Hawkeyes Going Prime Time In 2007

Last year, the Iowa Hawkeye faithful painted Kinnick Stadium gold before a national audience as they hosted Ohio State on 9/30/07 under the lights in Iowa City. Iowa will play on that big stage again this year, although the setting will be about three and a half hours to the northeast of the river city...

On Tuesday, Iowa learned two more of its kickoff assignments for the 2007 football season.

For the second straight year, Iowa will play a night game on ABC. Last year, the Hawks hosted Ohio State in what was one of the most amazing scenes of Hawkeye spirit ever seen inside the hallowed walls of Kinnick Stadium. Of course, the #1 rated Buckeyes had their way with the Hawkeyes in the second half, but Iowa stayed within shouting distance for enough of the game to make it interesting to the 70,585 in attendance.

This coming year, Iowa will be the visitor as they will take on Wisconsin in Madison for a 7pm start. At first, I thought this would be another nationally televised game for Iowa. But the USC-Washington State game played on that day, September 22nd, will also be kicking off at 7pn central time, and will be seen by the west coast. I don't know if there will be an eastern or southern game competing at the same time on ABC. At best, the Iowa-Wisconsin game will be seen by at least two-thirds of the households in the country.

This will be Iowa's second night game in three weeks, as its September 8th home opener will kickoff at 7pm when the Hawkeyes host Syracuse on the Big Ten Network.

How's that for a first year starter at quarterback, whom I expect to be Jake Christensen? Talk about baptism by fire.

If Christensen is named the starter, and after hearing Kirk Ferentz this spring it would be hard to imagine anyone other than Jake being the starter, he will play in his native Chicago in the season opener, then the home opener will be a night game against Syracuse, then its off to Ames for the annual Iowa-Iowa State game, then home against Indiana, a school that beat Iowa last year, then its off to a night game at Wisconsin, one of the loudest and most rowdy stadiums in all of college football, then home against an Illinois team that recruited him very hard before and after Ron Zook was hired, then off to Penn State, a place that even louder than Wisconsin.

Of course, Jake won't be the only player battling that very stiff early season schedule, they all will. And make no mistake; that's a challenging first six games. If Iowa should come out of the first half at 4-2, they will have done a very good job. If they could somehow be 5-1, that would be lights out.

Hey, its only 90 days until the Big Ten kickoff luncheon in Chicago, we can discuss such things.

Iowa also learned that when it hosts Indiana for Homecoming on September 29th, the contest will kick off at 11am and will be seen on either ESPN, ESPN2 or the Big Ten Network.

Speaking of the Big Ten Network, I will be interviewing BTN President Mark Silverman on The Jon Miller Show on Wednesay, May 2nd at 2pm central. The program airs on 1460 KXNO or can be heard online for free at www.kxno.com.

FAVORITE SONS: At present, there are 28 former Iowa football players on NFL ‘rosters'. That's if you count the recent draftees. There are also the signed free agents from this year's draft class, of which there were five.

Five former Hawkeyes are ‘property' of the San Diego Chargers, including Scott Chander and free agent Miguel Merrick. Three are with the Detroit Lions. For a list for former Hawks in the NFL, CLICK HERE, then scroll down to Iowa. The list does not include the recent free agent signees.

At that link, seven of those players are defensive linemen and seven are offensive linemen.

RADIO CHATTER: I had a somewhat unexpected chat with ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Monday, May 1st on my radio show. That's a long story in itself, so I will spare you the details. But when I had ‘Mort' on the show, I just felt obligated to ask him about the ‘Kirk Ferentz to the NFL' scuttlebutt that he seems to be a part of every year. I asked the question respectfully, or at least I think I did, and Mort said that he just goes with the information he has at the time. He said that he does not know Kirk Ferentz, but has a greater respect for the man due to all of the information he receives year in and year out from the best organizations in pro football telling him that they have an interest in Ferentz. He did say that there was ‘one year' where he felt he had a very solid nugget that pointed him in the direction of saying that Ferentz was very seriously considering a jump to the NFL.

I wanted to jump in and say, ‘That was 10 seconds before the kickoff of the 2006 Outback Bowl', but I didn't do it. Mort was gracious enough to give me a 15 minute interview, so I just let it go at that.

Lastly, there is still time to get signed up to receive our 2007 Iowa Football Preview issue of Hawkeye Nation magazine. Whether you would be a brand new subscriber, or just wanting to upgrade your online subscription to include the magazine, you can order online by CLICKING HERE, or you can call 888-501-5752 after 9am central to order.

If you place a new order, you will get a one-year subscription to Sports Illustrated, plus College Football News 2007 College Football Preview as well. All for less than $100. That will also get you access to our upcoming Scout.com All American junior combines that will be held in Kansas City and Chicago…so if you love recruiting, that will be right up your alley.