It's Not Plagiarism If You Link to It is the BHGP news roundup. Send tips to email@example.com.
One In, One Out, One Who Could Be Either. Let's begin with the good news from the land of creepiness: Iowa picked up a verbal commitment from Wisconsin halfback/athlete Melvin Gordon over the weekend. Gordon (3* Rivals, 3* Scout, 79/100 ESPN) chose Iowa from an offer list that went on forever (pretty much the entire Big Ten, plus Tennessee, Louisville, Cincinnati, Iowa State, etc.), had interest from the likes of Alabama and Miami, and was named the best prospect in Wisconsin by Rivals. He currently stands 6'1" and weighs 185 pounds, which is basically Jordan Cotton two years ago. He could play anything from halfback to receiver to defensive back. For now, let's take this moment to gloat over the fact that Iowa has taken a top 3 Wisconsinite from Bret Bielema in each of the last two years.
On the not-so-good news front, it appears that FB Wade Leppert has decided to call it a career. Leppert, a former walk-on from Wauconda, IL, split time with Brett Morse as Shonn Greene's battering ram in 2008. However, he was passed by Morse in 2009, spending his time primarily on the kickoff return unit, and was recently demoted to FB3 when Brad Rogers changed positions. With no scholarship and no real route back into the rotation, Leppert apparently decided he'd had enough. We wish him well.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told Fox Sports radio Friday night that Wegher, who left the team a few days into fall workouts, practiced a few days last week but "his heart wasn’t into it." He has left the team again, although Ferentz remains optimistic that Wegher will be back permanently at some point.
"He’s a very valued team member and we’re certainly hopeful he’ll choose, at some point, to rejoin the team and get back to football," Ferentz said on the radio show. "But that being said, too, I’m totally respectful of his intentions and desires, and I think he just needs a little time right now, a little space to sort a few things out."
I've heard the rumors. You've heard the rumors. We're not going anywhere near them. If the report is true, and Wegher plans on attending classes today with the start of the fall semester, it's probably not a transfer situation. Regardless, it's now been two weeks since BW3 went AWOL; even if he is back before August camp breaks, don't expect him on the field any time soon.
EDIT: Andy Hamilton, reporting on the same radio interview, thinks the QCT misheard Ferentz. Wegher returned for practice at the beginning of August (as in, Media Day, where we've seen the pictures) but hasn't come back since. However, he is apparently planning on going to class, so it's a start.
Next Up: Divining Rods and Entrails. FOTP Scott Dochterman details what we've all heard regarding divisional alignment in the new-look Big Ten (competitive balance trumps geography, OSU and Michigan don't necessarily have to stay together, etc.) and takes his best shot at guessing the new divisions. He puts Iowa in with Nebraska, the two Illinois-based schools, and the Michigan programs. It's completely plausible and little beyond meh-inducing. While Nebraska becomes an immediate must-attend game, Illinois and Northwestern don't make up for Minnesota and Wisconsin, and one of those two previously protected rivals would be left out. And while an annual meeting with Michigan would be enticing, does anyone outside Ann Arbor have any opinion whatsoever on Sparty? Doc has the math right and the logic to back it up, but I hope he's wrong.
WE WEAR SHORT SHORTZ:
- Former Iowa QB Jake Christensen, fresh off one season at Eastern Illinois, is now the starting quarterback of the Dresden Monarchs, a pro team based in Germany. He threw for 376 yards and two touchdowns in his debut last week, a one-point win over the awesomely-named Braunschweig Lions. The idea of a quarterback who bombed at Iowa playing for Dresden has Kurt Vonnegut chuckling in his grave.
- Doc Saturday profiles the Arizona Wildcats, Iowa's week three opponent and a dark horse contender in the barrel of laughs that will be the Pac-10 in 2010. Of course, given that Nick Foles is the "master of the bubble screen," we should be sufficiently prepared to handle their offense.
- Pat Fitzgerald is hosting The Pat Fitzgerald Show. I don't know how this is news; if he didn't host the show, it would be like Lou Gehrig not actually having Lou Gehrig's disease. Now that Fitz has jumped into broadcasting, it's only a matter of time before he has one of his linebackers rip out Pat Boyle's larynx and chalks it up to good, hard-nosed football playin'.
- Indiana plans to fill its football stadium by selling tickets for $5 and "going green". I have no idea how recycling bins and valet bicycle parking are going to sell football tickets in Bloomington, but at least they're trying. While we're on Indiana, Smart Football details the "pistol" formation/offense.
- Iowa State picked up a commitment from former Michigan State guard Chris Allen, who was dismissed from the team by Tom Izzo three weeks ago for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and was well-known as a problem in the locker room. He will have one year of eligibility remaining after the obligatory redshirt season. It's abundantly clear now what Fred Hoiberg plans on doing: Stocking ISU basketball with problems from other programs and turning Ames into the Island of Misfit Toys.