Well, well, well would you look at that — Gary Barta said some things that
might carry actual weight Wednesday afternoon at his Outback Bowl news conference. The Hawkeye athletic director usually isn’t the most forthcoming dude with well, anything, but gave us internet folk a nugget to chew on.
Kind of. “We’re close on a couple of conversations, but not ready to announce,” Barta told the media in regards to a future non-conference opponent Wednesday. As Marc Morehouse points out, the next open date on the Iowa schedule falls in September 2019.
But, in the interest of a more macro discussion before we shift the focus to Florida for the next few days, here’s a quick wish list of out-of-conference teams that seem fun for the Hawks to book a home-and-home/neutral site game with. Keep in mind this hypothetical scenario is kind of using realism.
- Notre Dame. This is probably the longest shot on the list, but, man, wouldn’t this be awesome? While the Irish’s have a much more storied past, these are two historic programs that haven’t played since 1968, but have met a handful of times, with the series in Notre Dame’s favor at 13-8-3. ND would be a bigger attraction at Kinnick than Iowa would in South Bend, but there’s an open date in 2020 for both sides.
- Oklahoma. If not Notre Dame, give me Stoops or give me death, damnit. The coaching battle is an ABC/Fox production crew’s dream. Their historic relationship and tenure in the game would be beaten to the ground, but if it gets the Hawks and Sooners together, let’s ride that repetiton. There are September dates available in 2019 and 2020, everybody wins!
- Georgia/Florida. The Dawgs are probably more realistic and a better matchup for both programs, but if the Hawks are going to get an SEC team, these seem like the best two options. If Bert’s still there, Arkansas is maybe an option too? Tennessee seems like it’d be in that tier as well, no? I just really want the Hawkeyes playing an SEC team.
In case you missed yesterday’s primer for the Midlands Championships, it’s linked here. Brackets came out Wednesday evening and are available for your viewing here.
The Hawkeyes have seeded wrestlers at every weight — two at 165 — with the exception of a continued Cory Clark-less 133. The No. 1 seeds are Thomas Gilman and Brandon Sorensen at 125 and 149. No. 2 include Michael Kemerer and Alex Meyer at 157 and 174. Others:
- No. 3 heavyweight Sam Stoll
- No. 4 184-pounder Sammy Brooks
- No. 7 Topher Carton at 141 and Joey Gunther at 165
- No. 9 Alex Marinelli is wrestling unattached at ‘65
- Cash Wilcke got the 15 seed at 197
Remember what life was like last year at this time? The Hawkeyes were in sunny Southern California enjoying the goofiness that goes along with bowl trips. The Iowa event in Beverly Hills was the pregame bowl ‘competition’ for Kirk Ferentz’s team — the Lawry’s Beef Bowl. It wasn’t actually a competition, much to Drew Ott’s chagrin. For whatever reason, the folks at Lawry’s put an end to the competition way back in the day and no enjoy the publicity of each team eat at their restaurants without shelling out unlimited prime rib. That was surely the largest item on a litany of disappointing happenings for Ott in the last 15 months.
However, we were lucky enough to get a real competition between the Hawkeyes and their bowl opponent in the form of a 6-on-6 bowling match. It was George Kittle, Peter Pekar, Riley McCarron, Amani Jones, Cole Croston, and C.J. Beathard against a more talented Florida contingent.
Wednesday held a trip to Busch Gardens and an encounter between Jaleel Johnson and a giraffe, as well as LeShun Daniels, Jr. and Desmond King riding a giant drop ride next to people who probably had no clue who either player was.