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November 17, 2012It was a long day, but one that brought back a lot of memories for me, especially on the drive back home from Ann Arbor.
I guess I should start with the day in Ann Arbor. I always enjoy the trip to the Big House, even though the results today weren't what anyone in black and gold wanted to see. The game was as ugly in person as it was on TV. More on the football team tomorrow in my weekend thoughts or whatever we are going to call it.
The hottest topic before the game from my perspective was talking to a few Michigan beat writers, including the guys from TheWolverine.com. Chris, John, and Michael are terrific people and I always value their opinions on college athletics. They have a pretty keen eye for the Big Ten and have always taken particular interest in Iowa and Kirk Ferentz, especially since his name has sometimes quietly been linked to the Wolverine head coaching job when it opened up the last two times.
They have a ton of respect for Kirk Ferentz and what he has done during his tenure in Iowa City. Their biggest question was, as it was when I talked with Michigan fans on Friday evening, what the heck has happened this season. Rather than get into that long explanation, which I promise to do once the season concludes next week, I think they were kind of stunned by this season for the Hawkeyes. I told them my prediction for the game before kickoff and it was pretty darn close. My pick was 38-10, so I was pretty close for once.:)
The whole Big House experience is pretty cool. This was my second trip to the new press box and from the minute you arrive, it's first class treatment. Everyone very friendly and helpful. You don't get that every week, so this reporter really appreciated it and I know a few Iowa beat writers did as well. Heck, they even came over in the press box and made sure the legendary Bob Brooks has a ride in a golf cart to the post game interview area. Yes, he had his legendary fedora and giant tape recorder with him.
One other cool moment today. At halftime I went to get a drink and turned the corner and former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr was making his way over to the TV booth to say hello to Brian Griese. Heading his way was former Iowa defensive coordinator Norm Parker. Two old lions of the game who had butted heads many times over the years and it was nothing but a warm embrace and welcome from each of them.
After the game it was the long drive back home. The main thought on my mind other than the usual message board meltdowns that I was sure were underway, was boy I wish I could listen to the Iowa basketball game.
It was already basically dark outside or close to it when I left the press box and headed back, so I knew I had a couple of hours I could cover before tip off and then I was going to go old school and see if I could pick up the signal for 1040 WHO on the radio. The good news is, I could. Minor celebration in the car at that point.:) The signal wasn't great, but I'm in western Michigan and I could listen to Iowa Basketball.
I knew Gary Dolphin wasn't calling the game because he was in Ann Arbor today, so I was happy to hear that my friend Jim Albrecht was joining Bobby Hansen on the call. Funny story about Jim, many years ago when a dorky middle school kid was dreaming about working in sports as a reporter or announcer, he contacted Mr. Albrecht at WQAD radio where he did a sports radio show. That dork was me and I was working on a school assignment where we were doing a report on a job we would love to have when we grow up. I'm sure Jim doesn't remember it, but here we are 30 years later and I'm still listening to him call games and I'm doing the job I dreamed about.
Crazy game tonight for the Hawkeyes. I'll have more thoughts on the Iowa Basketball team tomorrow, but one heck of a comeback effort by the team tonight. Yeah, I know it's little old Gardner-Webb, but they are pretty good and I don't care who you are playing, coming back from a 20 point deficit in the second half is a great effort.
Off to Cancun in the morning. Before I get there, I have a layover in Chicago where I plan on putting together my weekend thoughts on football and basketball, so look that sometime Sunday afternoon or evening. Be sure to tune into the Hawkeye Radio Network on Tuesday evening for the pregame show. Gary Dolphin asked me to join him to talk a little recruiting before the game against Western Kentucky.
Next update on the Hawkeye Road Trip should be tomorrow evening when I'll be settling in at the Moon Palace in Cancun.