The "dog days" of August are upon us. Optimism is everywhere. Every college football team in the land believes it can make it to a bowl game…even the five squads that eventually won't. Every NFL team is certain it can go at least 9-7 and make the playoffs. And the Cubs are hoping that Augie Ojeda can replace Mark Grudzeialadlkesnak for a month.
Although it may seem like we're simply waiting at this point…waiting for college football, waiting for the baseball playoffs, waiting for Lisa Guerrero to make her first regular-season sideline report…there are still a lot of things going on.
Here are some of my thoughts…
- Which would be more fun for the Hawkeyes this season: Beating Michigan by 17 points in Iowa City…or dropping Ohio State in Columbus?
- Ever notice how some people have the ability (intentional or not) to make a comment at the exact moment that you're really frustrated about something…and they find a way to make it worse. I was playing golf with my dad on Sunday and I had a 15-foot putt going up a steep incline and I left it about four feet short. I was not happy at that point. "It was uphill," my dad pointed out. Yeah, thanks. I have a new nickname for people who make those comments: Antonio Alfonseca (or as Joe Morgan says, "Al Fonseca") because they throw gas on the fire. My dad is one of the all-time Alfonseca comment kings.
- I am confident that Matt Roth can lead the Big 10 in sacks this season. However, I am also concerned that he may lead the league in personal fouls.
- Lenny Harris was released by the Cubs last weekend. Groundouts to the pitcher have been reduced by 74% since then.
- It will be a very good season for Iowa if Fred Russell rushes for 1,200 yards again…or roughly the same number of "F-bombs" that Steve Stifler drops in "American Wedding."
- The Cubs had a deal worked out last week to rescue Rafael Palmeiro from the last-place, miserable Rangers. But, Raffy declined. I'm wondering if he is being advised by Fred McGriff's wife.
- Hawkeye fans would love to see Iowa defeat Ohio State on the road this season, but the bigger road games might be against Purdue and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes may be battling the Boilers and Badgers for a spot in the Big 10 standings when those games are played.
- Kobe Bryant and his wife (apparently not all that upset anymore) showed up at something called "The Teen Choice Awards" last week. Interesting decision, don't you think? But then again, I don't think "judgement" has been a real strength for Kobe & Co. this summer.
- What are the odds that Maurice Clarett doesn't play for the Buckeyes this season? What are the odds that Ohio State has a stud running back ready to replace him?
- My wife and I went to the movie "American Wedding." If that movie was a pitching line, it would have gone something like this: 3 2/3 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs, 4 earned runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts. Sort of like Warren Brusstar in his prime.
- Former Iowa assistant Bill Snyder has a terrific backfield at Kansas State with Ell Roberson at QB and Darren Sproles at RB, but the Wildcats have to play at Texas and at Nebraska this season, which will probably take them out of the national title hunt. By the way, I can't remember another Division 1 athlete who had the first name "Ell." The closest that I can come up with are: "El Duque" with the Yankees, "El Guapo" from "The Three Amigos" movie and Elle MacPherson.
- Nebraska has a couple of starters named Kabongo and Incognito. Seriously. "Kabongo & Incognito"…it sounds like an ABC sitcom starring a monkey and Tony Danza. (Maybe I need some more sleep.)
- If defense and special teams really do allow you to stay close against teams who may be more talented, then the Hawks should be in a lot of nailbiters this fall. This gives me confidence. However, Iowa was +15 in turnovers in 2002 and that statistic has a way of evening itself out pretty quickly. This makes me nervous.
- Kyle Orton of Southeast Polk will be Second Team All-Big 10 this season as Purdue's quarterback. Craig Krenzel will not be the First Team selection.
- Today's best batting stance for whiffle-ball players to imitate? Craig Counsell of the Diamondbacks.
- The idea of Bob Sanders returning kicks for the Hawks has been bounced around a little bit. And I'm thinking, "Doesn't anyone remember what happened to Jason Sehorn?" (And no, I'm not referring to Angie Harmon.)
- What? Mike Tyson is filing for bankruptcy? I'm shocked, I tell you. Shocked.
- A lot of preseason publications point to Iowa's offensive line—and its four new starters—as a potential weakness. But as long as Coach Ferentz is in charge of the Hawkeye program, the offensive line is the least of my worries.
- I'm very curious to see how good Albert Young is. My feeling is that Iowa will need to rely on the true freshman as a "featured back" in at least a couple of games.
- Jesse Ventura for President? Yeah, that will happen. Right after Jim Zabel is elected as Iowa's new Governor, with Johnny Orr as his running mate.