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It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It Needs a Drink

He Likes It!  Hey Mikey, He Likes It!  Marvin McNutt might be the story of the offseason:  A bundle of raw athleticism stuck backing up Slick Rick Stanzi, he agreed to take a shot at playing receiver, apparently learned he can catch everything in sight, and usurped DJK for the first-team spot by the end of spring practice.  Of course, the feel-good nature of the story has brought out the fluff personal interest pieces, two of which hit the wires yesterday.  Mark Pawlak of the Marshalltown Times Republican chronicles the depth at receiver (and misspells Colin Sandeman's name in the process), but the money quotes come from Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg:

Though McNutt would love to match T.O.'s on-field production for Iowa, he doesn't think a position switch to wide receiver gives him the license to act like a diva. Hawkeyes starting quarterback Ricky Stanzi will appreciate that fact.

"We always mess with [Stanzi], but I try not to because I know as a quarterback, that can be really frustrating," McNutt said. "I mess with him, like, 'You're not getting me the ball enough,' but it's all just play."

McNutt might have no reason to joke with Stanzi about getting the ball thrown his way. He should get plenty of touches this season....

McNutt had mixed feelings when told he would switch from quarterback to receiver. He led his high school team to the Missouri state championship game and excited Iowa fans with the athleticism he brought to the quarterback spot.

But Stanzi cemented himself as the starter, and the coaches didn't want the 6-foot-4, 215-pound McNutt to go to waste.

"It was more of me convincing myself," McNutt said. "As I really started thinking about it, it's more of a blessing. Everything happens for a reason. I was taught that by my parents. Just don't dwell on things if you feel it's the right move."

Despite the ongoing belief among fans that McNutt's first-team status is as much a motivational tool for Johnson-Koulianous as it is a reflection of McNutt's development, there's no doubt after watching last week's practice that Marvin will see the field often this season.

IT'S A FIRE...Sale.  As expected, the Athletic Department slashed the price of basketball tickets.

Iowa slashed public season tickets to $278, a $58 reduction from last year. Faculty/staff tickets were reduced by $56 to $238 for a season ticket. Student ticket prices remain unchanged.

Single-game ticket prices also were cut. All weekend Big Ten games were reduced by $2 to $25. All midweek Big Ten games, the ACC-Big Ten Challenge match-up against Virginia Tech and the Drake game are $20 a ticket. The other non-conference games cost $12 a ticket.

In addition, students will be admitted without charge to at least two nationally televised games, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest with Virginia Tech (who we play every year in that thing) and a to-be-announced Big Ten opponent.  It's good to see that the program realized its previous position - that tickets to non-conference games should be nearly as expensive as those Big Ten midweek dates - was untenable in the current economy, especially with a team projected in the conference's bottom tier.  It's not so good to see that less than 1000 student season tickets have been sold.

We Have No Choice but to Drink Lighter Fluid.  Minnesota's principled, if prudish, zero tolerance policy on alcohol anywhere in Historic Legendary TCF Bank Stadium is costing them some money.  As in, millions of dollars in luxury suite revenues:

Excitement is building over the return of college football to the University of Minnesota campus. But U officials are saying the new TCF Bank Stadium could bring in about $2 million less its first year than initially forecast.

They blame a slumping economy that stalled sales of the priciest luxury seats and a Legislature-induced decision to ban alcohol, which drove more people away and prompted price reductions for those who remained.

The university's Board of Regents approved the sale of liquor in premium seating areas in December, and as the new year began, the sales staff was confident of moving most or all of the premium packages, said David Crum, the U's associate athletics director for development.

But then the worsening economy slowed things down, and in May, state lawmakers passed a provision that forbade selling alcohol in any part of the stadium unless it was sold throughout.

Complaining that their hands were tied, regents banned liquor in June.

"Everything came to a screeching halt" once legislators became involved in the alcohol issue, Crum said. The Legislature's action "put a real, real challenge toward us," said athletics director Joel Maturi.

After the regents' vote to ban booze, 15 people canceled premium seat contracts, Crum said. Most said the alcohol ban was the reason, Maturi said.

I'm not going to say we predicted this.  I'm just going to step over to this pay phone and make a call to Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.  The auditors and their trademark cackles will be here momentarily.

(T/F/J: Dr. Saturday)