I am not going to claim to be an expert on the subject of Iowa Hawkeye wrestling. I used to follow it much closer when I was younger, and recall my father taking me to an Iowa-Iowa State dual meet at the Fieldhouse. The Banach Brothers, Ed and Lou were on the scene at the time and they were larger than life figures to me.
Steve Mocco's recent request to be released from his scholarship at Iowa, and Iowa's accommodation of that request, one has to appreciate the way that Jim Zalesky is going about this business.
Zalesky told the Mocco's before he came to Iowa that if he ever grew unhappy at Iowa, he would release Steve and allow him to look elsewhere. Zalesky is a man of his word.
And Mocco's desire to look elsewhere, though he states that he is still considering remaining at Iowa, is interesting.
Mocco has said that he wants to find the best situation for him and his free style career that he plans on having after his collegiate days are finished. Mocco dreams of being a world and Olympic champion one day. He recently lost the chance to fulfill his Olympic dreams when he was unable to win the heavyweight class at the US Olympic trials held in Indianapolis.
Rumors are that the Mocco camp blames Zalesky and Iowa for at least a part of Steve's losses. Zalesky points out that Mocco was training with several different people, doing things his way, as opposed to the help that was available to him at Iowa while he redshirted to train.
Who knows who is right or wrong here. I am not informed enough to make that kind of judgment, but one thing that seems clear through all of this is that Steve Mocco is only out for #1.
Wrestling is an individual sport with a team concept on the collegiate level. Your teammates cannot help you defeat an individual opponent. But in the world of Iowa and college wrestling, it has always been about winning TEAM national championships.
Mocco's actions belie those team aspects.
Perhaps the Iowa wrestling program might be better off if Steve Mocco moved on and found a new home.
It's great to set goals for yourself, and Mocco clearly wants to be the best in the world. However, those things can be accomplished while also being a team player.
He is the most talented heavyweight in college wrestling, and his skills would be missed in that right.
But no wrestler is above the TEAM in the Iowa wrestling room.
Pre-season Polls and Magazines
Athlon, The Sporting News and Lindy's magazines have hit the newsstands in recent weeks, and the Hawkeyes were ranked in each publication's Top 25.
Here is where Iowa is ranked in each publication:
I would say that those marks are fair, and I would have Iowa in the Top 25, but I am just not sure where. ESPN's Ivan Maisel has had Iowa anywhere from 10th to 15th and now 13th in his out of season, pre and post spring practice rankings. CBSSportline's Dennis Dodd had Iowa at 27th.
The Hawkeyes have been in virtually everyone's top four in the Big Ten to this point that I have seen, and I think that is more than fair given the losses the Hawkeyes sustained to graduation last year, plus Fred Russell leaving a year early.
Iowa's linebackers are rated among the top groups in the nation, and they received the #1 ranking from Lindy's. Lindy's had Iowa's defensive line #2 in the Big Ten behind Wisconsin as well.
There has been one mention from one of the publications that has caught the ire of the Iowa faithful: TSN's naming Chad Greenway as the Big Ten's most overrated player.
I guess that gives Chad something to shoot at this off season.
Phil Steele's magazine should be out soon, and that is by far my favorite College Football preview publication, as they go more in depth on each and every D1 team and Phil always has some very interesting articles and trends. It is more of a gamblers magazine, but the stories are still very interesting and worth reading.