Monday, January 2, 2012

Insight Bowl Game Photos

The sun has set on another Iowa Football season. It concluded with their first bowl loss since the 2006 Alamo Bowl defeat to Texas. Three straight bowl wins is something accomplished by few, and it was ended by the Pre-Season #1, Oklahoma. The 10-3 Sooners didn't look like the pre-season pick in Sun Devil Stadium, but was the best team on the field Friday night.

The Insight Bowl had over 54,000 fans in attendance for the Big 12 - Big Ten match-up, and works hard to become a major player within the Big Ten bowl line up. And it is a bowl that has a future in college football. In terms of importance, it doesn't take a back seat to the BCS brother, Fiesta Bowl. The staffs work hard to make both bowl experiences quality to the participating teams.
Our hosts for the game were Bob Whitehouse, Steve Leach, and Jeff Smith. These were the same hosts we had a year ago. Bob is an Air Force pilot who spent six months in the middle east after last year's game. Steve is a Dubuque native and Iowa alum. Jeff is Vice President of Wells Fargo in Phoenix. Hospitality is something all bowls take pride in. These three take a back seat to none of those other bowls. They were on top of each detail.
It was also the last game for Iowa's defensive coordinator, Norm Parker. Parker has had stops at Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Illinois and Michigan State before joining Kirk Ferentz's staff at Iowa in 1999. He spent every game on the sidelines before diabetes caused complications with his leg forcing its amputation. He has been in the booth since 2009. At the age of 70, Parker decided it was time to step down from his coaching responsibilities.
Another storyline from the game was Oklahoma's head coach, Bob Stoops. Stoops played at Iowa, as well as his brothers Mike and Mark. All three were defensive backs who wore the #41. He became the Sooner coach in 1999, the same year Ferentz became the Iowa head man. Stoops isn't the only Iowa grad on the OU coaching staff. Jay Norvell was also a defensive back for the Hawkeyes in the mid-80s, and Bruce Kittle played on Kirk's O-Line in the early 80s.
 The Sooners have had their share of great quarterbacks over the last decade. The latest is #12 Landry Jones. Jones is only a junior and is projected to be an early pick in the NFL Draft once he declares himself eligible. But the story of the night was his back-up, the freshman, Blake Bell. Bell, #15, came in for the Sooners and scored two touchdowns with his feet. He is most likely the future of the Sooners.
And less than a year ago Iowa radio analyst, Ed Podolak was severely hurt in a pedestrian - auto accident in nearby Scottsdale. Podolak underwent many surgeries to recover and was able to return to the broadcast booth.
However the Insight Bowl experience wasn't a highlight for the Iowa Radio crew. Placed in a booth usually used for stadium security personnel, Gary Dolphin and Podolak were unable to open the windows for their crowd mics. The booth also lacked a replay monitor. Insight Bowl officials did supply one, but it was circa 1975 and took up much of Podolak's space. Frequencies for the radio team were also an issue as the stadium was reluctant in granting them their typical transmitting signals to communicate with Rob Brooks on the sideline. Engineer Jon Swisher was able to put the broadcast together is some atypical ways.
The Sooners being awarded the Insight Bowl Trophy
What the Insight Bowl may be remembered for more than the winner is the ESPN Skycam falling late in the fourth quarter. The aerial camera came crashing down after a wire snapped, narrowly missing Marvin McNutt as he broke a huddle heading to the line of scrimmage.
Skycam operators scrambled following the incident. Obviously the information on the computer monitor does not indicate the camera had fallen. Due to the disaster in the Insight Bowl, officials at the bowl and ESPN decided it would be best to not use the technology in the Fiesta Bowl.

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