Sunday, April 19, 2009

How many pre-season Top 25 teams for the Big Ten in 2009?

A LSU football site has tracked several pre-season football polls and here is a link to the results.

To no surprise, Florida is nearly a consensus #1 pick entering 2009, but Texas does top the Gators in one poll. Top Five nationally: 1. Florida, 2. Texas, 3. Oklahoma, 4. USC, 5. Alabama.

As of today, the top Big Ten teams are (Top 40 rating shown):
  1. Ohio State at #9
  2. Penn State at #12
  3. Iowa at #18
  4. Minnesota at #32
  5. Michigan State at #37

No Illinois in the Top 40...

Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, Purdue and Indiana are not listed in the Top 40 either.


Iowa Football: Fans wait for kickoff on September 5, 2009

Well, Spring Football at the University of Iowa has closed out for another season.

Hopefully, the injured and those held out due to off-season surgery will be ready, so they can join their teammates for another season of Iowa Football in 2009. The off-season begins today!

Iowa will have some newcomers to watch out for in 2009.

The #1 newcomer to the starting lineup appears to be sophomore-to-be WR Marvin McNutt, a 6-4 210 pounder from St. Louis. McNutt is no longer a quarterback and appears to be one of the new contributors to watch out for in 2009. Iowa loses one WR in Andy Brodell and starting TE Brandon Myers to graduation, but the receiver corp should be well stocked at WR and TE for 2009 and returning starting QB junior-to-be Ricky Stanzi to throw to.

The next man in is always a popular subject at the University of Iowa, especially the number two quarterback. Iowa has two redshirt freshman quarterbacks that will be in relief for starter Ricky Stanzi in 2009:
16 James Vandenberg 6-3, 205, Fr., RS
14 John Wienke 6-5, 220, Fr., RS

Running back and Doak Walker award winner Shonn Greene has departed for the NFL draft. Iowa returns sophomore-to-be Jewel Hampton, but look for redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson, 5-11 215 out of St. Petersburg, FL, to play a key role in a running back corp in 2009. The Hawkeyes will likely run a committee approach in 2009, as opposed to a one-man show.

Various highlights from Iowa Football camp this spring:

Big Ten football should be quite competitive in 2009. How far can the Hawkeyes move up the Big Ten ladder? On Iowa - By Marc Morehouse is another blog from Gazette sportswriter and UNI alum Marc Morehouse worthy of a look from time to time. The Hawkeyes open the 2009 season vs. the Northern Iowa Panthers at Kinnick Stadium on September 5Th.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Can Iowa compete for a Big Ten Football title in 2009?

So, what's up in the Big Ten in 2009 for football? The 2009 Big Ten Conference football prospectus some information on the 114Th season of play.

The University of Iowa hasn't won a share of the Big Ten Conference title in football, since the 2004 season, when Michigan and Iowa finished 7-1 and tied for first place. Could 2009 be a rebirth for Iowa at the top of the Big Ten? Early look... at 2009 nationally!

Iowa rebounded in 2008, after a 2-1/2 year slide in college football. The Hawkeyes return a good group of letterwinners from the 9-4 team that finished in the Top 25 last year. Iowa (5-3 in the Big Ten in '08) will play three games in prime-time in 2009.

As usual, in the Big Ten, Ohio State is often the program we start with. In 2008, the Buckeyes finished 7-1 in the conference and 10-3 overall. The Buckeyes always have talent and will return their young QB in 2009, with sophomore Terrelle Pryor at the helm. However, other than senior TE Jake Ballard, the Buckeyes must reload at the skill positions on offense. Eight starters likely will return on defense, but a key CB and two starting linebackers have departed. Further, both kicker and punter are gone, so head coach Jim Tressel has some questions to answer for 2009. Ohio State always makes things interesting in the Big Ten though.

Who's next? Penn State? Iowa?

Both Penn State and Iowa return their top QB for 2009, in Darryl Clark and Ricky Stanzi, respectively. By far, one of the best games in college football in 2008 was the last minute win by Iowa over Penn State, at Kinnick Stadium, by the score of 24-23. The Hawkeyes likely cost the Nittany Lions a chance in the BCS title game, after finishing Joe Pa's team finished 7-1 in the Big Ten and 11-2 overall. The rematch will be a prime-time game on September 26Th in Happy Valley on ABC/ESPN. Iowa's Kirk Ferentz has fared well vs. Penn State's Joe Paterno in Happy Valley. Iowa has won three out of the last four games played at Penn State.

Next in line in 2009 in the Big Ten?

Illinois returns senior QB Juice Williams for 2009, but after a 3-5 Big Ten record and 5-7 overall in 2008... are the Fighting Illini ready to come back under head coach Ron Zook? The Fighting Illini will be breaking in a new offensive coordinator, since Mike Locksley has become head coach at the University of New Mexico.

So, is it Michigan State and/or Minnesota?

The Michigan State Spartans have some questions at quarterback and running back, with Brian Hoyer and Jovon Ringer departed at those two positions. But, as head coach Mark Dantonio enters his third season in East Lansing, many don't want to risk underestimate the Spartan program, after the 6-2 Big Ten record and 9-4 overall in 2008. Plenty of experience returns for 2009 for Dantonio's Spartans.

The Minnesota Gophers had quite a turnaround in 2008, going from 1-11 in 2007 to 7-6 and a bowl game last year. Head coach Tim Brewster enters his third season for the Gophers in 2009. Minnesota returns the QB-WR combination of Adam Weber and Eric Decker for 2009. When healthy, the Gophers won 3 games in the Big Ten, finishing 3-5. But, new coordinators and schemes are being introduced after some setbacks at the end of the 2008 season.

Wisconsin Badgers head coach Bret Bielema dropped off in year three finishing 7-6 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten in 2008. Is quarterback Dustin Sherer the answer for the Badgers in 2009? Bielema enters his fourth season at the helm in Madison and his own players will fill the roster, unlike the first two years, where he took Alvarez players to a 21-5 record. The honeymoon is over in Madtown!

The Northwestern Wildcats finished 2008 9-4 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten. Clearly, head coach Pat Fitzgerald's best season, as he enters his fourth season in 2009. The offense must reload with six starters departed, including five skill players.

The Rich Rodriquez era began in 2008 at Michigan, with the 33-year bowl streak coming to an end when the Wolverines finished 2008 with a 2-6 Big Ten mark and 3-9 overall. The Michigan Wolverines return nearly everyone on offense, but after 2008, will that matter enough?

Look at the State of Indiana in football today. The Indiana Hoosiers fell to 1-7 in the Big Ten and 3-9 overall in Bill Lynch's second year in Bloomington as head coach. The magic of the 2007 bowl season, after overcoming the tragic death of former head coach Terry Hoeppner from cancer in June 2007 is a memory now. The momentum didn't take.

The Purdue Boilermakers begin a new era in 2009, with head coach Danny Hope replacing Joe Tiller, who finished 2-6 in the Big Ten and 4-8 overall in his final season in 2008.

By the way, don't look for the Big Ten to fill a 12Th team any time soon. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish likely have no interest, after saying no several years back. But, Notre Dame did get the NCAA record nine game losing streak off their backs at the end of the 2008 season, with a bowl win over Hawaii.

We have Spring and Summer to enjoy, but September 3Rd will welcome in the 2009 College Football season.


Spring Football comes to a close for Iowa, Nebraska and Iowa State

The Hawkeyes are remodeling the playing surface at Kinnick, so no spring game or scrimmage for the fans this year. But, coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff did conduct a scrimmage and contact drills in front of recruits, recruits parents and the media.

KCRG-TV ran some highlights on the 6 pm news, including the return of offensive linemen Dace Richardson. Richardson is working at left guard and could earn his starting position again, after stepping away from football in 2008, due to knee problems. Richardson is a 5Th year senior, who is a former starting left tackle. Iowa returns a strong group of the 2008 team that finished the season 9-4 overall and among the Top 25 teams in college football.

Nebraska fans filled Memorial Stadium again for another Spring Game, while Big 12 opponent Iowa State welcomed in a new era, with new head coach Paul Rhoads at the helm. Rhoades replace Gene Chizik, who has moved onto Auburn, after two years (5-19) as the ISU head coach.

The 2009 College Football season will kickoff on Thursday, September 3, 2009, with at least five national games planned already. Iowa State will kickoff the Paul Rhoads era on Thursday, September 3Rd with a home game with North Dakota State.

The University of Iowa will open on Saturday, September 5Th hosting in-state opponent, the University of Northern Iowa, who finished runner-up in the FCS National Championship Game in 2008. Nebraska will host Florida Atlantic, from the Sun Belt Conference in their season opener on the first weekend of college football for 2009.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Back in the saddle again: A great Easter Weekend!

It's great to hear Ed Podolak is back. Ironically, it's great to post to this blog, after a little time away from it. The reasons are clearly different, but blogging about Ed Podolak being back is a great reason to post again.

I have been a fan of Ed Podolak ever since #14 wore his jersey for the Kansas City Chiefs and my family's stories of his days as a Iowa Hawkeye.

Ed Podolak and Gary Dolphin, the color and voice of Iowa Football, meet in a press conference in Iowa City with the local media.
It's great to hear that Ed Podolak is getting his life back on

Ed Podolak's retirement from the radio booth covering Iowa Football was
a short one. In fact, he didn't miss a game. The Hawkeye legend, who has lost
weight and looks five years younger, spoke with the media today in Iowa City
about his return to the booth and the changes in his life since early
- Todd Brommelkamp, managing editor Hawkeye

It is always great to get good news in life. What a wonderful story to learn on Easter Weekend 2009. Podolak came to terms that he had a alcohol problem and needed treatment. From the sounds of it, he is on the right road to recovery.

Ed Podolak is a great part of the Hawkeye Football family. It is great to hear is doing well and will be back in the booth for the 2009 Iowa Football season.

Spring practice is going on all around the Big Ten Conference at this time, including the Hawkeye program in Iowa City.

Happy Easter everyone!