September 3, 2005

TES - 2005 Hawkeye Football Game Notes - Week 1

Iowa’s Record 0-0, 0-0 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: #11
USA Today: #10
ESPN Power 16: #11
HARRIS: First poll 9/25
BCS: First poll 10/17

2005 Iowa Football Schedule
9/3/05 Iowa v. Ball State 12:10 PM, ESPN+
9/10/05 Iowa @ Iowa State 3:35 PM, ABC
9/17/05 Iowa v. Northern Iowa 3:35 PM, ESPN+/ESPNU
9/24/05 Iowa @ Ohio State TBD
10/1/05 Iowa v. Illinois TBD
10/8/05 Iowa @ Purdue 4:35 PM, ESPN
10/15/05 Iowa v. Indiana TBD
10/22/05 Iowa v. Michigan TBD
10/29/05 Bye Week
11/5/05 Iowa @ Northwestern TBD
11/12/05 Iowa @ Wisconsin TBD
11/19/05 Iowa v. Minnesota TBD
1/2/06 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl 4:30 PM ABC
1/2/06 Nokia Sugar Bowl 8:30 PM ABC
1/3/06 FedEx Orange Bowl 8:00 PM ABC
1/4/06 Rose Bowl – 2006 BCS Title Game 8:00 PM ABC

September 3rd 2005 – Iowa Hawkeyes v. Ball State Cardinals 0-0, 0-0 Mid American
Prior Games: First Meeting
Last Game: First Meeting

Game Watch: ‘The Best Game Watch Outside Of Kinnick.’
BLONDIES SPORTS 212 West 79th, (Broadway/Amsterdam).
1 train to 79th street, half a block east.  Several parking garages are nearby.

Greetings Tri-State Hawkeyes!

At long last…the wait is nearly over.  Within days now the 2005 Iowa Hawkeyes begin their quest for an undisputed Big 10 title and Rose Bowl showdown with, oh, I don’t know, USC.  The post ‘Catch’ and preseason hype has nearly drowned out all other talk of Hawkeye sports, and with good cause.  Iowa is another double-digit season removed from being squarely in there with the elite football programs in the country. And as I gaze across the 2005 schedule, I am convinced an 11-0 season is well within reach.
 Why?  Simply put, I don’t think anyone on our schedule can stay with the Iowa offense.  Now, we are not going to (as Tate might like) open things up and go with a run-and-shoot style offense, but just picture what Tate can do with any kind of ‘normal’ running game.  Last year, he effectively ran the play-action pass, but without the football 101 benefit of a running game to keep the linebackers and safeties honest.  I have this recurring dream that after Albert Young breaks off a nice 50 yard run early in the game, Tate will look up after his play action fakes and find Solomon, Hinkel, Chandler, and three other receivers wide open.  Net result…Iowa runs for a healthy 200 or so game, and Tate routinely puts up numbers close to 400 and throws something like 34 touchdowns. This is all behind a now veteran (remember how concerned we were with the o-line before last year) offensive line that will open up holes for the plethora of now-healthy running backs and keep the defense off of Tate long enough to give him time to get the ball downfield.  And downfield he will go – as our wide receivers will often find themselves with single coverage. This could be the most exciting Iowa offense since the mid 80s when the likes of Long and Hartlieb where chucking the pigskin all over Kinnick Stadium.

On the other side of the ball, the Hawks sport (as you have probably heard) the best duo of linebackers in the country.  Behind them start the most seasoned corners we have had for many years. This comforts me, as you also may also have heard that all four guys who played in front of them last year (the defensive line) are now getting paid to play football on Sundays.  Yes, it will probably take a game, two, or three to get the new d-line game seasoned, but according to the coaches and the All-American linebackers behind them, the line has made substantial progress over the summer.  And these are not unheralded players that are being plugged into the d-line – though young, we are looking at the next group of Hawkeye linemen who will be spending quality time in offensive backfields, and All-Big 10 lists, for the next three to four years.

On top of this we add, what will be in four years time, considered the best class in Iowa recruiting history.  At least until the 2006, 2007, etc. classes show up on campus!  The word is out that coach Ferentz and his staff work magic (look at how many players we have put into the NFL in recent years who were unknowns in high school, or who were switched by Iowa into a different position), and the 4 star players are taking notice.  It seems safe to say that as long as Ferentz is our coach, we will be contending for Big 10 titles – and more – year in and year out.  It’s a great time to be a Hawkeye fan – now if we can just get our basketball and wrestling programs back where they belong!

Ball State Cardinals

Ok…the Hawks open with yet another MAC team (as we do in 2006 and 2007).  This time it’s Ball State, who limped along to a 2-9 record last year.  Note, being at the bottom of the MAC is probably something like being at the bottom of the Big 10 – the MAC has been doing very well of late for a mid-major conference, so staying with the top teams has not been easy.  And those Ball State schedule guys sure want to see where they stand, as they not only have us to open, but then Auburn and Boston College over the next three weeks.  They will lose all three games, but the experience will be invaluable when they get into their conference schedule.

As we are not coached by Steve Spurrier, the Hawks will not try to run the Cardinals out of the stadium in the first 30 minutes.  In fact, I suspect (hope) the Hawks will run a very conservative offense this week, in week three against the Panthers, and if possible, next week in Ames.  Why?  The Buckeyes lurk on September 24th, and know this: their scouts will be memorizing every play the Hawks run between now and then (you can kind of say they have this game circled on the calendar).  The Hawks will not want to show any new offensive wrinkles or trick plays until they take the field in the Horseshoe.  Look for the Hawks to establish early that the o-line shifts they have made are working, and that the running backs…yes, the running backs, get out of the gate early and often.  Should we have a comfortable halftime lead, expect to see the second and third guys on the depth chart take the field.  Speaking of the Iowa depth chart:

On the other side of the ball, all eyes will focus on the d-line.  They will get a much better test next week, as the Clones do have some authentic weapons in the backfield, so it will probably be hard to glean much from this game.  Any mistakes they make will be covered behind them, of course!

Why You Should Watch The Iowa Games At Blondies Sports

  1. A room full of Iowans, and Quasi-Iowans.  No comment.
  2. Iowa games in glorious audio – we control the bar side stereo.  That means you hear the game.  And the fight song.  ON IOWA.  The Beer Song.  Maybe a little Hawkeye radio audio from the Capital One Bowl.
  3. A bar decked out in Hawkeye banners, flags, signs, etc.  Like the Sports Column…minus the attitude.
  4. It is a bar – meaning that once the game kicks off, you don’t have to drink Coke.  That is, unless you want to.  
  5. Speaking of audio…actual Hawkeye Marching Band alumni have been known to break out the brass and start playing.
  6. Prizes.  From time to time, there will be raffles of cool Hawkeye gear.  A while back we gave away a Kirk Ferentz autographed football.  Imagine what that will be worth after he wins four or five national titles!

All right…all that is left now is for the Hawks to take the field and put the hype in its place. With a little luck we’ll be watching history unfold week by week.  It’s just hours away now…let’s get it on!


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