Friday, September 28, 2012

Homecoming 2012

Tomorrow's Homecoming game against Minnesota is the 100th anniversary of the event on the University of Iowa campus. In 1991 the Homecoming Executive Council consisted of myself and my wife, Dana Engelbert. I was the Parade Coordinator and she was Director of PR. She is on the far right, I'm on the far left with the Homecoming Coordinator, Jennifer Reagan who worked with me in the video office, located third from right in the front.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Night Out on the Town

Maybe it is because I'm still reeling from Monday night's Green Bay loss to the Seahawks that I feel compelled to list a place in the shadows of Lambeau Field. Stadium View Bar and Grill seems to me to be the largest gathering spot outside of the parking lots for tailgating before Packer games.

There isn't anything fancy to the Stadium View - it is a bar with plenty of seating, bar food and cold beers. It pretty much sums it up as fans can hang out and watch any game on the many tv sets throughout the place, or focus solely on the Packers when they are on.

But when it comes to a place to party a Green Bay victory, these is totally Wisconsin. Beer, brats and the Green Bay Packers. Just a completely fun place to hang with friends, enjoy life and celebrate.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Night Out on the Town

Scottsdale is known more for it high class life of luxury. It is where some of the more wealthy people live on the east side of the Valley. Golf courses, tennis courts and some of the finer dining options are in Scottsdale. However there is one place along Scottsdale Blvd, located in a strip mall not far from Camelback Mountain, that has more motorcycles parked out front than maybe seen throughout the entire area. It is the Dirty Dogg Saloon which is a unique little hole in the wall bar among grocery and convenience stores. Once inside the bar it is a unique experience that many should visit at least once. The drinks are cold and people watching is always popular. After attending it once, you will have many stories to tell for quite some time.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Notre Dame to ACC

Few are surprised Notre Dame decided to leave the Big East for another conference. The Big East is very unstable and is spreading beyond the East Coast by adding San Diego State. It doesn't make much sense and the one time prestige of playing Connecticut, Syracuse and Pitt for the Big East title is no longer there. Pitt and Syracuse have also declared their decision to leave for the ACC and Notre Dame follow suit nearly one year later.

Many thought it made much sense for the Irish to join the Big Ten. It already plays B1G teams in football on a yearly basis. It is in the center of Big Ten country making travel for Olympic Sports easier. But the Big Ten didn't offer Notre Dame for all sports other than football and hockey like the ACC did. But is it a bad idea the Big Ten is left out. I say no.
Travel will continue to be difficult and expensive for the Olympic sports. Imagine the road trips to Miami (Fla) and Syracuse - much longer than bus trips to East Lansing and Ann Arbor. Men's and women's basketball will enter perhaps the best conference for competition, but will it make it more difficult to gain the necessary wins for entrance in to the dance?

Was it wrong for the Big Ten to not offer Notre Dame inclusion for all sports but football? I say no. I don't see what the B1G has to gain. There is no sport that makes the Big Ten instantly better. Football may add some credibility to the Irish program, but it wouldn't make the conference any better. The only reason Notre Dame should've entered the Big Ten is "it makes sense." 

The ACC is a definite improvement for Notre Dame from where it came from, but the road will become much tougher with trips to North Carolina, Maryland as well as the stretch of teams from Miami to Syracuse.

Night Out on the Town

When dining out in Wisconsin a few things are true. The dining establishment will have good beer and it will most likely have great food. I've never met a Wisconsinite who didn't have a beer in their hand or enjoy a good meal. And little local places are easy to find the good bear and pub food. In Mt Horeb, Wisconsin the Grumpy Troll is one of those little local places.

Mt Horeb is located off Highway 151 about 30 minutes outside of Madison. This downtown spot is worth getting off the four lane highway for. The day we stopped was a Friday afternoon and sports were on the screens in the front part of the bar. The larger back area, more akin to a restaurant was closed off. But upon entering it was obvious what the Grumpy Troll was all about - beer. They have their own local brews like many towns and restaurants in Wisconsin. The one shown below is the Captain Fred. Very light and refreshing - what I prefer over many of the other flavors.
The menu consists of typical bar foods found in the Dairy State. My choice was the Bratwurst. No different than any other place in Wisconsin - good and fresh. My wife had the burger which didn't disappoint her. Of course we had to share an order of cheese curds, too. It also consists of a pizzeria, but we didn't take the time to try it out.

It is unfortunate the Hawkeyes don't consistently make the trip up 151 as this would be a great spot for the black and gold fans to stop either on the way to, or on the way home, or both.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Saturday's Pictures

A rare home opener with Iowa State and it was a beautiful day in Iowa City. A full Kinnick Stadium watched the 9-6 game while another 30,000 fans continued to party outside in the tailgating lots.

There were many exciting plays in one the more forgettable games in the series. Iowa State had three turnovers in the red zone and the Hawkeyes were unable to find the end zone for the first time in many years at Kinnick Stadium.
The game played to a national audience on the Big Ten Network. Broadcasting newcomer, and former Hawkeye All-American, Chuck Long was on the broadcasting crew with former Wildcat Chris Martin and play-by-play man Kevin Kugler
 And the Cyclone network settled into their 35 yd line seat anchored by John Walters
It wasn't the flyover many remember from the 2010 season. That year the fighter jets skimmed the top of Kinnick Stadium giving fans a memory that will last for a long time. This year the two fighter pilots were a little concerned about that '10 flyover that they flew a little higher than normal to Iowa City.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Night Out on the Town

Participating in four Alamo Bowls it seems that I would know most of the places to eat along the Riverwalk in San Antonio. It is one of the best bowl cities as fans rarely need a car to get anywhere. Most of the tourist spots are near the Alamo Historical Site, and this is also the same area as many hotels are restaurants. The Alamo Dome is within walking distance of this famed area. This is why San Antonio is such a great bowl city - fans of both teams mingle among themselves and it is also where the tailgating starts before fans make the walk down the road.

But if the fans don't come up from the lower Riverwalk area to higher street level they may miss a great steak dining experience. Bohanan's is more than a block or two from the main drag, but located in the theatre district of town. It is proclaimed as the second best steakhouse in Texas - which carries a great weight in such a large state - but I can't imagine how #1 could top it.
I haven't experienced many steak houses, but have visited enough to know how good Bohanan's is. At street level is the bar with a large sitting area away from the massive bar. Definitely a place for a few before and after dinner drinks. This is where the dining area starts and ends. The restaurant host greets you letting you know when your table is ready, and then escorts you up the elevator to where the massive dining room is.

It has southern hospitality written all over it. It is warm and inviting, as if you are walking into your grandparent's dining room, but the architecture is large and grand like the state you are in. The portions of food are big, as one would expect in Texas. Throughout the night I had the opportunity to experience a little bit of everything - shellfish, steak and the various fresh vegetables. It was hard for one to stand out over the other.

The staff was also great. It was an education with the different cuts of meat as well as the different well drinks that were poured. Not knowing the best wines, our waiter's recommendation matched the meal well, and was enjoyed by those who were at the table. Possibly one of the better restaurants that I, or any of my fellow video guys had ever dined at.

It is unfortunate the Big Ten is no longer affiliated with the Alamo Bowl. Aside from being in a great city, the bowl had always treated us well. But now many of my fellow co-workers and friends will not be able to share the experience that I would not soon forget.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Soldier Field Kick Off

Saturday the Iowa Hawkeyes began their season on the road in Chicago. And while it was a road game hosted by Northern Illinois, nearly 40,000 of the announced 52,000 crowd wore black and gold. And those Iowa fans could never feel at ease with this team as the Hawks came back to take the lead late in the 4th quarter and take their first win of the 2012 campaign.

Chicago is a popular destination for Hawkeye fans. The day before the opener many Iowa fans ascended upon Wrigley Field to watch their favorite baseball team, the Cubs take on the San Francisco Giants. Iowa basketball coach, Fran McCaffrey threw out the first pitch while former Hawkeye and Bull standout, Bobby Hanson sang the 7th inning stretch.
Hawkeyes settle into Soldier Field
But while many wearing black and gold could be found around Wrigley Field on Friday, the Hawkeye equipment and video staff spent the morning moving into their comfortable comforts of home. Owned by TanTara Truck Lines and Mike Riggan, son Jeff drove the Hawkeye Semi through the streets of Chicago to Soldier Field

 And it was the three on the right who set up the stadium and hotel for this game trip. Two of them left a day earlier in order to have everything set up. Equipment needed to be unloaded and then the projectors and screens had to be set up in the rooms at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place for pre-game meetings. The third arrived with the rest of the staff and team on Friday with computers for the team's review session.

 While Soldier Field sounds like a great place to hold a game like this, it is the worst place to shoot video from. The sideline booth is by far the lowest in the NFL and many college campuses. The accomodations within the boost may be the best with ample room for shooting, editing as well as a private bathroom.
 The Hawks come out to a crowd more typical of Iowa City than a home game for the Huskies from nearby Dekalb. But Hawkeye fans travel well and support their team.
 Then the night before was a video reunion at Harry Caray's. Two from Ft Dodge joined two from New Sharon and one from Gilbert at Harry Caray's.
This scoreboard was seen by few, but the larger replay boards were blocked by the upper deck. This and monitors were available to those of us on the Media Deck. This level was reserved for coaches, radio and television.