Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

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Happy New Year. 2010 was brought in on South Beach as the Hawkeyes prepared for Georgia Tech in the Fed Ex Orange Bowl. This year the Hawkeyes played prior to New Year's Day after beating Missouri in the Insight Bowl. Bringing in the New Year from Iowa is much different than the mild temps of Miami a year ago. On that last night of 2009, we awaited the new year as well as a concert performed at our hotel, the Fontainebleau by Lady GaGa.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Great Way to End a Game

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Always a great day when the team can sing the Iowa Fight Song

A Memorable Night in Tempe

Iowa's victory over Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl was their third straight bowl victory - a first for the program. Twenty-five seniors leave a lasting legacy for the underclassmen to continue. Those seniors led the team in the singing of the Iowa Fight Song while hoisting the Insight Bowl Champion Trophy.


Throughout the 2010 season the Iowa Football team appeared on ABC five times. On three of those broadcasts Sean McDonough and Matt Millen announced the game to a national audience. The same occurred for Tuesday night's Insight Bowl on ESPN. And dating back to the 2009 game in Columbus, this crew has had Iowa on the call for six games, whether on ABC, ESPN or ESPN Radio. (Within our conversation, Sean McDonough mentioned he has visited this web site).
Every bowl game has its advantages and the Insight has many. Above were the team hosts for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Alongside me from L-R: Jeff Smith, Steve Leach (Insight Bowl Committee Chairman and '84 U of Iowa Grad / '87 U of I Law School), Bob Whitehouse and Mike Muraco (Team Host Lead). These four were with the Hawkeyes every minute while in Arizona and took care of every detail. Steve had those of us who went in advance of the team to his house for a Bar B Que with his wife Beth, formerly of Wilton, Iowa
Parachute jumpers were among the pre-game activities. The jumper carrying the "Iowa" flag brought the loudest ovation.
With Ryan Donohue, the starting punter for the Iowa Football team prior to Iowa's game with Missouri.

Insight Bowl Champions

The Iowa Football Video Staff with the 2010 Insight Bowl Trophy
The 2010 season may not have ended with a record many followers of the Iowa Football team expected. And the news off the field surrounding the team disappointed all who follow them. So on this late Tuesday night in Arizona, those who stayed awake were treated to a victory that made them feel good about their Hawkeyes again. For the third straight year - the first team in program history - the Iowa Football ends their season with a bowl victory, this year the Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Iowa's Equipment Truck

On display outside Sun Devil Stadium is the Iowa Football Equipment Truck, owned by Mike Riggan. Mike has provided the equipment transportation for the Hawkeyes for close to thirty years. Riggan was among the first in the nation to provide such a service and clearly shows off his pride in the Hawkeyes.

Insight Bowl Team Photo

Monday brought the feel of Friday in Iowa's game week. We are less than 24 hours away from the kick-off of the 2010 Insight Bowl as the Hawkeyes take on the Missouri Tigers for the first time in 100 years. Two schools less than four hours apart will face each other a time zone away. On this day before the game the Iowa Hawkeyes took to Sun Devil Stadium, the home of the Insight Bowl for their team picture. The field is freshly painted and is in far greater shape than less than three weeks ago when the bottom picture was taken.

Today the field was freshly painted in preparation for Tuesday night's game. Game time is set for 8pm MT with game time temps in the 50s under clear skies.

Game Preparation

Game preparation takes on many roles. Moving an entire organization to a remote location for 7 - 10 days is an undertaking. For the Iowa Hawkeyes, the Jacobson Athletic Complex is relocated to Tempe, Arizona and the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. More than just practice goes on while the Hawkeyes are out of Iowa City. Trainers, Video, Equipment, Administration and an entire Football Staff set up shop in hotel ballrooms and meeting areas and continue to operate. Cat 5e cables are run from room to room for the coaches to continue their game planning while watching Missouri video as well as that day's practice. Trainers continue to tape ankles and rehab injured athletes using the equipment that must be transported on the team's equipment truck. Secretaries busily type up game plans as well as continuously modify based on what the coaches scheme up.
The team's video operations are set up in a centrally located meeting room. All practices are edited and shared out to ten meeting rooms for coaches and players to access.
Darrell Wilson begins his position meeting with the linebackers in one of the team's meeting rooms

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Night Out on the Town

The Phoenix area is full of Iowans. Over the last week the Iowa Football team has been in Tempe preparing for the 2010 Insight Bowl, transplanted Iowans are all over the place. In Scottsdale there is a restaurant that would make any Hawkeye fan feel at home. Kinnicks Sports Bar and Grill is definitely "Iowa." The menu has selections with a Hawkeye-feel or with a connection to the Big Ten. Flags hang from the rafters of every Big Ten school as well as Chuck Long's jersey, and Nile Kinnick's Heisman is on display...well, a replica. Our waitress, Amanda (below) says it becomes very busy on game days and they are looking for a big crowd to watch the Insight Bowl.

Head Coaches Dinner at the Phoenician

On Christmas Night the staffs of the two participating teams of the 2010 Insight Bowl met for dinner with the Insight Bowl committee at the famed Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale. John Junker, Executive Director of the Fiesta Bowl which oversees the Insight welcomed Iowa and Missouri and introduced each coach for a short speech.

This is the first year in many the Insight Bowl isn't on New Year's Eve. Typically this dinner is later in the week, but it was determined Christmas evening may be the best time, as children attending experienced a special dinner consisting of mac and cheese or chicken strips followed by games, cookie decorating and movies.
Typically the above photo is of the participating team's coaches, but this is Mike Schumaker, Video Coordinator of Missouri along with myself.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

The Iowa Football team took to the practice field on Christmas Day as the Insight Bowl is only three days away. Weather in Tempe was sunny as temperatures reached the middle 70s, a distinct difference from what their friends in Iowa City were experiencing.

After practice children of the coaches and support staff were waiting for the team to arrive to provide Christmas tidings. For some of the team this was their first time away from home for the holidays.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Back to Practice

 On Thursday the Iowa Football team enjoyed an afternoon off from the daily practice preparation for the 2010 Insight Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. All enjoyed the day in different ways. Some attended the Heat - Suns NBA game featuring LeBron James and Dwayne Wade from Miami. Others took advantage of visiting the local sights. Among them, and close to the Hawkeye hotel is Rawhide, a western-themed town out of the early 1900s.

But the next day brought the normal game-week preparations as the Hawkeyes faced their "Tuesday" workout.
Members of the media were allowed into Corona del Sol's practice facility to get footage, pictures, as well as interviews. This will be the last opportunity for the media to sit in on Iowa's preparation for the Missouri Tigers on the 28th.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Player Hospitality

As with all of the bowl games, the Insight  provides entertainment for the players in and out of the hotel. Being secluded on an Indian reservation, the bowl has many shuttle vans lined up ready to take the Hawkeye Football players anywhere around the greater Tempe area. Malls have been popular destinations as well as local restaurants and entertainment complexes. But within the hotel the Player Hospitality room has been a popular destination.

Volunteers of the Insight Bowl are staffed throughout the time the Hawkeyes are at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass. Games, computers and snacks are plentiful as many of these volunteers participate with the team.
 Whether it is "pop-a-shot," various PS3 games or board games, the players have stayed up to curfew competing with one another. Above freshman, James Morris strategically makes his move in Connect 4....
...and Junior Tyler Sash flexes for the camera as he waiting his turn in a friendly game of billiards. The Insight Bowl then provides the team an approved snack before heading to bed for the night.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Off to Practice

Clouds began to clear and the Iowa Football conducted their second practice at Corona del Sol High School in preparation for the 2010 Insight Bowl vs Missouri.

Night Out on the Town

For years Arizona has been a popular destination for transplanted Iowans. Hardly a day has gone by while we have been in Tempe preparing for the 2010 Insight Bowl have we not met someone who is either from Iowa, or has a connection to the Hawkeye State. Last night we decided to head out to the restaurant that hosts the Phoenix Iowa Club and Valley of the Sun I-Club's football watch parties, the Sandbar Mexican Grill.

The Sandbar is perfect to watch the Hawkeyes. Televisions are lined up inside offering a great view whether you are seated at a booth, table or bar stool. And with two bars, one large inside as well as outside, the wait staff will keep you drinks filled as the locals cheer on their favorite Hawkeyes.

The food isn't typical bar food, either. It is a Mexican grill with many favorites of the area as well as a their take to make a few better. Two types of fish tacos were available and I took the one more original. The Ahi tacos were placed in jacima tortilla shells topped with guacamole, and were delicious. After trying those I am eager to try the mainstream Baja Tacos and see how they compare.

Four locations in the greater Phoenix area, the Scottsdale and Chandler locations may attract the most Hawkeye fans, but all four offer drink and food specials during the Hawkeye games. As our waiter informed us (a former resident of Ames and Iowa State grad) there are special drink specials planned while the Hawkeyes are in town.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Iowa's First Arizona Practice

Under overcast skies and an occasional sprinkle of rain, the Iowa Hawkeyes began their Arizona preparation for the 2010 Insight Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium. The Hawkeyes are practicing at Corona del Sol High School a few miles down the road from the home of the Insight Bowl.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Insight Bowl Welcome

Upon arriving at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, the Iowa Football team came together for an introductory meeting presented by the Insight Bowl staff. Along with the introductions of the Insight Bowl staff and welcome by President of the Fiesta Bowl organization, John Junker, the team listened to an orientation of the greater Tempe area. Presentations included a local law enforcement official who gave team members tips on what to do and where to be safe.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

The Hawkeyes Have Arrived in Tempe

Kirk Ferentz leads his Hawkeye Football team off the buses at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix as the Iowa Football team begins their preparation for the Insight Bowl in Arizona. Ferentz is accompanied by Insight Bowl team host, Steve Leach - a native of Dubuque and University of Iowa alum.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Night Out on the Town

The first Night out on the Town of the 2010 Bowl season features the Yard House, located in Scottsdale's Fasion District.

With a covered valet entrace, the Yard House is located on the lower level of one of Scottsdale many malls. Once inside the bar could be compared to that of the tv show, Cheers--a long, square wood bar with many beers on tap.

The menu is also varied with the traditional bar favorites such as hamburgers and assorted sandwiches. But the entree menu has a little for everyone from fish to pasta to a wide variety of salads.

The Move to Tempe

A few issues with the mobile uploads to Engy's has delayed a few posts regarding the Iowa Football team's move to Tempe, Arizona for the 2010 Insight Bowl. However below you will see a difference in climates as the team will leave the December chill of the Upper Midwest for the dry Southwest air of the Valley of the Sun.

On Friday Mike Riggan, owner of TanTara Tucking  Company and the provider of the equipment semi used by the Iowa Football team departed the campus of the University of Iowa. Within the tractor-trailer was the Jacobson Athletic Complex as the team relocates to the bowl city. On board were items used for practice and the game, as well as video, medical and office supplies of the team and administration to be set up at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, the home away from home of the Iowa Hawkeyes in preparation for their bowl tilt with the Missouri Tigers.
Sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s will greet the team upon its arrival on Monday. In preparation for the football team, members of the equipment, video and training staff descended onto Tempe early Saturday to begin the relocaton process. On Monday the football team will arrive close to 4:30 into Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport where they will be greeted by members of the Insight Bowl staff. The Hawkeye's first Arizona practice will be Tuesday at Corona del Sol High School.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Preparing for Tempe

Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes are excited about their upcoming trip to Tempe, Arizona for their Insight Bowl match-up with Missouri. The excitement bled over to the newspaper as a half page ad was placed in the Arizona Republic promoting the HawkeyeSports Web Site for locals to purchase tickets. The game is December 28th on ESPN.
 Designated as the practice facility in 2010 for the Big Ten team is Corona del Sol High School. Practices get under way early the week of December on both the school's participation and practifields.
 The home away from home for the Iowa Football team is the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, located on the south side of Tempe on an Indiana Reservation. Above is the view from the Sheraton as the sun sets on another Arizona evening.
And finally, Sun Devil stadium is where the Insigh Bowl will be played. The last four Insigh Bowl winners have shared the same locker rooms, located under the South stands, which is also home to the Arizona State Wildcat

Monday, December 6, 2010

Destination Tempe

On Sunday the University of Iowa Football team accepted a bid to play in the Insight Bowl located in Tempe, Arizona. Iowa's opponent will be the Missouri Tigers from the Big XII conference. This is the first time the border state universities have played one another since 1910.

The Insight Bowl will be played at Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University. Game time in the desert will be 7pm (PT) on ESPN. Announcing the game on tv will be Sean McDonough and Matt Millen. The game can also be heard on the Hawkeye Sports Network with Gary Dolphin and Ed Podolak.
This will be Iowa's first post-season appearance in the state of Arizona. Iowa fans will be well-represented on Mill Avenue as the Phoenix Iowa Club is the largest club in the nation. Arizona is also a popular winter destination for many Iowa snowbirds.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gator Bowl Criteria

Interesting post found on the Gator Bowl's Facebook page. Here is their philosophy when choosing teams:

The Gator Bowl Association is gearing up for team announcement and will select teams based on the three primary elements of our mission:

1)      Economic impact on Northeast Florida
2)      Great national image
3)      Create community pride for residents

MISSION STATEMENT
The Gator Bowl Association’s mission is to provide Northeast Florida with the very best in college athletics and related activities in order to maximize positive impact on the area’s economy, national image and community pride.

Preparing for the announcement

Raymond James Stadium a day before the 2009 Outback Bowl
Many fans think the athletic department knows the bowl fate of their favorite team. It is true that it is the job of those within to sell one's program to a bowl's board of directors, but often decisions aren't made until the day after many of the conference championships. At Iowa, the possibilities are few, with a wide selection of opponents trying to work themselves out. Possible bowl cities may be Tampa, Jacksonville or Tempe, playing teams from the Big XII or SEC.

In preparation for Selection Sunday, video coordinators around the country are constantly calling one another to find out what they have heard or read. And while many scenarios seem cut and dry, until the selection is announced, the possibilities are many. Such was the case in 2009.
Sun Devil Stadium, the home to the Insight Bowl.
The entire week leading up to the announcement, many of the so-called experts showed Iowa playing Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. Although the Broncos weren't done with their season, we began sharing games between each other. However, prior to leaving the office after practice on Championship Saturday, I had read a scenario in which the Hawkeyes could play the ACC Champion in the Orange Bowl. That night Clemson and Georgia Tech played in the Tampa night with the Yellow Jackets claiming the ACC title. I had brought home the office numbers of each video coordinator and made the call to Atlanta leaving a message to be heard upon their return.

This year I have been on the phone with the video staffs at Missouri, Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Stanford, Nebraska, and Arkansas to name a few. All are friends, with each of us trying to get a better idea of what to expect come Sunday. The possibility of playing most of these schools are remote, if not impossible, but any information gained is beneficial, and perhaps it is the initial call to set up what may be the potential match-up.

While all of the fans sit and wait for the announcement, so will the staffs of all of the teams involved. But once that initial call is made, the preparation moves quickly.