may have taken one for the team, but the bottom line is things shook out well for the Hawkeyes as the Big Ten divided into divisions. The Hawkeyes are joined by Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Minnesota and Northwestern while playing Purdue on a yearly basis as a "crossover rival." Take a step back and there is history with most of these teams. Hayden Fry created a competitive rivalry with Michigan in the 80s. Michigan State has become a series over the years with the winner being a toss up on many occasions. Minnesota has been a border rivalry, while Nebraska will become one. And Northwestern has been a thorn in Iowa's side over the last ten years.

But when I say Iowa may have taken one for the team I'm referring to the disappearance of Wisconsin from the Hawkeye's schedule. The Big Ten couldn't be perfect in setting up the divisions, and added one crossover game to secure other rivalries. However the Iowa - Wisconsin game couldn't be saved. So the Hawkeyes picked up Purdue. Yes, Purdue.

You could've accepted Purdue had they been in the same division, but it was a matter of two leftovers being put together. Michigan and Ohio State had to stay together as well as Wisconsin and Minnesota. But after that it was either Penn State or Indiana. Penn State has been a great team for Iowa to play over the last ten years, but every year it is a physical game and a long ways to travel for either fan base. Indiana? Well the same discussion would've occurred with them that we are having with Purdue. So while I'm not excited about playing Purdue every year rather than Wisconsin, it is a traditional Big Ten opponent that is a reasonable drive for the Iowa fan. And in my trips to West Lafayette since 1989, Hawkeye fans haven't had many troubles getting a ticket.

However I will miss the trip up 151. More memories to come in the future, but a look back at last year's game.