THE YEAR 2012. It wasn't the greatest year for Hawkeye Sports. At least for Iowa's biggest money maker. We said goodbye to Marcus Coker and Mika'il McCall in January. A.J. Derby left too. In 2011 Norm Parker announced his plans to retire and Rick Kaczenski decided to head to Nebraska. We also said goodbye to long-time Ferentz assistant Ken O'Keefe. With Iowa's coaching vacancies there were searches and we covered all of the bases.
Hawkeye basketball got the year started off right with a win at Wisconsin (this was actually Dec. 31st, 2011 but SO WHAT?). They'd follow up that win with another over Minnesota before losing the next two to Michigan State and Ohio State. Fran McCaffery's team would get one more upset win in January. They defeated Michigan at home before losing to Purdue, Nebraska and Indiana.
Iowa wrestling also had a rough month of January. They lost to Oklahoma State just a week after winning Midlands. The Hawkeyes would also lose at Ohio State and Penn State. The month ended with a win over Minnesota.
IN FEBRUARY. Hawkeye football added a new batch of footballers on National Signing Day. Several former Hawkeyes slapped on the tight fitting clothing and showed off their skills at the National Football League Combine. Riley Reiff was predicted to be Iowa's top rated prospect, despite some shortcomings.
Kirk Ferentz added some new faces to his coaching staff. It was reported that a National brand coffee/hot cocoa dispenser model number 633 was hired at Iowa. After the exposed "communication snafu" it was reported that Greg Davis was named Ken O'Keefe's replacement. Kirk's son Brian would take over the offensive line coaching duties and LeVar Woods moved up the ladder to coach linebackers. With the new additions there was also movement within the staff to accommodate Woods and Brian.
Men's hoops would win two in-a-row to start the month. They also wore some pretty sweet throwback uniforms honoring the 1986 basketball team. The Hawkeye's swept Minnesota and knocked off Penn State. They'd end the month (5-3) and suddenly, there was talk of post-season basketball tournaments.
MARCH SITUATIONS. Matt Gatens would shoot Iowa into a #8 seed in the Big Ten tournament. Not bad for a team picked to finish in the double digits. The Hawkeyes won their first game over the Illini and fell in round two to Michigan State. That wouldn't be the last of Hawkeye basketball in the spring of 2012. Fran's team would land in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and have a first round date with Dayton.
Because of some scheduling quirks Iowa hosted Dayton despite being the lower seed. It was short notice but Hawkeye fans turned out to get Carver-Hawkeye rocking and help the Hawkeyes get their first post-season tournament win under McCaffery.
Iowa's run would end in Oregon as the team left their defense at home. It was a surprising run for the Hawks and a sure sign of great things to come. Matt Gatens would end his Iowa career with at least one post-season tournament win.
Iowa's former offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe hung around long enough to help Ferentz win the 2012 edition of Marchifornication and also went on to meet Chad Ochocino. Oh, and Jordan Canzeri tore his ACL moving De'Andre Johnson and Damon Bullock up the running back depth chart.
APRIL WAS ALL ABOUT THE NFL DRAFT AND SPRING FOOTBALL. Kirk Ferentz produced yet another first round draft pick. Riley Reiff joined Adrian Clayborn and Bryan Bulaga to make it three years in-a-row. Marvin McNutt, Jordan Bernstine, Adam Gettis, Shaun Prater and Mike Daniels also had their named called in the NFL Draft.
We also got our first look at Greg Davis' offense at the annual Iowa Football Spring open exhibition practice game thing. It was, well, boring, as Iowa's spring whatever usually is. We didn't learn a whole lot, well other than Iowa needed help and at many positions.
MAY WAS BORING. Unless you're off doing some bear hunting. James Vandenberg's accuracy with a bow and arrow is arguably better than with his arm.
JUNE WAS REALLY BORING. But, our friend, Horace E. Cow kept us entertained with the release of several Big Ten Pro Combat Uniform prototypes. The series began at the end of April but it carried us through the months of late spring and early summer.
Fran McCaffery also stuck it to Bo, again. Iowan Jarrod Uthoff announced his intentions to leave Wisconsin and transfer to Iowa to play in Iowa's fast-paced offense. Uthoff will sit out this year but will figure into Iowa's rotation next season.
JULY. It took to the end of the month to get to Big Ten Media Days. It also marked the beginning of "AIRBHG" season at Iowa. (AIRBHG never sleeps nor is there an off-season, really). Running back De'Andre Johnson had his first scrape with the police and eventually kicked off August by getting kicked off the team.
July also marked the end of pretending to care about summer league basketball. The PTL does provide us a chance to see the new faces in action, even if it is against some relaxed defense.
IN AUGUST, WE WERE SO EXCITED FOR FOOTBALL. We had a couple of countdowns to get us in the mood. First, there was the Top 25 wins of the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa. There was also a historical look back at the 1921-22 teams Iowa would honor by wearing "throwback uniforms" against Iowa State.
We assumed many things, like Iowa would win more than four football games. We were naive and so much younger then.
IN SEPTEMBER, WE WEREN'T AS EXCITED. Hawkeye fans invaded Wrigley Field and then Soldier Field to cheer on our Hawkeyes. We got together in Chicago to celebrate our Hawkeye-ness and love for BHGP. Iowa escaped with a win over the eventual MAC Champion and eventual BCS sacrificial team Northern Illinois. The game was too close for comfort and left reason for concern.
That concern was quickly validated when Iowa's offense managed to score a whopping six points at home versus in-state rival Iowa State. We, and maybe James Vandenberg, wondered if things were really better with former offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe.
Things went from bad to worse when Iowa's special teams botched an onside kick recovery against Central Michigan. We were left with laughing at drunks to make us feel better about ourselves. Things were bad, really bad, but out of September emerged Mark Weisman.
Weisman wasn't enough to overcome terrible special teams play against CMU but he did bring the hammer against Minnesota and suddenly, Iowa was (1-0) in conference play. There was a small reason for hope.
IN OCTOBER, SMALL EXCITEMENT AGAIN. Suck it Michigan State! And 2-0! 2-0! However, the fun wouldn't last long. Iowa made a sacrifice to AIRBHG to beat MSU. New hero Mark Weisman's ankle would slow him for the rest of the season and Iowa fans were about to find out how bad the team really was.
We thought we had things figured out. We got together to sling back beers and beat a pinata. All hopefully ending the curse that looms over Iowa's running back position. AIRBHGAPALOOZA was a grand ol' time but didn't work. Iowa football hasn't won a game following this event.
IN NOVEMBER WE WERE READY FOR BASKETBALL AND WRESTLING. Things are on the up for both men's basketball and Hawkeye wrestling. Iowa didn't win the championship in 2012 but the preview for the new year give us reason to believe 2013 could be our year. Iowa got things started off right at the end of November by whipping in-state rival Iowa State.
With basketball tipping off we first worried about Fran McCaffery and new NCAA rules. Adam Woodbury, Mike Gesell, Anthony Clemmons and Patrick Ingram made their Hawkeye debuts. Iowa would not have a repeat of Campbell 2011 this non-conference schedule but Iowa did drop two in November against Wichita State in the Cancun Classic final and Virginia Tech in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
DECEMBER WAS ALL ABOUT HOOPS. Greg Garmon decided to take his talents elsewhere but that wasn't a huge surprise. There isn't a bowl game to discuss and football news is slow going. Luckily, Fran's squad swept in-state rivals Iowa State and Northern Iowa.
The Hawkeyes were a small home court favorite over the Cyclones and after a fast start ended up behind at halftime. The second half was all about the emergence of Anthony Clemmons, a true freshman that hadn't previously gotten the hype both Mike Gesell and Adam Woodbury had. Iowa won by nine and we moved our feet.
Iowa also took on Northern Iowa in Des Moines at Wells Fargo Arena. In a Seinfeld style bizarre-o world game, Iowa couldn't miss from beyond the three point line and won the mythical state championship.
THIS CERTAINLY DOESN'T COVER EVERYTHING. If it did this post would be 10,000 words and well, that wouldn't leave us much to add in the comment section.
Iowa's other sports had news. Lisa Bluder's team made the women's NCAA tournament. Women's softball finished runner-up in the Big Ten tournament. Also, Iowa soccer had an impressive run and field hockey got to the NCAA's. Men's golf had their best year yet and baseball is, well, Iowa baseball.
In summary, we ushered in some new football coaches. Said goodbye to a great Hawkeye in Matt Gatens who helped us get excited for basketball again. We got excited over our team's uniform changes and endured a horrible curse that keeps reminding us that it's real (and it is real Pharty).
Our BHGP family continues to grow and we welcomed some new contributors. We also said goodbye to a friend. We got together a few times and also raised money for kids. There's been some changes in how we view our little world and more are still coming. Overall, it's overall been a good year.
Any-who, it's been a fun and I (we) look forward to another in 2013. Have a Happy New Year everyone.