Mike Hlas – The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa –
Iowa State 24, Rutgers 15
Iowa 23, Oklahoma 15
What a Dec. 30 it will be for football fans in Iowa if Sports Illustrated’s predictions about the Pinstripe and Insight bowls are correct. The above picks come from the Dec. 19 SI. Predictions for every bowl but the BCS championship game are listed, and Iowa is the only significant upset selection. A few slight underdogs like Iowa State got the tab, but Iowa is a 13.5-point dog right now.
“The Sooners were a shell of themselves at the end of the season,” the magazine said. “The upshot: Iowa will be the best team on the field.”
SI notes Iowa State will be facing its first unranked foe since Nov. 5.
The magazine missed on its picks for two of Saturday’s three bowl games.
At SI.com, college football writer Stewart Mandell sees the Insight Bowl quite a bit differently, forecasting a 37-20 Sooners triumph.
Mandel wrote: ” … a healthier Oklahoma team is far more talented than the Hawkeyes, and quarterback Landry Jones, who struggled late in the season, is poised for a big — and possibly final — game.”
Mandel tabbed Iowa State to beat Rutgers, 23-16, saying the Cyclones will “put the clamps on Rutgers’ 100th-ranked offense.”
I clipped and saved a few other pieces from the last week for you to discuss.
Travis Haney of the Oklahoman and NewsOK.com had an interesting “finals-week report card” on Oklahoma’s season-to-date.
Haney gave most of the team’s units good grades. The defensive line, for instance, got an ‘A.’ But Haney hung a C-minus on the coaching and gave an overall grade of D to the team. He wrote:
This team could motivate itself for big games, but it struggled for internal fortitude from week to week. Good teams do that and make BCS games. Great teams do that and play for national championships.
The Sooners have done both in recent years, because they’ve played with passion and drive.
This team lacked “it.”
Guerin Emig of the Tulsa World has a rather pointed opening to a recent blog post of his about the Sooners.
I know there is trouble in Norman. You don’t fade like the Sooners did this year unless there are problems in need of both addressing and repairing.
Later in the piece, he added this:
There are fans/boosters/ticket-buyers who claim money and time have turned Stoops soft. That he doesn’t stew over less-than-desirable results, and doesn’t work as maniacally to correct them. They wonder why it took a player, lineman Gabe Ikard, to call this season “unacceptable.”
From a few states away where some Iowa fans have made similar, though incorrect, assumptions about Kirk Ferentz as far as not stewing over less-than-desirable results, I find this interesting. And this is a program that has won a bunch of Big 12 titles. As Emig notes:
At the same time, I don’t think believe Oklahoma has become Duke. It isn’t headed for the bottom of the Big 12 Conference. OU hasn’t become one of the Florida schools. It isn’t a program whose best days are behind it.
Bob Stoops doesn’t need to turn over half his roster. He doesn’t need to cleanse his staff.
It may be a tired refrain here to some of you, but this one-sided deal bowl games have with universities … incredible. City Pages of the Twin Cities took a look at howMinnesota was voluntarily gouged by the Insight Bowl two years ago, then took a broader look at how the bowls make out like bandits.
From the article:
When the Gophers were requiring a Big 10 bailout for those large red numbers in Tempe, Insight CEO John Junker was paying himself nearly $600,000 a year, with added perks like country club memberships as far away as Oregon and Oklahoma. Coaches and athletic directors make a similar killing.
Three years ago, the University of Florida beat Oklahoma for the national title. The Gators may have generated untold riches, but the school itself managed just a $50,000 profit—enough to pay for a team banquet and perhaps another part-timer for the groundskeeping crew.
Florida’s coaches and athletic officials were bound by no similar restraints. They took home $960,000 in bonuses.
That’s the beauty of the system: No matter how money is torched, the insiders always get paid.
And everyone is OK with this?