Hawks Play Waiting Game

May 4, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Let’s lead off today’s Hawkeye Mashup with an item that is all the more interesting this year, and also more nerve wracking for those that have to play the waiting game…

Undrafted Hawks Keep at It | Hawkcentral has an item that talks to some Hawkeyes who did not get their name called in this year’s NFL draft and gets some of their thoughts. In most years, these players would have an idea on the first steps of the next phase in their football journeys…they would have likely fielded a few calls from teams interested in signing them as free agents…they’d have a chance to get their hands on a playbook…they’d report for minicamps and the like and be able to get the lay of the competitive land they would soon be working in.

Not this year, due to the NFL’s ongoing lockout. While that situation is going to be heard in early June, to see if the lower court’s decision that sided with the players will be upheld or overturned, it provides little solace to players like Ryan Donahue, DJK, Jeremiha Hunter, Brett Morse, Allen Reisner, Jeff Tarpinian, Brett Greenwood and other Hawkeye seniors that did not get drafted but still want to turn over a few rocks to see if the NFL is a part of their future.

The odds are against most of them making a 53-man roster this fall (if there is pro football), but some of them could be signed to practice squads and one or a few of them could actually make a roster…but the waiting game has started and their lives are on hold for a bit…

Spring Big Ten football projections are fun…nothing wrong with them, they cause no harm…then again, projections on the whole cause no harm, unless you are just superstitious and that’s a you problem. Big Ten Network analysts Gerry Dinardo and Howard Griffith have posted their spring projections:

Legends Division predictions as of 5/3/11:
DiNardo: 1) Nebraska, 2) Michigan State, 3) Michigan
Griffith: 1) Nebraska, 2) Iowa, 3) Michigan State

Leaders Division predictions as of 5/3/11:
DiNardo: 1) Wisconsin, 2) Ohio State, 3) Penn State
Griffith: 1) Ohio State, 2) Wisconsin, 3) Penn State

Continue reading below

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I side with both DiNardo and Griffith with pegging Nebraska as the favorite in the Legends. I am not sold yet on my #2 pick, but it will either be Iowa or Michigan State. I am going to have to see Michigan ‘do it’ again before I buy into them. I am leaving Northwestern and Dan Persa out of my Top Three at my own peril. As for the Leaders Division, I am picking Ohio State, Penn State and then Wisconsin. Illinois was poised to challenge for second before early NFL draft defections hit them. These picks are subject to change…just like DiNardo and Griffith’s picks, as the BTN staffer who emailed them out added this: “** Obvious disclaimer: Our guys may revise their predictions after the preseason campus tour in August.”

Bart Houston is a highly rated pro-style quarterback. So is new Iowa commit Jake Rudock. Rudock chose Iowa over Wisconsin and a host of other schools this past fall, and this week, Houston chose Wisconsin over Iowa and a host of other schools. Predictable? Mostly, as it’s tough to follow up a highly rated quarterback commit with another one in the next class unless you are one of the college football blue bloods…and even then it ain’t easy.

Over to Iowa and Big Ten basketball, where one of Iowa’s opponents for next year may be very close to losing a key piece to the NBA. Michigan point guard Darius Morris entered his name to the draft pool and wanted to get an idea of where he might go in the draft…according to this link, an NBA draft source is saying Morris intends to stay in the draft, thereby forgoing any more time on the court for Michigan. That would be a big blow for the Wolverines, who might be a Top 10 preseason team with Morris. So a league that was already going to be less talented overall than it was in Fran McCaffery’s first year could be even less daunting….while Iowa appears to be a program that should be much better next year.

Continue reading below

One the national college football scene, there are reports that suggest the Pac 12 is about to ink one of the richest TV contracts ever for conference rights…about $225 million per year to the league, or $5 million more than the current estimate for the Big Ten Conference. That doesn’t take into account the equity the Big Ten and its schools have in the Big Ten Network of course….it’s an insane sum of money for a conference that is really regional. Many of their games kick off at 9pm Iowa time or 10pm on the east coast…meaning the majority of the college football watching nation is not watching them, but a good number of gamblers are.

That’s not to suggest there isn’t good football played out west, because there is. But we are not talking about the religion of college football like you find in the heartland and the deep south…where stadiums over 70,000 in attendance are commonplace and under are out of the norm. The reverse is true in the Pac 10. Stanford recently underwent a stadium renovation that actually reduced their seating capacity; they went from a capacity of 85,500 to 50,000 back in 2005.

From the linked item: “The Pac-10 made less than $60 million in media rights this past season but became the latest conference to take advantage of the escalating market for college sports on television. The ACC recently signed a deal for $155 million a year, and the Big 12 reached a deal with Fox that made its total annual package worth about $130 million. The Pac-10, which will be renamed the Pac-12 in July with the additions of Utah and Colorado, topped those deals, as well as the $205 million the SEC gets and the $220 million paid to the Big Ten.”

Continue reading below

Who likes this news besides the Pac 12? The Big Ten and SEC certainly do…as will the Big 12, whose deal mentioned above was not for their tier one rights, which will play out in 2015. The ACC winds up looking paltry in this chase, then again they were the first league (outside of the Big Ten and SEC, who are always going to have a seat at the big boy table) to negotiate their deal. As the Big 12 and Pac 12 have shown, being last can certainly mean you can wind up being first…if only for a while.

LINK IT UP

McCaffery, Cartwright Share Strong Relationship | John Bohnenkamp of The Hawk Eye
Hawks Add Wrestling Commit | Andy Hamilton of the Press Citizen
Hlas Ranks Big Ten Cities | Mike Hlas ranks, you read
Hawkeye Recruits to Play in Prime Time League | from HawkCentral. It’s gonna be a crowded North Liberty gym

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