So, the World Series is finally over. YAWN! As a die-hard Cub fan, I found it impossible to watch a single pitch. Thankfully, VH-1 was able to fill the entertainment void this week with the debut of its "I Love the '80s…Strikes Back" series. It's like, totally awesome, my friends.
From Falco to Bon Jovi…from Jenga to Jem…I've been (as Loverboy would say) "lovin' every minute of it." Reminiscing about music, TV and sports from the '80s has been a really "rad" substitute for thinking about why Kerry Wood was left in Game 7 long enough to allow SEVEN earned runs, even when 10 other pitchers were available.
As a result, my review of the Hawkeyes this week comes through the "I Love the '80s" slant. If you're not old enough to remember Twisted Sister, Rocky III, The Breakfast Club, Spandau Ballet or catfights between Linda Evans and Joan Collins, I apologize.
With lyrics of '80s songs as the backdrop, here are some thoughts about the Hawkeyes…
"Who can it be now?" (Men At Work)
When Warren Holloway made a terrific catch on the Hawkeye sideline on Saturday, I have to admit, I wasn't sure who this guy was right away. After all, I think he's the 28th player that Iowa has used as a wide receiver this fall. Then, I realized that Holloway is a JUNIOR…and this was the just the second catch of his career. Geez. Holloway has racked up enough DNPs in the last three years to make Paul Mokeski proud.
"Don't you want me?" (The Human League)
After a pair of early interceptions, I felt a strange sense of despair among the faithful at Kinnick Stadium. (If it's possible to do that while watching the game on TV.) It seems that there is a growing contingent of Hawk fans who want to see Drew Tate get some more snaps at quarterback due to their lack of confidence in Nathan Chandler. For the record, Chandler is now 6-2 as a starter and has thrown 13 TDs and only six interceptions.
"Everyone's a Captain Kirk" (Nena)
Actually, everyone's NOT a "Captain Kirk"…but Iowa fans sure love the one on their sideline. Under Coach Ferentz's leadership, the Hawkeyes have now won 20 of their last 25 games. And Iowa has not lost consecutive games in nearly two years. Although Bob Griese has slipped in my eyes as a broadcaster the last two weeks, he got one thing right today when he said that Iowa—as a team—never panics and that's the sign of a well-coached group. Hopefully, Captain Kirk & Company will stay in Iowa City for a long, long time.
"Feel like I could run away, run away" (Johnny Hates Jazz)
In a season full of injuries, Fred Russell has managed to stay healthy and the Hawkeye tailback looks like a lock to top the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year.
"My name is Luka…I live on the second floor…I live upstairs from you…Yes, I think you've seen me before" (Suzanne Vega)
There is no correlation to anything here. But, is that tune stuck in your head now? Just TRY to avoid singing that song in your head today. "If you hear something late at night…some kind of trouble…some kind of fight…" Then again, maybe this is a Sam Aiello reference. Hmmm.
"Show me, show me, show me how you do that trick" (The Cure)
After Nate Kaeding scored a touchdown against Ohio State on that creative fake field goal, you can bet that kickers throughout the country were having their holders work on flipping the ball to them as they pretended to race for the end zone. Any kicker who DIDN'T think about it during practice this week has all the imagination of a Laura Branigan video.
"Coast to coast, L.A. to Chicago" (Sade)
Do you think Sade knew that Chicago is NOT on the east coast?
"I was born in a small town" (John Cougar Mellencamp)
Former walk-on Grant Steen is from Emmetsburg, which has a population of 3,958. The linebacker has had an excellent career for the Hawkeyes, which should serve notice to all the other small-town athletes who want a chance to play big-time college football.
"They only hit until you cry" (Suzanne Vega)
There we go. That "Luka" song again. This line makes me think of Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge. If these two guys stay healthy, there will be a lot of Big Ten quarterbacks, running backs and receivers doing a whole lotta crying in the next two years.
"You spin me right round, baby, right round…like a record, baby, right round, round round" (Dead or Alive)
Offensive tackles might be thinking something similar to this after lining up against Matt Roth all day.
"I'm coming down, coming down, like a monkey" (Genesis)
Absolutely no relevance. It was such a stupid lyric that I felt it needed to be mentioned. And now I can't help it…I'm thinking of Michelob TV commercials with the song "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" playing in my head. Nooooooo! By the way, what was the deal with monkey lyrics in the '80s? "Shock the monkey" and "bangin' on the bongos like a chimpanzee" were other references that seem more than a little goofy today.
"There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do" (Toto)
When Robert Gallery wants to create a hole for a running back or keep a defensive lineman away from the quarterback, at times it looks like everyone is at his mercy. As a graduate from a Tri-Rivers Conference school, I feel an extra amount of pride when Gallery pancakes someone.
"Shotgun, get it done, come on…" (Billy Idol)
For the Hawkeyes to run the table—or even win three of four—to finish the regular season, the passing attack is going to need to become more consistent. In defense of Chandler, the Iowa QB has not had his #1 weapon in a lonnnnnnnnng time. Hopefully, when Mo Brown returns (this Saturday perhaps?), the Hawks will become more dangerous…especially on third-and-long situations.
"Too shy, shy…hush, hush..eye to eye" (Kajagoogoo)
Kajagoogoo is the all-time favorite '80s band of Iowa play-by-play man Gary Dolphin. Actually, I made that up. I just wanted an excuse to mention "Kajagoogoo."
"You're playin' with your life, this ain't no truth or dare" (Michael Jackson)
Any wide receiver who goes over the middle when Bob Sanders is on the field is likely to catch a severe case of "alligator arms." Self preservation is a powerful motivator.
"Don't switch the blade on the guy in shades, oh no" (Corey Hart)
It was great to see Hayden Fry back in Iowa City a few weeks ago. Whatever heights Coach Ferentz is able to take the Hawkeye program to, part of the credit must go to the man who brought us stand-up tight ends, pink lockerrooms for the visitors, the tigerhawk logo and a string of bowl games in the '80s.
(Marty Gallagher founded the popular web site IowaSportsOpinions.com. You can e-mail him at Marty@IowaSportsOpinions.com.)