By Sam Kienzle
This week I am pumping my fists fast and hard in the cool Iowa air to these sports tidbits—some Iowa-related, some feel-good, some absurdly hilarious!
10. On April 13th (I know, a little dated), Indianapolis Colts Tight End and former Hawkeye All-American, Dallas Clark, appeared as detective Austin Kent on the CBS show, “Criminal Minds” in the episode, “The Stranger.” I did not get to see it, but from what I’ve read it was a brief cameo. Check out the hyperlink too see Dallas’ goofy, cop comb over. Detective Kent must be related to Clark Kent, because he’s not fooling anyone. I know it’s you, Mr. All-Pro Tight End. Overall, though, it was a neat opportunity for Mr. Clark. I think it would be hysterical if Peyton Manning showed up in the same episode as Detective Milton Henning. Manning does appear in about a thousand commercials a year, after all. Here’s a bit of spoof dialogue. I’ll set up the scene: A baby is trapped on the third floor of a burning building, but some junkies are standing around looking to make trouble.
Detective Milton Henning: Austin, you go left and block those two junkies wearing Patriots jackets while I dash in and get the baby.
Detective Austin Kent: Alright, but you might have to fake them out. Be quick, too, those junkies are strong and love to cheat. Sergeant Ricky Payne is standing in the safe zone ready to catch the baby. He’s got such great hands!
Detective Milton Henning: On two, on two.
9. I am pumping my fists for the Hawks. The Atlanta Hawks are up 3-1 in the opening round of the NBA Eastern Conference playoff series on the better-seeded Orlando Magic after an 88-85 win. Jamal Crawford came off the bench to score twenty five points. I don’t know much about the Atlanta Hawks, but since the Iowa Hawks are in building mode for the foreseeable future, I have to root for some Hawk team. Teams like Atlanta and the Memphis Grizzlies are obscure enough that I can get excited about them. Go Hawks!
8. University of Iowa Video Coordinator Matt Engelbert was recently named the 2011 Collegiate Sports Video Association’s Big Ten Conference Video Coordinator of the Year. What a title! Honestly, I have little knowledge of what it takes to be an elite Video Coordinator, but Mr. Engelbert—employed 22 years at Iowa—seems to be pretty good. He was also recognized with the same award in 1998 and 2008. Kirk Ferentz and his staff have always seemed adept at correcting mistakes after a loss. I’ll go ahead and credit Mr. Engelbert for helping with his savvy digital editing.
7. I did some Iowa Men’s Golf recaps for Kif Richmann’s “From the Cheap Seats” show in the fall, but I have to admit I lost track of their play when school got more chaotic. Lo and behold, they are driving, chipping, and putting like mad fiends again. Coach Mark Hankins’ crew, lead by senior dynamo Vince India—along with major contributors Brad Hopfinger, Chris Brant, and Barrett Kelpin—continue to land top five finishes in major tournaments. The 11th– ranked Hawkeyes finished fourth at the Kepler Invitational in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday. Mr. India finished fourth at the tournament and also finished second at the LSU Collegiate Invitational on April 3rd. As a team, the Hawkeyes have five first-place finishes in major tournaments since September and eight top-four finishes in that span. Astounding, considering that before Mr. Hankins’ arrival, the Hawkeyes were ranked 155th and in the bottom of the Big Ten. They have improved markedly since Mr. Hankins’ first year in 2007. Later this week (April 29th) begin the Big Ten Conference Championships in West Lafayette, Indiana. Stay tuned.
6. Last year’s Stanley Cup participants—the champion Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers—both won in overtime on Sunday to force a Game 7 in the opening round of the NHL playoffs. The Blackhawks beat the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, and the Flyers bested the Buffalo Sabres, 5-4, in extra time, respectively. That’s some good hockey, eh? While the weather is cool and the Flyers are winning, I best break out my Simon Gagne road jersey. It doesn’t matter that he plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning now, because Game 7 is in Philadelphia! Fist pump holding a drippy cheese steak!
5. I will be frank. I know less about the NBA D-League than I do the Atlanta Hawks. I know virtually nothing about Iowa’s NBA Developmental League team, the Iowa Energy. I think of D-League and I think of D-Grade meat, for some reason (if that even exists anymore—dog food?). Or the players are one air ball away from being F-Grade players. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s a farm team NBA system. But I’d rather read about Iowa Football practices than D-League coverage. Apparently, though, the Iowa Energy are one victory away from winning the NBA D-League Championship. That’s pretty swell. Way down in the booming town of Hidalgo, Texas, the Iowa Energy swatted the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 123-106 on Sunday night. One more win with triple-double man Curtis Stinson and the Iowa Energy are champions! Who they play for the title? I don’t know. The article did not say. I am not even sure if it will be televised. Perhaps ESPN Deportes de América Central will pick it up. Ok, moving on.
4. On Saturday, junior college player, Anthony Hubbard, picked the Iowa Men’s Basketball team as his future home. Hubbard, a 6-5 guard, averaged about 20 points and 10 rebounds for Frederick Community College in Maryland. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. He picked Iowa over future rival Nebraska. Apparently, Mr. Hubbard is an athletic scorer. He is also a felon. He went to prison for four years when he was 18 after being convicted of robbery. He’s 26 now, and from what I’ve read he’s focused on basketball and being a solid citizen. If this all works out for him, it would make a great story. Let’s hope.
3. I am pumping my fists with a sense of feverish mockery on this one! Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette posted the ESPN College Football Live Preseason Top 25 on his blog, The Hlog (it’s great). College Football Live is a decent show on ESPN that covers current events in college football, even in the offseason. I am sure this Preseason Top 25 list is subject to change. But for the fun—and fury—of it, I’m going to share my opinion on a few poll positions I take issue with. Florida State at number six: I don’t know if they’re there yet. First year with Jimbo Fisher last season was a nice ten-win campaign. Just don’t know if they’re there yet. Stanford at number seven: I can’t say I like this. New head coach, lots of replacements on defense. Andrew Luck is back, but things won’t be the same. South Carolina at number eight: Steven Garcia was recently suspended for the fifth time. He’s a punk and his future is in jeopardy. Even when he played he was no Richard Stanzi. I seem to remember Iowa torturing him as a freshman in the 2009 Outback Bowl. Steve Spurrier does not have the same magic that he did at Florida. Yes, they won their division in the SEC, but got crushed by Auburn in the title game and then lost to Jimbo’s Seminoles in the bowl game. Oh, hey look everyone! There is no Iowa! Thank the maker.
2. The NFL Draft starts Thursday and ends on July 20th. Just kidding, it ends Saturday. I look forward to reading about the picks after it’s over. I’ve got no time to watch three days of hootin’ and hollerin’ and Adrian Clayborn in a giant striped suit. Between now and Thursday, Mel Kiper will blast into Ultra-Productive mode and crank out thirty more Mock Drafts, all of which will be wrong.
1. I’m pumping my fists until I get arthritis in my elbows over the Iowa Women’s Softball team beating the top-ranked Michigan Wolverines 4-2 on Saturday night in Ann Arbor. Katie Keim scored two runs later in the game after Jenny Schuelke smashed a home run with pinch runner Jordan Goschie on base for a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Iowa came into the game at a respectable 7-3 in the conference and 25-16 overall. But to put this win in perspective, number one Michigan came into the game at 41-3 and 9-1 in the Big Ten.