This is from ESPN’s “College Football Live” from late last week, when the show highlighted college football in the state of Iowa.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was a guest on the show. A lot of Iowa fans caught it, but in case you didn’t, here is what Ferentz said.
On Iowa: “It’s just a great place to be. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pa. I first came out here in 1981. I think what I first learned, I think everyone knows in Pittsburgh, it’s a Steelers’ town. What I learned in ’81 — and it’s clearly the truth since that time — is the Hawkeyes are the Steelers of this state. We have great fan interest from border to border. We don’t have any professional teams here at all. That gives us a nice market. I don’t think anybody’s got better fans, more loyal fans, than the University of Iowa.”
Rumored to leave, why do you stay?: “My first couple years I was rumored to leave, I think people were hoping I’d leave. We were 2-18 our first 20 games. At least now it’s changed and shifted a little bit. Actually, what a lot of people don’t realize, I’m going into my 20th year here. I was here for nine years as an assistant. I’ve been back for 10 as a head coach. It’s really pretty simple: It’s given us a great place to live. On a personal basis, my wife and I have raised five children and have four out of one high school, the same high school, which is tough to do in coaching. Our youngest one is in ninth grade going into 10th. If we can hang in there three more years, we’ll get five kids out of one high school, that’s a tough thing to do.”
Great players, who stands out?: That’s a tough question. That’s a tough one. That’s like saying, which of your five kids is your favorite? It’s going to get you in trouble. But we’ve had so many great players come through here. You go back to the early stages, Aaron Kampman and LeVar Woods. You move on to Brad Banks, Dallas Clark, Bob Sanders, Robert Gallery, Nate Kaeding . . . just keep going right on through. Greenway, Hodge, we’ve had some tremendous players. Last year, Shonn Greene had a great year.”
Wife from Iowa, went to Iowa State, how big is the rivalry between Iowa State and Iowa?: “We’ve got to straigthen your wife out. I’m sure she’s a nice person. It’s great. It’s been a great rivalry. It’s been a great, great series. The last 10 years, every game we’ve been involved with has been very, very hard fought. It has all the cliches. You throw the records out, that type of thing. When the two teams get together on the field, it’s great competition. More importantly, the whole state, it gives everybody something to anticipate.”
Also, here’s a link to the Ferentz interview on ESPN.com.
Hawkeye countdown to kick off thought
How much do you think Ferentz and company like Williamsburg lineman Austin Blythe?
I couldn’t find his football credentials, but the 6-3, 280-pounder has already made waves in state wrestling. He finished as a runner-up in Class 2A as a freshman and won the title last season. But look at it this way, he probably has one season — his sophomore year — of football film and Iowa offered him a scholarship. The last time Iowa offered this early, it was James Morris. That seems to be working out. Blythe is only 16 now and will be a junior next season.
From my observations on Iowa recruiting, if the coaches really, really want an instate kid, they are not afraid to offer early. Keenan Davis also was offered after his sophomore year.
By virtue of an early offer, Blythe joins a fairly elite class. But yes, it’s a long way to February 2011.
Big Ten countdown to kick off thought
ESPN’s Ivan Maisel and Adam Rittenberg talk about a mythical Big Ten vs. Big 12 showdown here.
I would go like this, for the 2009 season:
Iowa over Missouri
Michigan State over Texas Tech
Okie State over Northwestern
Nebraska over Minnesota
Kansas over Wisconsin
Illinois would crush K-State
Colorado would beat Purdue
Texas A&M beats Indiana
Michigan and Baylor would be an intriguing matchup, I’d go Michigan but this is a game I’d want to watch
Texas beats Penn State, this year and probably last
Ohio State gets OU in a game I’d pick up on pay-per-view
I’d have it about even with the Big 12 holding a 6-5 edge.
Bonus: What did you guys do to CBS Sportsline’s Dennis Dodd? He calls you yappers here. He hates the Big Ten this year, BTW.
National countdown to kickoff thought
The Big 33 high school all-star game between Ohio and Pennsylvania preps is this Saturday. The game kicks off at 6 p.m. on the NFL Network.