Schwartz: Sunday Notes – T-Minus Six Weeks Until Kickoff
We’re 41 days from the Hawkeyes’ season-opening kickoff against Wyoming. A smidge under six weeks.
It’s usually around this time of year that last season’s hangover starts to wear off, one can see fall coming around the bend, and football – at last – is something we can again begin to wrap around our brains.
When the college season ends, it’s time for it to end. What does that mean? It means that college football got it right. The season lasts exactly as long as it needs to.
The final four months of the U.S. sporting calendar belong to college football. It starts. It’s enjoyable. It knows when to go away. College football is the perfect houseguest, never lingering too long.
So here we are – 41 days until the Hawkeyes take hold of our fall, ushering us like usual from sweltering weekend afternoons to freezing ones. Although there has been Hawkeye football news and general college football news from time to time since last season ended, many of us paid only selective attention. It wasn’t college football’s time.
Now it is. Now we’re ready to see what Akrum Wadley and James Butler can do in the same backfield. We’re ready to discover Iowa’s next great tight end. We’re ready to see if Josey Jewell can do what so many high-profile college players cannot: get better as the spotlight gets hotter.
Six weeks until Hawkeye football. Six short weeks.
Other goings-on …
• I’ll always ride for HawkeyeNation.com. Please, click on all of our links. Click twice. Share them with your friends. Make us money.
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But if you absolutely must go off site for your Hawkeye fix, read Chad Leistikow’s feature from earlier this week on Iowa strength coach Chris Doyle.
Doyle’s name rarely makes the news because he goes about his business. When he does become a public figure, it might be in a negative context, such as the Rhabdo episode from 2011 or when his salary becomes a discussion. But after Kirk Ferentz, Doyle has been the program’s most consistently important staffer. Many of his former players swear by him.
Anyway, Leistikow wrote what likely will go down as the definitive piece on Doyle, the one that ESPN and Big Ten Network will steal information from when they show Doyle on the sideline during games and need talking points.
• Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said last week that he stands by the UI’s decision to remove former assistant athletic director Jane Meyer from the athletic department – a decision that got the university sued and ultimately cost the UI several million dollars in legal damages.
Barta said Tuesday that “[we] still believe that principally we were in the right,” but that the UI could have done things better “tactically.”
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I think the only appropriate response to Barta here is a mammoth eye roll and a dismissive “whatever.”
The UI illegally removed Meyer – by the UI’s own testimony a high-achieving, high-ranking, high-performing employee – because she sometimes upset other employees. That’s not a reason to remove someone. A jury wholeheartedly agreed, and the UI was punished. Plus, there’s the Tracey Griesbaum component.
“Principally we were in the right.”
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Whatever happened to the Hawkeye principle of both winning and losing with grace?
• Lastly, I don’t know why Akrum Wadley wasn’t chosen as one of three Hawkeyes to represent the program at Big Ten Media Day in a few weeks – there might be a good reason – but what a bummer.
It feels like a missed opportunity for Iowa’s best preseason Heisman candidate since Chuck Long. (Tavian Banks, Brad Banks and Shonn Greene became candidates midseason.)
It’s highly unlikely he’ll win, but media coverage greatly influences Heisman voters, most of whom are so busy covering their own teams and working their own beats that they don’t have time to watch every candidate. There’s no harm in putting Wadley’s name out there.
Plus, it feels like he’s earned the chance to go and have a little fun, doesn’t it? He’s a senior. He’s contributed since his freshman season, he’s worked hard to correct past mistakes, and he’s a very good player.
The three players representing the Hawkeyes are Jewell, who went last year, Matt VandeBerg, who is back thanks to a medical redshirt, and Sean Welsh, a member of the preseason Outland Trophy watch list who definitely deserves to represent the Hawkeyes.
* Talk with David Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.