December 30, 2006

TES - 2006 Hawkeye Football Game Notes Alamo Bowl Special Edition

Iowa’s Record:  6-6, 2-6 Big Ten
Iowa’s Rankings
AP: Maybe next year.
USA Today: Nope.
ESPN Power 16: Thankfully we are not in the Bottom 10 anymore.
ESPNU Allstate: They probably don’t like us cause of the Coralville Geico call center.
HARRIS: No, but I’m sure they have some other polls that rank Iowa highly.
BCS: At least we did not finish 11-1 and get screwed knowing we were not going to get killed by the Buckeyes like the Gators will be.

2006 Iowa Football Schedule
September 2nd – Iowa v. Montana WIN 41-7
September 9th – Iowa @ Syracuse WIN 20-13 2OT
September 16th – Iowa v. Iowa State WIN 27-17
September 23rd - Iowa @ Illinois WIN 24-7
September 30th – Iowa v. Ohio State Loss 38-17
October 7th – Iowa v. Purdue (Homecoming) WIN 47-17
October 14th – Iowa @ Indiana Loss 31-28
October 21st – Iowa @ Michigan Loss 20-6
October 28th – Iowa v. Northern Illinois WIN 24-14
November 4th – Iowa v. Northwestern Loss 21-7
November 11th – Iowa v. Wisconsin Loss 24-21
November 18th – Iowa @ Minnesota Loss 34-24

December 30th – Iowa v. Texas, 4:30 PM, ESPN (have all the fun you want on Friday night - it’s not a noon kickoff!)

2006 Alamo Bowl: December 30th, 2006: Iowa Hawkeyes v. #18/#16 Texas Longhorns, 9-3, 6-2 Big 12
Prior Games: 1, Iowa leads 1-0
Last Game: 1984 Freedom Bowl, Iowa 55, Texas 17

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.
NOTE: If sitting on bar stools/standing for 3 hours is not ideal for you, we will be reserving a couple tables on the restaurant side of Blondies.  We will not always have Hawkeye audio on the restaurant side.

PLEASE NOTE – Blondies opens at 11:30 – do not expect to be let into the bar before then!  If you a couple of us in there earlier it’s so we can hang up the flags before the bar fills up.

Last Month: Minnesota
As it has been one calendar month + since this game occurred, and I have run out of ways to describe (and keep this rated PG) how the Hawks lost yet again, I will just say this.  In the spirit of giving that we now find ourselves in, remember that the Hawkeyes gave the Gopher seniors their one and only win against Iowa, just as we had done to the Badger seniors the week before.  While it is nice to give, it is better to receive, at least when it comes to wins, so let’s hope the Hawkeye charity has come to an end with the 2006 regular season.
Up Next: Texas
For the second time in three years the Hawks get the defending national champions, who are playing in a bowl game that they really, really don’t want to be playing in.  You recall how the LSU Tigers came out flat and uninspired for the first 3 quarters of the Capital One Bowl, had to jump start their offense by sticking a freshman QB in there, then thought they had the game won until that one little 55 yard td pass.  The Longhorns might enter this game in even more of a funk than the Bayou Bengals did, because their season ended with a thud that no one saw coming.

After a week 2 loss to the Buckeyes, the Longhorns rolled off 8 straight wins and were very much in the mix to be the one loss team that would get a shot at the Ohio State in the title game.  Well, on November 11th they traveled to Kansas State and lost in a shootout, 45-42.  Poof – there goes the title game.  Just win the last one, get into the Big 12 title game, win that, and voila, a BCS game is all yours.  Only problem – the Aggies came into Austin, rushed for 245 yards on the nation’s top rushing defense (42 per game), and shocked the Longhorns, 12-7. If the Sooners had gone on to lose their last game the Longhorns would get the Big 12 title shot, but the Sooners did not.  So in the space of 7 days Texas went from being right there for a chance to defend their national title to – the Alamo Bowl.  Lucky for Texas, the Alamo Dome is 80 miles from the UT campus.  You have to wonder how many of their fans would show up if they had to go as far as the Hawks will to play this game.

If the loss to A&M was not bad enough, super-stud redshirt freshman QB Colt McCoy was knocked out late in that game with a pinched nerve in his neck.  If he can’t go (but bet that he will), the snaps go to Matt McCoy (no relation), a senior walk on who has never started a game at Texas.  Obviously, the Hawks will he hoping that Colt is held out, and if he plays, the defense will be looking to hit him hard (without targeting his head) to see if he will be able to hold up for the duration of the game.  It is not Norm Parker’s style, but you would hope that the Hawks would unleash some medium intensity blitzes on whoever plays – if it’s Matt you would hope to confuse him, if it’s Colt you hope to put him on the turf and make him think about holding onto the ball.

The Drew Tate era ends in Drew’s virtual back yard.  I hope we could expect that as such, he will go out and have perhaps his finest day – if not in the Black and Gold, then at least since the 2004 season.  He is going to have to do well, as even with the loss to A&M the Longhorns rank second, nationally, in rush defense at 59 yards allowed per game. Young and Sims are going to need to bring their best efforts because a successful running game will open up the play action and the potential to go downfield.  We are going to need to open things up, because Texas is 5th best in scoring average, at 37 points a game, and as we learned this year, we cannot count on the defense to win games for us like we have in past years.  It’s the last hurrah for Chandler so let’s hope he can go out with a solid game (catching everything he gets his hands on) and help his draft status.  Douglass did end up leading the country for catches by a freshman receiver.  A big game from him will propel him onto even greater things as a sophomore.

We ask, for one last time, that the defensive line generate some pressure to slow down the Texas passing attack.  Colt was good enough, in his first year, to have the 5th best passer rating nationally, at a very good 164.1.  That means he does not generally make mistakes, and he converts scoring chances into touchdowns (27 of them, 2nd best, ever, by a freshman).  If he plays and we can’t get pressure it could be a very long night, and the blowout that a lot of the experts are predicting could become a reality.

The only other time we have faced the Longhorns on the gridiron was in the 1984 Freedom Bowl.  Even I was not yet a fully converted Hawkeye in 1984.  There are still seven team and eight individual Iowa bowl records that were set in this game.  Namely Chuck Long, who completed 29 passes for 461 yards and 6 tds. This game served notice that the Hawks were going to be a force in 1985, and true to form, they reached #1 in the polls and Long finished a very close 2nd in the Heisman Trophy balloting to Bo ‘Knows Football’ Jackson. I don’t think we are going to rout the Longhorns this time, but a win would sure get the 2007 season started with some momentum.

Interesting subplot – the punting game.  Texas led the Big 12 at 14 yards per punt return.  In 8 Big Ten games, the Hawks just allowed 7 TOTAL punt returns for 23 net yards (the other punts were downed or fair caught).  Clearly, when you are dealing with an explosive offense, you want to make them go as far as possible. This has been the one special teams area that the Hawks have done right this year, so let’s see them finish it off with a dominating performance.  Oh, and if the Longhorns do come out kind of flat, that would be a great time to put on a full rush and PLEASE get one blocked kick in 2006!

Texas has won 9 games for 9 straight seasons, the only school who can currently say so.  Think of how many more national titles they might have if they could have beaten Oklahoma all those years where that was their only regular season loss. This is a proud (4 titles) program that falls into the category of schools that can ‘reload’ from year to year.  It’s basically a home game for them (though the Hawks are the home team and will be in the black unis) but we can hope that they will be forlorn at their exclusion from the BCS and that will allow the Hawks to start well and God willing, lead. Anything to keep their fans out of it and ours in it (there will be a lot of Hawk fans).  The Alamo Bowl took us because we travel well, but I also expect they think the Hawks are better than our 6-6 record would indicate.  Beating the defending champion two out of three years would end the 2006 season on a positive note and get the Hawkeyes on the right path to get back to the lofty levels we expect in 2007.

There are 18 seniors who will take their final Iowa snaps on December 30th.  Though the last two seasons have not met our expectations (or theirs), they were part of the 10 win 2003 and 2004 teams.  And so we thank them for their contribution to Iowa Football and wish a few of them luck as they begin their NFL journeys, and hope that the others can find happiness in the real post-football-playing world.

And finally, this marks the last football game watch for the 2006 season.  True, we will be back for select basketball games.  But eh, it’s just not quite the same.  Once the football season is over we may have to put all our eggs in the wrestling basket this year.  The resurrection of Iowa Wrestling that was going to occur under Brands (with assistant coach Gable, which is the most gloriously ridiculous thing I think I have ever heard of) seems to be ahead of schedule.  I was counting on the return to Title Town next season, but it may happen this year.

Late breaking football news – former Hawks Aaron Kampman and Nate Kaeding have made the NFL Pro Bowl!  Too bad Dallas Clark and Bob ‘Hitman’ Sanders have been hurt, as they may as well have made it 4 Hawks playing in Hawaii the week after the Super Bowl.  More Hawkeye NFL exposure, more 3 and 4 star recruits make their way to Iowa City.  Congrats Aaron and Nate!

One last reminder to make your way to the Airliner this Saturday, at 7:00 PM, if you find yourself in Iowa (or nearby) for Christmas. Your dollar goes farther in Iowa City than it does in New York City.  As such, make sure you can get home safely after the Pub Crawl or crash at one of the downtown hotels that night.

Thanks for letting me come into your Inbox once a week and like the Hawkeye players, I promise that I will try to do better, with my predictions, in 2007.  I might have to take a leave of absence from work to spend 24/7 trying to figure out which Hawk team will show up from week to week!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!  May your travels find you safely to your destinations and enjoy your time with your families!

Why You Should Watch The Iowa Games At Blondies Sports

  1. A room full of Iowans, and Quasi-Iowans.
  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 jamming.
  6. Prizes.  From time to time, there will be raffles of cool Hawkeye gear.
  7. James the Bartender is back.  He was with us from 2001-2003, so he is as much a part of NYC Hawkeye football as Matt, I, and all the regulars.  Take care of him and he takes care of you!
  8. Should the Hawks lose, you don’t have to drown your sorrows by yourself.  Pain is a drink best shared with friends.
  9. Maybe the best chicken wings in the City.
10. New for 2006!  New FLAT SCREEN TVS at Blondies!



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