Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Memorial Day ...

The official kick off to Summer has begun in America with Memorial Day. Our thoughts and prayers are with those families and for those who have passed in service for our freedom.

The countdown of the 2014 College Football Season has also begun. Less than 100 days, until the opening weekend of College Football!

Two preseason magazines have hit the shelves.

Lindy's Sports College Football National Edition 2014 Preview, as well, as The Sporting News College Football are on the racks at Barnes and Noble and other fine retailers.  

The preview for the College Football Playoff inaugural season can begin. Out with the BCS poll and in with the 13 member Selection Committee.

Rutgers may not want Dr. Condoleeza Rice for their commencement speach in 2014, but Rice is the sole women headlining the 13 member Selection Committee for the College Football Playoff.

Five current athletic directors will serve, along with the patriarch of the Manning family, a former NCAA executive vice president, a former Big East Commissioner, a former sportswriter, a former superintendent of the Air Force Academy, two former head coaches and Ms. Rice.

Four teams will be chosen for the College Football Playoff, as The Selection Committee uses their iPad specifically loaded with software allowing them to watch any game in the country at any time. America would love to carry that iPad, since the committee members will not travel to games as special guests.

The Selection Committee will rank the Top 25 beginning with the midseason to the end of the regular season. But, votes and totals will remain private.

Lindy's Sports and The Sporting News both like the same four programs, but not in the same order: Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma and Oregon.

Out with the BCS National Championship Game and this season: the Rose and Sugar Bowl games will host the semi-final games, so the Big Ten or Pac Ten will not likely play in the Granddaddy of Bowl Games this season.

The Selection Committee will determine who plays in the Rose, Orange,  Fiesta, Sugar, Cotton and Peach Bowls each season, as part of the new College Football Playoff. Those bowls will rotate over the next 12 years as semi-final hosts, each getting to host four times over the 12-year span.

Notre Dame has a twice in 12-year period guarantee to play the ACC champion in the Orange Bowl. One spot in the six bowls will be reserved for the top-rated team from the so-called non-Big Five (Sun Belt, MAC, Mountain West, American and Conference USA).

With the BCS, a conference (Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC and SEC, for example) was limited to two BCS teams in the old BCS bowls, but not anymore.  The College Football Playoff is not limited in any way, other than to  the choices of 13 members of The Selection Committee.

ESPN will enjoy the slate of lesser bowls to highlight upcoming big Bowls, a traditional New Year's Eve and Day slate of games and four-team College Football Playoff.

College Football has its Final Four in 2014.

Monday, January 6, 2014

We say good bye tonight: Final BCS Title Game: Florida State (13-0) vs. Auburn (12-1)

BCS Championship: Auburn vs. Florida State at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN (HD) - The Tigers try to keep the SEC dominance going in the Final Game of the BCS, as the ACC's Seminoles counter in the final BCS Title Game.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cotton and Orange Bowls on Friday night!

Cotton Bowl :
Missouri vs. Oklahoma State at 7:00 p.m. on FOX (HD)
Two former Big 8 rivals square off in Arlington, Texas in the new Cotton Bowl

Orange Bowl :
Clemson vs. Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN (HD)
Woody Hayes last game came in this match up back in the late 1970s... hopefully no punches are thrown in this year's re-match in the Orange Bowl.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sugar Bowl form New Orleans: Alabama vs. Oklahoma

Sugar Bowl :
Alabama vs. Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN (HD)

Nick Saban and his defending back to back BCS champions from the SEC team face off with Bob Stoops and his Big 12 team in New Orleans. It is not quite a remark of the Last Days of Disco, but the final season of the BCS is coming to an end.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year: Bring on the B1G Day of College Football

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, as it was a great New Year's Eve for Iowa and Creighton's basketball teams, with conference opening victories last night. Texas A&M pulled out the Chick-fil-A Bowl over Duke, with a late Pick 6 to overcome the deficit ...

Now, four B1G New Year's Games to open the year 2014!

Gator Bowl:
Georgia vs. Nebraska at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN2 (HD)
It has been an emotional season for coach Bo Pelini and the Cornhuskers, as two teams face off 2014, as they did 365 days ago!

Heart of Dallas Bowl:
North Texas vs. UNLV at 11:00 a.m. on ESPNU (HD)
The Mean Green coach Dan McCarney is an old Big Ten guy; but they face a MWC replacement, since no B1G teams were eligible for the Big Ten bowl slot.

Capital One Bowl:
South Carolina vs. Wisconsin at 12:00 p.m. on ABC (HD)
First year coach Gary Anderson has the Badgered back in Florida, after his predecessor Bret Bielema lead Wisconsin to three straight Rose Bowls!

Outback Bowl:
Iowa vs. LSU at 12:00 p.m. on ESPN (HD) - Our Pick: Iowa 27-21
The Hawkeyes are back in a bowl game coming off an awful 4-8 in 2012, while the Tigers are looking for another bowl win, after losing 3 of last 4!

Rose Bowl:
Michigan State vs. Stanford at 4:00 p.m. at ESPN (HD)
The 100th Granddaddy of them all will be a classic game of smash mouth, physical football with strong play at the line of scrimmage, as the Spartans return, after a 26 year drought vs. a Cardinal back in Pasadena for the New Year!

Fiesta Bowl:
Baylor vs. UCF at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN (HD)
Welcome to the BCS as the Big 12 champions are the Bears from Waco vs
the first AAC champs are the Knights from Orlando, after moving to the AAC from the C-USA ...

It is first day of 2014, so we want to wish everyone good health, joy, love, hope, prosperity, peace and happiness in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 Outback Bowl: Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) vs. #16 BCS ranked LSU Tigers (9-3)

Tampa, FL -- The New Year opens for the Iowa and LSU football teams in the 2014 Outback Bowl with a Noon kickoff on ESPN (HD) in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Iowa is lead at quarterback by a first-year starter, sophomore Jake Rudock. Rudock  is seeking to enjoy a homecoming with the Outback Bowl appearance, as a Florida high school player. Rudock is 8-4 as a starter for the Hawkeyes. Rudock is a game manager for Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis, who is making his first bowl appearance, in his second season at Iowa. Davis was OC for Texas' Mack Brown, until the 2010 season.

LSU Les Miles on what he sees in Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis’ system:
LSU Coach Les Miles is in his
ninth season as head coach.
“I think any offensive coordinator always does some things that speak to the talents he has. You can see what they’re doing; it’s just the challenge of stopping it. I think he’s a very talented coach that calls a game with experience and understanding. He’s a very capable play caller.”

Iowa will mix the running game, play action passing and Greg Davis' horizontal passing game. Iowa goes five deep at TE and Davis uses different running backs andwide receivers over the course of the game.

LSU is making a change at quarterback for the Outback Bowl, due to the injury of 12 game starter, senior Zach Mettenberger, in the final game of the regular season. True freshman Anthony Jennings will make his first start vs. Iowa in the Outback Bowl. Jennings was required to come into the final game of the season, during the fourth quarter and rally LSU to a come from behind victory.

Iowa upset LSU in the 2005 Capital Bowl on the final play. LSU won their final game of the 2013 season, with a last minute touchdown pass from Jennings on a 99 yard drive to defeat Arkansas, coached by an Iowa alum, Bret Bielema. Could we see the Outback Bowl come down to the wire, as Iowa-LSU square off for the second time in the series history?

On getting Anthony Jennings ready for his first start (Miles):
“We really focused on him running drills as opposed to necessarily have practices and plays. We put a little bit more burden on him in terms of preparing to handle the huddle, handle the play call. That, besides the physical execution of the play, has made a little bit more burden that much.”

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on preparing for new LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings:
Iowa head coach
Kirk Ferentz, 11th
bowl game in 15
seasons at the helm.
LSU QB Anthony Jennings is 6 for 10 passing, 99 yards, one
touchdown as a true freshman, in the regular season.
“That’s really the only wildcard for us is that we don’t have much tape on him. As I've said before, the job of any quarterback regardless of his style or his age is to move the team. He moved them in about as extreme circumstances as you can possibly dream up. You wouldn't put a guy in that situation in practice, I don’t think, and expect him to do what he did. So that’s the bottom line. I think the other obvious thing to me is they recruit a lot of good players at LSU historically. For him to move from incoming freshman to the number two guy the way he did knowing that they've got a senior who’s going to go on to the NFL, I think that says a lot about the people that have seen him on a day to day basis. We’re not sure what exactly to expect, but I know this, we can count on a really good player being back there and a guy who’s a leader on their football team.”

Both quarterbacks will be under pressure, as underclassmen. Both are first-year starters at quarterback. Could the Florida homecoming effect Rudock's poise for Iowa? 

On how Jennings is handling the spotlight (Miles):
“The greatest characteristic of Anthony Jennings is poise. He’s always had it, he’s never been motivated by situations, it’s what he does. He did it in the spring of the year. He pursued the starting job with great effort and energy. He’s always been a guy that came in and sought extra coaching, sought knowledge of the game when he was second team. The confidence of the team, really, when he went under center didn’t change; we kind of knew what to expect. We expect him to play well.”

Iowa junior RB Mark
Weisman is 62 yards
from a 1,000 yard season.

Iowa has four running backs who have played during the 2014 season. One is close to a 1,000 yard season, in junior Mark Weisman (938 yards), but Iowa is using a rotation of running backs, as the season comes to a close. LSU, who also can go four deep at running back, is lead by a 1,000 yard rusher in sophomore Jeremy Hill (1,185 yards), who likely will carry the primary load for the Tigers.

Iowa coach Ferentz on facing LSU running back Jeremy Hill:
“He’s an outstanding back and I think they have several. Our coaches have respect for all four we’ve seen on film. If you look at him last year, statistically, he was one of, and now he’s certainly risen to the top of an outstanding group. He’s a tremendous football player; strong, physical. The rest of the story to me is they are just a well-conceived offensive football team. It starts with the way they block up front. They’ve got big, physical guys up front that allow them to get going. They’ve got good skill players at every position. They’ve got the kind of balance, if you look at them statistically they’re over 200 throwing it and 200 rushing. It’s a tough team to defense because of their balance and the players they put out there, but he’s certainly a marquee player.”

Both teams will work to establish a balanced attack on offense.

Iowa has improved on offense after an awful 4-8 season in 2012. But, it isn't a sexy team compared to LSU or most of the top college offenses today. Iowa beats opponents using the sum of all its parts, which starts with establishing the run and continues with a passing attack that features the tight end. Iowa will bring a business-like attitude on offense. The Iowa offense will attempt to move the chains and stay ahead on downs. Iowa does need to improve in the red zone, a problem at times throughout the 2013 season. Iowa Is undefeated this season, when they win the turnover margin game.

On Iowa tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz (Ferentz):
Senior TE C.J.
Fiedorwicz leads
Iowa in TD receptions.
“First of all, the obvious thing is he has great size and great ability. He had that when he came to us. He’s one of the few guys that looked like that when he showed up. He’s a four-year player. I talked about the linebackers and C.J. is the same way, he’s a four-year player now, he’s more productive than he’s ever been. He’s a very willing blocker and a very good blocker. He’s done a really nice job in the passing game, particularly down in the red zone. When you have a guy with that size, he’s aggressive to the ball, and he does it on the practice field as well. I think that will serve him well moving forward too. We’re excited about him being on our football team. He’ll draw attention I’m sure. He does have the ability to make some plays. It’s good to have some players that can do that. He’s certainly capable of winning a one-on-one contest.”

On the LSU offense and what to expect with a new quarterback (Ferentz):
“We don’t know; it’s a little bit like a first game. I wasn’t joking about that, I wish it was three days of preparation rather than three weeks. All that being said, what they were doing was working pretty well this year. So we have to be ready for anything. I don’t expect a wholesale change, but I’m sure we’ll see a wrinkle or two, and that all makes sense. I think philosophically what they try to do we expect to see that. I don’t think they’re just going to take those receivers out of the game. It would be okay if they chose to."

On the team getting accustomed to new quarterback Anthony Jennings (Miles):
“It’s like anything, it takes time. It’s interesting, in that last game, with the second-team center and second-team quarterback, there was no quarterback-center exchange issue whatsoever. We were fortunate it happened that way I guess. We haven’t had any real problems there as we move forward. I think (Elliott) Porter, our starting center, and Anthony have just operated very effectively. There are some different throws and some different abilities at the quarterback spot. He does the things that Zach (Mettenberger) does to a certain regard, and he does some of the things that he does better.”

LSU has a very productive lead running back and two 1,000 yard pass receivers, so Jennings has a lot of guys in the huddle to lean on in his first start. Junior wide receiver Odell Beckham (1,117 yards) won the Paul Hornung Award in 2013. Junior Jarvis Landry is the other top notch SEC wide receiver leading the Tigers with 1,172 yards receiving. Iowa's pass defense will be tested. 
Iowa defensive
coordinator Phil Parker,
2 seasons as DC and
15 seasons under Kirk
Ferentz overall.

Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker said Beckham and Landry are the best receiver tandem Iowa has faced this season, which will make it tough to cheat in certain areas defensively. Iowa's passing defense will face a stiff test on New Year's Day. Can Iowa defense avoid giving up explosive plays against LSU?

"If you steal from one area you're going to have to pay somewhere else, so you have to be very careful," Parker said. "They move their two receivers around, so it's hard to double them. But you have to be very careful and know where they are, especially on third downs. They're fast guys, very talented receivers."

On the importance of a good defense (Ferentz):
“I think that’s pretty much true in football, at least I still believe that and I think most coaches that have been in their jobs for a while believe that. In any sport, defense is important. For us typically that means we have to improve and that’s something our team did this year. We came into the season with three linebackers that we expected to play at a high level. They’re all seniors and they played an awful lot. They’ve practiced well and they really, I think, helped lead our football team. We always have stories. For us to lose our corner early and Jordan Lomax came out early. For Desmond (King) to jump in there, none of us could have predicted that. Things like that enable you to move on and hopefully improve. I think the guys have really done a good job in moving forward and advancing. This is certainly, I think, going to be our biggest challenge defensively, the team that we’re facing.”

On the Iowa linebackers and defense (Miles):
“I think they play the scheme as well as I’ve seen it played. It’s a traditional scheme but there’s nothing traditional about how they play it. The technique is excellent; they’re on their keys. They’re always in position and physical. They know how to take on blocks. I think the linebacking corps, I think the secondary and the defensive front all play a very disciplined concept and it allows them to play at a very high level no matter who they play, no matter if it’s a spread team or a two-back team. The concept transitions those different offenses extremely well.”

On how he would describe LSU football (Miles):
“I think the concept is the same as any collegiate football team. You’re coming to school to get a degree and it’s important to our guys that they graduate and they put themselves into a position to have success beyond football. I think people that come to LSU want to play at a very high level, want to play for the national championship, and in this instance, a championship. I think there are some similarities between our program and all the other well-run programs in this country.”

The Outback Bowl isn't the BCS title game. Last year, LSU lost in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, 25-24 to Clemson. In LSU's last loss in Florida, 19-17 to Penn State, during the 2010 Capital One Bowl, was LSU playing down to competition, since they were not in the BCS again?

LSU has a lot to play for in the Outback Bowl ...

On the opportunity for a fourth straight 10-win season (Miles):
“I think there are some seniors in there that really see that, feel that, and want that. I think the motivation for playing this game, if you’re a competitor, is playing a quality team. Victory is really motivation enough. You have to play well; you have to play smart, play tough. You have to be called upon to show all the talents and skills you have.”

Miles' alma mater Michigan had a similar situation in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl starting a new true freshman quarterback in his first start. Senior leadership is critical for both teams, whether it be Michigan-Kansas State or Iowa-LSU. As is often said in bowl games, who wants to be there?

"Our guys have been focused and understand what we're trying to do and that's get our ninth win of the season for this team," Parker said about Iowa's challenge vs. LSU.

Iowa's Parker went on to say that LSU is a talented team and it will be a challenge when the two teams meet in Raymond James Stadium.

"The thing we're trying to do is finish this season up in a positive way," Ferentz said during his final pregame news conference. "What that comes down to is playing our best football. That's what it is going to take to beat LSU tomorrow."

  • Iowa has 11 wins all-time against teams from the Southeastern Conference. Iowa also has lost 11 times to SEC opponents.
  • Iowa will be looking to secure the Big Ten Conference its 11th victory in the Outback Bowl. The league is 10-14 since 1988. Iowa has two of the Big Ten's 10 victories.
  • Iowa's defense has allowed only 13 red-zone touchdowns which ranks third-lowest in the nation.
  • Sixteen seniors will play their final game as a Hawkeye against LSU on Jan. 1.
  • LSU is ranked 14th in both the Associate Press and USA Today Top 25's; the Tigers were No. 16 in the final Bowl Championship Series ranking.
  • LSU (9-3) is making its 45th all-time bowl appearance (22-21-1 record), and ninth straight in nine seasons under head coach Les Miles, but this marks only the second appearance in the Outback Bowl in school history.

Less than 24 hours and counting to the 2014 Outback Bowl: How do the head coaches stack up in Tampa?

Tampa, FL -- The Underdog from the Big Ten against one of the
Big Dogs
from the SEC, as the Iowa Hawkeyes (8-4) vs. the LSU Tigers (9-3) kickoff at Noon on ESPN (HD) in the 2014 Outback Bowl in Raymond James Stadium, in Tampa on New Year's Day.

The Hawkeyes and Tigers are both lead by experienced head coaches, in Kirk Ferentz and Les Miles, respectively.  Neither coach has faced one another before. By the way, both Ferentz and Miles began their careers, as offensive line coaches.

Miles has coached in two BCS title games during his nine years at LSU, with a 1-1 record; he is 2-1 in BCS bowls. Ferentz has never lead Iowa to a BCS title game, but the Hawkeyes are 1-1 in BCS bowls during his 15 seasons as head coach.

The Coaches meet in a joint press conference ahead of the New Year's 2014 Outback Bowl.

Two veteran coaches, as Iowa's Kirk Ferentz and LSU's Les
Miles, will meet for the first time in a head to head game.
Iowa's Kirk Ferentz Opening statement:
“We’re thrilled to be selected to play in this game. Those of us that have been on the trip prior just know what a great experience it is and has proven to be. The hospitality that the people on the Outback committee extend to us is first class; it’s second to none. Tampa Bay provides a great venue for a bowl game and the other ingredient is you always play an outstanding team from the SEC, and that’s certainly the case again this year. We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to be in the game and we know we have a big challenge on our hands with LSU. But it’s been fun for our guys to prepare and hopefully it will be a great football game.”

LSU's Les Miles Opening statement:
“I concur with Kirk. The opportunity to be selected by the Outback Bowl and to be here in Tampa, our players, and coaches and coaches’ families are enjoying the venue. Our practice facilities and hotel we stay in is just what we want. We’re enjoying the preparation, again, playing a quality Big Ten opponent in Iowa. Watching the film we have great respect for the discipline of their program and the style of team they put on the field. We’re looking forward very much to the competition.”

Bowl Records for Ferentz and Miles:
Ferentz at Iowa is 6-4 in bowl games, including a 3-1 record vs. SEC opponents on New Year's Day. This includes a 30-25 win over LSU on the final play of the 2005 Capital One Bowl.  On the flip side, Miles at LSU is 5-3 in bowl games, including a 1-1 record vs. Big Ten opponents. LSU won the BCS title during the 2007 season with a 38-24 win over Ohio State. During the 2009 season, LSU lost Penn State 19-17 in the Capital One Bowl. Iowa won the Orange Bowl that same year over Georgia Tech.

Les Miles is a former Big Ten student-athlete
Miles is a former offensive lineman for the Michigan Wolverines, lettering in 1974 and 1975 for former coach Bo  Schembechler. His first coaching stop was as a graduate assistant in 1980 and 1981. From 1968 to 1980, the Big Ten was actually the Big 2 and the Little 8. Ohio State and Michigan were the dominate programs. It wasn't until 1981, until Iowa's coach J. Hayden Fry knocked the Big 2 out of position. Iowa beat Michigan 9-7 in Ann Arbor, when Les Miles was a GA. In 1974, Michigan opened the season with a 24-7 win over Iowa.

So, how will the first meeting of two former offensive line coaches play out in Tampa?

Iowa's Ferentz is
3-1 vs. SEC opponents,
including 1-0 vs. LSU.
On preparing to face an SEC opponent (Ferentz):
“You see them occasionally on TV. We don’t exchange as much film obviously. Occasionally some people from our conference will overlap and play. It’s pretty much come to bowl exposure, but you’d have to be blind to college football to not recognize their level of talent and the level of coaching in the conference. It’s outstanding and it’s well-documented. We did have the opportunity to play LSU years ago and they were riding a wave of success at that point and it was the former coach’s last game. Coach Miles has come in and just done nothing but take that thing another level up. They've got outstanding players and they are very well coached. I think there’s a lot of that going on in the league. When we watch the tapes and the cut-ups that’s what you’re seeing. It’s an outstanding football conference and I think that’s well documented.”

LSU Les Miles is 1-1 vs. B1G
opponents and have lost three
of last four bowl games.
On playing a Big Ten team (Miles):
“If you’re from the Big Ten, you really enjoy seeing some of those old helmets. I was fortunate to be on great Michigan teams and prepared for that conference. That conference is a tremendously competitive very capable football conference. The more that you study the teams that they played and succeeded in beating, the Big Ten conference is every bit as capable as any conference in America.”

Miles did play for two outstanding Michigan teams, but each of those teams, finished second to the Ohio State. It had to be special to defeat Ohio State, as a head coach at LSU, in winning that lone BCS title. In his lone bowl game, as a player during the 1975 season. Miles' Michigan team lost in the Orange Bowl to Oklahoma.

On the Auburn win representing what the Tigers can do (Miles):
“Certainly the body of work this season is looked at by our team, and I think to play our best is always the challenge. In the last game with each individual on offense, defense, special teams, you want them to play their best in this game. In the Auburn game and the other games that we've played, we know what we’re capable of and we’d like to see how good we can be in this game. So the incentive to do that is a great Iowa team.”

On coming down to Tampa before Christmas (Ferentz):
“It’s just something we do and we've been to enough bowls now where we've had trial and error. The most revealing trip for me is our (2002 season) Orange Bowl trip. It was just a total disaster in retrospect. It’s sad because we had a really good football team and we played a game that was totally non-representative of the team we had. It was just everything we had done well we really did poorly and I attribute that to the way we handled the trip and ultimately that’s my responsibility. I think it’s good for us, especially being a northern team. We practice indoors and you can control the climate, but it’s not the same as being outside. Yesterday, for us, was a humid day believe it or not. Those things make a difference. So I think for a team coming out of the north it’s just good to get in the environment. If you’re not used to practicing outdoors get back in that routine a little bit and hopefully get a couple of your worst practices out of the way before the game comes.”

Who will play the more representative game in Tampa?

One of these teams will continue a bowl losing streak, after the 2014 Outback Bowl. Iowa lost in the 2011 Insight Bowl to Oklahoma 31-14, but were coming off three straight bowl wins during the 2008-10 seasons. Iowa has new offensive and defensive coordinators, so this could be a factor or not?

  • Iowa has allowed 26 points for more in all four losses during the Ferentz era
  • Iowa has only scored 30 points twice during the six bowl wins under Ferentz
  • In Miles three bowl losses at LSU, the Tigers were held to 24 points or less
  • LSU has scored more than 38 points in all five of LSU's wins under Miles
Iowa has scored at least 23 points in every game outside Kinnick Stadium in 2013. LSU only scored 24 points and 17 points, in losses respectively to Ole Miss (27 points) and Alabama (38 points).  The story-line appears to be Iowa's ability to bring their seventh ranked defense to Tampa vs. LSU's ability to get their true freshman quarterback in sync, so the Tigers offense remains on track using an explosive balance of run and pass. But, how will Iowa's ground game on offense, with a mix of play action passing and Greg Davis' horizontal passing offense match up with LSU's athletic 4-3 defense? One can't forget the role special teams plays in bowl games, as well.

It should be an interesting chess match lead by two former offensive line coaches. 

A game in the twenties would seem to favor Iowa, while LSU will have a challenge getting to their regular thirties and forties, but still, an explosive group of skill players for Iowa to reckon with in Tampa ...