SI Blowing Iowa's Cover?

Most of the national media has Iowa's 2006 football team somewhere in the middle of the Top 25. But Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandell tried to blow the lid off of flying under the radar last week. Comments on that, as well as Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm and a central Iowa appearance by new Iowa AD Gary Barta in this news and notes column from publisher Jon Miller...

For the most part, my spring guess that the national media would be much cooler on this year's edition of the Iowa football team has been correct.

That's somewhat understandable, as I wrote this past spring that Iowa has befuddled the national talking heads for four years in a row; three years of lower expectations then last year's craziness of national title talk.

For the most part, Iowa has been in every Top 25 poll, with an aggregate rating around 15th or 16th. That seems about right.

But then Stuart Mandell had to go and say in his blog that Iowa is a team that people are forgetting about and a team that might contend for a BCS bid.

Stu, we were hoping that such predictions would be our little secret. Rob Howe and I both have Iowa going 11-1 this year with a BCS appearance. Our peer on Rivals sees the same thing that Rob and I do. I think you will see most of the newspaper writers in the state picking Iowa to go 10-2.

Former Des Moines Register scribe Ron Maly picked Iowa to go a perfect 12-0 on his blog.

Will the Iowa scribes be right this year?

Last year, most that cover the Hawks had them at 9-2 at best. Some had them 8-3. Rob and I had them 9-2, but I felt 8-3 would be more realistic with a new defensive line. But 9-2 looked better. We didn't fall in line with the talking heads then, and I don't think Iowa's writers are going to go the safe route this year, either.

10-2 might be the more safe pick this year. But forget safe; sometimes you have to reach for the sky. I hope to be battling the traffic of Los Angeles come January 1st.

I recently spoke with Iowa Baseball Coach Jack Dahm. He has a lot of passion for the game, and for the Hawkeyes. He spent several years at Creighton, as most of you know, and he achieved some success there. Back to back NCAA regionals, some of the finest baseball facilities in the nation, and more. He also worked for Jim Hendry, the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs.

Dahm has been at Iowa for three years now, or really, just two recruiting cycles. His first season at Iowa saw the team go 12-20 in Big Ten play, then 19-13 in year two and a game out of first place. This past season, the team slipped back to 12-20 after losing so many position players. Next year's team will lose a lot of pitchers, but have better position players. Iowa is off to a great start on the recruiting front this year, and Dahm has the knack for that side of the game.

Look for more baseball coverage on starting late winter, 2007. We think the Hawkeyes are going to continue to get better under Dahm's guidance, and incoming AD Gary Barta will likely have a keen interest in baseball, among other sports. With what Bob Bowlsby has accomplished on the football side of things in all facets, plus the already in the works improvements and upgrades to Iowa's men's and women's basketball programs and facilities, baseball will be a front and center opportunity for Barta.

Speaking of Gary Barta; if you live in or near central Iowa, mark August 15th down on your calendars. The Polk County I-Club will host a summer Hawkeye get together at 7 Flags Event Center in Clive. The social hour will be from 5-6pm with the program beginning at 6pm.

Barta will be on hand and introduced to Central Iowa. He will also be at the state fair that day I believe, in addition to being on the air with me on my daily sports talk show on 1460 KXNO.

I will also speak at the Polk County event, previewing the upcoming season. There may be one more speaker at the event that is a part of the Hawkeye broadcasting team, and once that is confirmed, I will let you know.

I hope to see many of you at the State Fair. I will be at WHO's Crystal Studios in addition to being at the University of Iowa's location. It will be my first ever trip to the state fair, so wish me luck!

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