Headlines, stories and comments about some of the things that are going on in this crazy old world:
Fox Sports Net-Chicago Will Televise ISU-Iowa Game
Just when Cyclone and Hawkeye fans were starting to wonder how network TV could possibly ignore the Sept. 13 football game at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, I learned today that Fox Sports Net-Chicago plans to carry it.
"As of now, it's on the national schedule for us to carry it," a spokeswoman at the network's Chicago offices told me.
"We're carrying the game," she said, meaning Fox Sports Net-Chicago, "but it's also being offered to other (Fox) regions. It depends on what other programs they have."
The game will start at 11:30 a.m. and undoubtedly will be played in front of another overflow crowd of more than 51,000. Iowa State will be gunning for its sixth consecutive victory in the series after Iowa had won the previous 15 games.
Iowa State coach Dan McCarney told me two days ago that he wasn't "hearing real good stuff" about network TV plans for the game. The reason, he said, was because there was many other marquee collegiate games scheduled around the nation that day.
"It'll make that ($50) ticket to the game worth even more," McCarney said.
McCarney hadn't heard that Fox Sports Net-Chicago planned to televise the game until I told him this morning.
"To me, it should be a no-brainer (that TV should carry the game)," he said. "But a lot of other head coaches might feel the same way about their matchups with somebody," he said.
"But our game features teams from two major conferences, teams going to bowl games, an intrastate rivalry and fans won't be able to find a seat in the stadium. This rivalry has gone beyond local and regional interest—there's a lot of national interest in it now."
Haluska Released From His Cyclone Scholarship
A few thoughts about that one:
Sure, everyone expects Haluska to transfer to Iowa. But wouldn't it be absolutely wild if he says he admires Drake's strong academic standards and Tom Davis' coaching and decides to become a Bulldog? Or if he transfers to Creighton?
What if something totally unforeseen happens and Steve Alford would no longer be the Hawkeyes' coach when Haluska—assuming he transfers to Iowa-- becomes eligible under NCAA transfer rules in the 2004-2005 season?
What if Haluska says he feels sorry for embattled Larry Eustachy and decides to join Ol' Turtleneck at his next collegiate coaching job?
LESPN Ranks Iowa No. 23 in Preseason
Football rankings in May, of course, mean nothing.
A top 10 ranking and a buck might get you a half-gallon of gas at Casey's.
But Ivan Maisel of ESPN.com thinks enough of Coach Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa football team to rank them No. 23 in his preseason collegiate poll.
Maisel has Oklahoma, coached by former Iowa player Bob Stoops, as his No. 1 team, and a number of other powers that will be playing games in our state are also among the top 25.
Stoops brings his Sooners to Jack Trice Stadium in Ames for an Oct. 4 game against Iowa State. Texas, which is Maisel's No. 7 team, visits Ames on Oct. 18. Iowa State was courageous enough to make the Longhorns the homecoming foe for the Cyclones.
Kansas State, which is Maisel's No. 10 team, plays at Iowa State on Nov. 8.
Iowa plays five teams that are in Maisel's top 25. They are No. 3 (and defending national champion) Ohio State, which hosts the Hawkeyes on Oct. 18; No. 5 Michigan, which plays at Iowa on Oct. 4; No. 13 Arizona State, which is at Iowa on Sept. 20; Purdue, which hosts Iowa on Nov. 8, and No. 23 Wisconsin, which hosts the Hawkeyes in the Nov. 22 regular-season finale.
Prior Says Cubs Are Best Team in N.L. Central
First of all, remember that Mark Prior—a 22-year-old pitcher with enormous talent—is still a boy in a man's body.
When Prior told Chicago reporters, "I think we're a better team than them"—meaning the St. Louis Cardinals—it was as though he was still wearing a Southern California uniform and was talking to the student newspaper. In May, no Cub player has any business saying that Chicago is better than St. Louis or any other team. As the 1969 Cubs will testify, no Cub player has any business talking about how good the team is even in August or September. Actually, Prior didn't stop with the Cardinals.
"Personally, I think we're better than everybody," he said. "If you don't think that, then there's no point in playing the game."
I agree. But keep it to yourself, Mark. If this were college football or college anything else, his remarks would be on every bulletin board in the league.
And maybe they are by now.
Frankly, despite what Cubs manager Dusty Banker has done in injecting some life into the previously-lifeless franchise, despite the strong pitching Prior and Kerry Wood have provided and despite the fact the Cubs have been in first place in their division most of the season, I don't think they're the best team.
Indeed, they might be the fourth-best team. St. Louis has more batting punch than the Cubs and may even have more pitching. Houston is also a better team and Cincinnati may be, too.