Monday, August 27, 2012
There aren't many marquee games to begin the season, but Michigan - Alabama is the highlight of the schedule. Looking over the Big Ten slate there are a couple of games that deserve some notice.
Aside from the Hawkeye game in Chicago I am anxious to see Michigan State and Boise State kick off on Friday night. A year ago Boise opened up in Atlanta against Georgia. I give credit to Boise as they will play anyone anywhere. Along with last year's Georgia game, they have also traveled across the country to take on Virginia Tech. This year it is Michigan State. What I would like to see is the Broncos play one of these teams in the middle of the season, not the first game of the year. Sure, each team has the same amount of time to prepare, but the task would be tougher to have a week to prepare, not more than a month. I still see the Spartans winning this one.
Another game I'm looking forward to is Northern Iowa at Wisconsin. Dave O'Brien starts at QB for the Badgers and the Red and White fans shouldn't expect to see the next coming of Russell Wilson. O'Brien will be a solid starter, but this is a tough opening opponent. Another reason I'm anxious for this one is to see how one of FCS's better programs stands up to the two-time defending Big Ten Champs. A tough schedule for Mark Farely and the Panthers with two road Big Ten teams in three weeks.
Michigan Alabama will be good, and I hope lives up to the expectations. I want to see how well Michigan travels to Dallas and how their crowd measures up to the nearby Crimson Tide. I do think Michigan will be well-prepared for the best of the SEC and play one of the better games of the season. I can't see them upsetting Alabama.
Of the Chicago locations, I've been to three of them. There had been one in Midway Airport (now gone) as well as one in Wrigleyville (again, gone), and each had its own flair. The same can be said for the other three I've dined at.
First is the original restaurant downtown, a few blocks from the nearest Red Line stop. It consists of the fine dining area, a bar area where food is also served, and upstairs is a ballroom where many of the major sports teams will send their premier athletes for a chance for fans to ask questions. A night I was there the line to eat with the Blackhawks stretched down the stairs and out the door. The signature dish is the Chicken Vesuvio (shown below) and it lives up to expectations.
There have been many restaurants in Chicago founded by Chicago's sports personalities, but Harry Caray's has stood the test of time, at the same location and with the same staff.
Monday, August 20, 2012
On the first day of classes the Princeton Review announced the University of Iowa campus is the #2 Party School. This is a rise from a lower ten finish a year ago. I don't think this is what the Iowa City City Council had in mind when passing an ordnance forbidding those 19yr olds and below in an establishment where the majority of their sales are of the alcoholic type. This legislation was to curb underage drinking, but it doesn't appear it has much of an adverse effect on the school.
While watching the Little League World Series on ESPN earlier today I couldn't help but wonder how many days of school these kids are missing. It doesn't seem to be an issue when the season ends for many in the months of July and early August. But school is opening around the country and no one is concerned about the number of days are missed. Many say this is a great opportunity for the kids.
It is, but then why is it such a big deal that college-aged students want to extend their season for football and to play a game for the national championship. Wouldn't this be a great opportunity for the men?
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Changes in technology have occurred over the years. But with those changes, many things have stayed the same. How to shoot football hasn't changed. Having it ready for the coaches once they are in their office is still as important today as it was the first day I started. And dating back to that first day I started, the Video Football League (VFL) continues to be enjoyed the staff members.
VFL is played by members of the video staff prior to practice. It has always been important to set up the camera equipment early in order to troubleshoot any issues that arise. That leaves time to play some football before the players begin to arrive. Most often it is the only time members of the staff have to get some exercise in during a busy day.
To begin play, three players are required, with one being an all-time quarterback. But if you have at least four, and that was all we were allowed to have on staff, the rules change to 2 v 2 and the boundary is the hash to the sideline, beginning at the 25, withe tree downs to make a TD.
Over the years different student staffs take different levels of activity. From the very involved to those who use the extra time to relax and ready themselves for the imminent practice involvement. Today the number of full-time staff members have stayed the same, the number of volunteers has increased. Thus the 2 on 2 game has now evolved to three on three.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
The first year of Kid's Day found hundreds of fans with their lawn chairs and blankets surrounding the Kenyon Practice Facility with an up close look at the program. The only thing separating the fans and team was a try link fence. Our lifts were immersed within the fans, and I had to dodge each one to retrieve tapes that were dropped from above in baskets.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
The network's studio team of Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith anchor the coverage on each of the stops. Interviews include notable players and head coach. A minimal crew record the practice and all components are produced back in Chicago to be shown Thursday night at 9pm (Iowa time).
Monday, August 6, 2012
Below Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Brooks sits down with quarterback James Vandenberg.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
Saturday, August 4, 2012
In the old bubble, the video staff had to shoot from lifts that were placed on the field. Phases of the game such as kick offs and two minute drills had to be compromised as players negotiated around a scissor lift. A lift placed in one of the end zones became a target for field goal practice. And pads needed to be placed around all to ensure the safety of the players and video personnel. The new indoor building has permanent platforms finding video staffers off the playing field. Something coaches, players and videographers all like.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
This past weekend was the second time the two teams played in Chicago this season and my second time to see the two teams play each other in 2012. Earlier in the season I witnessed a rare Cubs win in Busch Stadium. Both ballparks are great venues for baseball. There is the historic Wrigley Field with the ivy on the walls and located in the middle of a neighborhood. Busch Stadium is in the heart of downtown St. Louis underneath the famous Arch. A much easier venue to drive to with the many ramps downtown and interstates running all around the stadium. Wrigley is nestled into a neighborhood block and the best way to reach it is by train or by bus.
|WGN's Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland next to KMOX's Mike Shannon and John Rooney|