WE STARTED THIS TRADITION LAST YEAR (LINK TO 2012 REVIEW). I'll be upfront and admit I'm a sucker for the year end best of stuff. I read the best songs, best movies and best everything. So, it's only natural that I compile a Best of BHGP. This post is nothing but a collection of links back to this site. But, it's a chance to relive 2013 and also say thanks for reading!
IT WASN'T THE GREATEST START. Football sucked in 2012. There's not way of sugar-coating it. That put us into 2013 without a bowl game to discuss. Still, we started the year off with Ferentz to the Chiefs rumors. After we laughed that off we turned our focus to Hawkeye men's basketball and a new word entered our tiny blog site, bracketology.
Following the football season the rumors of coaches departing sprung up. Erik Campbell was confirmed leaving the Hawkeye coaching staff in January. As was Graduate Assistant David Raih who was replaced with DJ Hernandez. BGHP also discussed rumors of Ferentz departing Iowa for Canada.
Later in January, Hawkeye fans remembered Chris Street and the basketball team honored him before the game with Wisconsin and after with a win over Bucky. That win put Iowa just outside the top half of the league in our power rankings.
We also took a look at the history of conference realignment, celebrated Lisa Bluder's 600th win and discovered a little more about Purdue's DJ Byrd. Finally, we celebrated a big Hawkeye wrestling win over Minnesota.
FEBRUARY GOT REAL CREEPY. The month started with a bang when Hawkeye wrestling got a huge win over Penn State. National Signing Day came for football and we learned more about Iowa's class of 2013. Even with the new recruits in fold, Iowa still had unsettled coaching positions. A new name emerged as a candidate.
Iowa still held interviews for open positions and one person, ISU's Athletic Director Jamie Pollard, was definitely not a candidate after his behavior at a local high school basketball game. The Hawkeyes finally had their coaches and Iowa fans, as well as all wrestling fans, got all Pollard-y after news broke the International Olympic Committee voted to drop wrestling.
MARCH SITUATIONS. Iowa men's and women's basketball as well as wrestling got ready for their conference tournaments. We finally had a legitimate bubble team with Fran McCaffery's squad. There was the start of Marchifornication and we also offered our appreciation for Eric May.
Iowa wouldn't win the Big Ten wrestling tournament and we turned our focus to the NCAA tournament. Fran's team's bubble burst with a mugging at the hands of Michigan State in the Big Ten tournament. The Iowa men would draw Indiana State in the first round of the NIT. The Hawkeye ladies made the big tournament and we learned they would face Miami in the first round.
The month would end with Fran's team winning their way to April basketball. Iowa had an NCAA champion wrestler and HFMR cut his hair for kids. Also, we cleaned out the photoshop file and got ready for spring football that was just around the corner.
APRIL SITUATIONS. Fran's team invaded New York for the NIT finals. McCaffery took in the sights and sounds of the Big City before Iowa's game in the NIT Championship with Baylor. Iowa lost to the Bears and finished second and that moved the conversation quickly to football.
Iowa held an open practice for fans in West Des Moines. That was new for Ferentz and company. Our discussion started with the linebackers and some curious tweets from Chris Doyle. We had no idea who would win the Hawkeye quarterback race but took our best guess. We observed practice, discussed further Kirk Ferentz's buyout, the offensive personnel, and the fancy-new conference divisions to begin in 2014.
April also brought us news of Kinnick upgrades but not offensive coordinator changes. We got to see the Hawks again and in a true spring game fashion in Kinnick. We also had a battle rap and learned of possible new Iowa basketball uniforms. Finally, there was the NFL Draft in which Micah Hyde was the lone Hawkeye drafted.
THE SUMMER MONTHS. Without Hawkeye sports, the summer can get a little interesting around these parts. We debated horses in football and wondered if Jarrod Uthoff is a magician. We debated football scheduling, found Damon Bullock's Vine account, learned Greg Davis found more snaps, found Ricky Stanzi's mixtape and even employed a bored high school student to handle the blog for a spell.
Then, Iowa fired baseball coach Jack Dahm. We also said goodbye to legend Jim Zabel. We learned of a new rivalry trophy that goes to the winner of the seemingly annual Iowa-NIU football game. Ferentz hit the recruiting trail and we speculated on future Hawkeye Network programming.
Things crept closer to Fall and Iowa football was near. Ferentz got his team ready for practice even though he was busy celebrating another title. The late months of Summer also meant USA basketball for Aaron White and a trip to Europe for Fran's squad. We also learned that even after a (4-8) season, national media best not fuck with Ferentz.
The Hawkeyes hired Rick Heller to lead the baseball team. Mike Gesell broke his hand. We played Kirk Ferentz press conference BINGO and learned what BHGP means to OhioHawk. James Morris had appendicitis and Iowa won the National Championship in the Most Realistic EA Sports NCAA 2014 Simulation on earth.
FINALLY, FALL SPORTS BEGIN. Before football we had to suffer through countless previews telling us how bad of a year we were to have. Iowa lost a prized recruit and Greg Davis chewed on things. Still, we had our own reasons for optimism despite the pessimism among us. The football season started with a dud when Iowa lost to Northern Illinois. Hawkeye fans got arrested and Ferentz ate a bad burrito.
With Iowa predicted to finish near, or at the bottom of the Big Ten Legends Division, it wasn't the best of times. We took a closer look at Iowa's miscues against NIU and explained Rudock's late game interception. Iowa faced Missouri State and needed a fourth quarter Tanner Miller interception to seal the win. Things were meh but then Wrestling was reinstated in the Olympics.
Iowa State and their horrible football team was next. Despite a loss to Northern Iowa in their opener, some figured the Cyclones to win the annual Cy-Hawk rivalry game because it was in Ames. Hawkeye fans reveled in Hate Week and our pal OhioHawk gave us an update. Suddenly, things were looking up all around.
BJ Lowery made the play of the year and Iowa took home the Cy-Hawk trophy. The Cyclones made it close in the end but we were starting to see something from this Iowa team. We celebrated in cartoon form.
By Western Michigan, Mark Weisman had carried the ball 9,000 times and we declared him the most important Hawkeye. We held AIRBHGAPALOOZA 2 and exorcised several demons before a 59-3 demolition of Western Michigan. BJ Lowery continued excellent play and that led to a new merchandise opportunity for the University of Iowa.
Next, the Hawkeyes had another Hate Week with the rodents up North. The Gophers were a confident bunch having a perfect record heading into the Big Ten opener and battle for Floyd. Little did they know there was a stomping coming at the hands of the Hawkeyes. Iowa's win over the Gophers earned them a vote in the Coaches Top 25 despite losing one of their playmakers.
Like Gopher fans, Hawk fans suddenly were a tad overconfident in their Hawkeyes. Or maybe we just didn't believe Michigan State was very good. Iowa still had warts and we discussed those. It was Iowa's biggest game of the season to that date. The Spartans found a quarterback in the bye week before facing Iowa and that proved to be too much for the Hawkeyes. The suddenly decent MSU offense and that killer defense.
But hey! Wrestling and basketball was just around the corner. Duck hunting too. Iowa hoops unveiled real new uniforms. Hipsters didn't care for the uniforms or the basketball team in general anymore. Kirk Ferentz swore off punt returns and we wondered if his team could get to bowl eligibility.
With the bye week for football we talked basketball minutes and Lady Gaga. A trip to Columbus to face Ohio State was next for the football team and well, nobody wanted that. The Buckeyes were double-digit favorites and we hoped it wouldn't get ugly. Buckeye fans predicted a blowout. We didn't argue. Our little team that could jumped out to a lead and Ohio State tried cheating. The Buckeye overall talent eventually led them to victory but holy shit, maybe we have something here.
Fran McCaffery went on a mission to find inner-peace while we made fun of Pat Fitzgerald. Iowa State broke out their posters for the basketball season and PV helped design a new poster for the 2014 football year. We talked the upcoming game with Northwestern and the history of Northwestern football. It took overtime but Iowa would beat the Cats in Kinnick and help send their season off the rails.
Now we're talking bowl situations. Iowa had five wins on the season and a future date with horrible Purdue. Before Purdue there was Halloween and Wisconsin. We worried about the Wisconsin rushing attack but it was Bucky's defense that prevailed. That game with Purdue couldn't come soon enough.
Basketball got started with a warm-up cupcake for the other cupcakes to come. A former Hawkeye hoopster had his movie debut. We talked football uniforms and the 2014 football season (I got your koolaid right here). Iowa then beat the hell out of Purdue when Jordan Canzeri emerged and they were bowl eligible.
As November rolled on, we met the Hawkeye men's basketball players. We talked new basketball rules and anticipated football games with Michigan and Nebraska as well as the basketball tournament in the Bahamas. Iowa wrestling got off to a good start as well as Lisa Bluder's women's basketball team.
The rest is recent history. Iowa made a terrific comeback on senior day against the Wolverines. The next week they fisted the Huskers on their home turf. Iowa football finished (8-4) and in second in the Big Ten Legends Division. Several Hawkeyes earned post-season honors. Iowa was selected to play LSU in the Outback Bowl.
Iowa basketball won two of three in the Bahamas, losing the title game to Villanova. Fran's team crushed the remaining cupcakes on the schedule and won their ACC-B1G Challenge game with Notre Dame. Besides Villanova, the only other loss was to Iowa State and the Hawks are (11-2) heading into Big Ten play.
It wasn't all rainbows and unicorns. There's wins and losses. Good times and bad. Iowa basketball still has a lot to prove this season. As does Iowa wrestling. Iowa football begins 2014 as an underdog, again. But really, what else is new?
THAT'S CERTAINLY NOT EVERYTHING. There's thousands of terrific comments, photoshops and fan posts. There's also Hamsterdam, which I purposely left out in hopes that others would fill us in on their best of Hamsterdam in the comments. We kick off 2014 with the Outback Bowl and hot Big Ten basketball action. 2014 looks to be a fantastic year for Hawkeye Sports. And again, quite possibly for Black Heart Gold Pants as well.
CELEBRATE. We made it another year and here's to another!
Primal Scream - Rocks / Funky Jam - TOTP 1994 (via Michael Tomlinson)