RIP, Chris Street. Seventeen years ago yesterday, Iowa junior forward Chris Street, just two weeks shy of his 21st birthday, was struck by a snow plow and killed as he left a team banquet. He was buried days later in his jersey, and his number 40 was retired later that season.
The common theme for posts like this is dumbstruck melancholy; this is where we're supposed to say how it feels like it happened just yesterday, but to be perfectly honest, it feels like 17 years. Where January 19 used to be a solemn day for many Iowa fans, it passed with hardly a word this year. It's no knock on Street, who was a great player and a loyal Hawkeye; it's just the inevitable side effect of the passage of time.
But I still think about Chris from time to time, especially when BTN replays the January 28 game with Michigan State (available here), which Iowa won in overtime on the back of Acie Earl, playing with the #40 shaved into the back of his head. It's hard to watch that game, or the later home date against the Fab Five of Michigan, and not wonder what might have been. We still miss you, Chris.
Speaking of Michigan State, Iowa goes to the Carlson Breslin Center tonight for its annual colonoscopy courtesy of Tom Izzo and the Spartans (5:30, BTN, and Gus Johnson is on the call baby WOOOOOO). Breslin has been a house of horrors for Iowa; the Hawkeyes haven't won in East Lansing since 1993, have been within single digits once since 1998 (last year, when Iowa lost by 8), and lost the last 12 by an average margin of nearly 18 points. That is to say nothing of the fact that their student section spent most of the late 90's coming up with the best insults I've ever heard thrown at an Iowa basketball team. The Only Colors strings together as many backhanded compliments as possible to describe Iowa's last two wins, but appears to be about as enthused about this game as we are. This, my friends, is not going to be pretty.
Surprisingly, "Stanzi vs. Indiana" Didn't Make It. Doc Saturday counts down the top individual performances from last season, rightfully placing Ndomukong Suh's one-man curbstomping of Texas in the top spot and -- at the behest of Oops Pow, among others -- squeezing in Adrian Clayborn's destruction of the Georgia Tech triple option at number four (well, techincally five, as there is a tie for second):
When a defensive end clearly stands out to the casual fan, he's having a big game, and Orange Bowl viewers couldn't miss Iowa's Adrian Clayborn, the big man shedding blocks, holding his ground and creating havoc for Georgia Tech's lethal triple option scheme at every turn.
I want to complain that he's rated too low, but I honestly can't place AC's Orange Bowl performance above the four listed ahead of him. The real travesty here may well be the complete omission of The Chosen One; despite breaking Vince Young's BCS-game yardage record in his near-flawless crucifixion of Cincinnati, Tebow doesn't make the top five (or six).
In other arbitrary post-season list news, Rittenberg places two Iowa squads -- 2002 and 2009 -- in his list of the ten best Big Ten teams of the last ten years (yes, that is a lot of tens in one sentence). There is certainly a quibble here, in that an Iowa team that went undefeated in the conference is placed behind 2005 Penn State, which lost to Michigan, barely won the Orange Bowl against 8-5 Florida State, and almost surely would have lost to Iowa had they not paid Jim Delaney thousands of dollars to take the Hawks off the schedule.
- Orange Bowl ratings sucked -- they were actually a tick lower than the non-BCS, non-prime time Citrus Bowl -- but they sucked 26% less than last year's game.
- Iowa State guard -- and future James Bond villain -- Lucca Staiger abruptly quit the team and returned to the motherland to play professionally. This leaves Iowa State with seven scholarship players on the eve of tonight's game with Texas Tech. Clone Chronicles found a German scouting report and plugged it into the Google translator; Germanglish-based hilarity ensues. All your guards are belong to us.
- Lickliter is experimenting with new substitution patterns designed to keep his players fresher late in games and piss them off to the point where they have no other option but to transfer en masse at the end of the season.
- Some crazy woman in Alabama meets crazy former Iowa quarterback Drew Tate.
- YOU ARE NOT THE FATHER!