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Facilities upgrades and schedule talk -- yep, it's still summer.

Hawkeye Sports

Ma, I'm Watching the Game. Carver-Hawkeye Arena is the latest in line to get a facilities upgrade and the biggest change is probably to the score/video boards in the arena, which are getting an enormous upgrade in size and video quality.  The main displays will be in the center of the arena and Daktronics (one of the top names in the scoreboard business) is setting up Iowa with some very, very large displays:

A new four-sided centerhung video system is the centerpiece of the upcoming installation. The two main centerhung displays will measure approximately 14.5 feet high by 26 feet wide and the other two centerhung displays will measure 9.5 feet high by 16.5 feet wide. These displays will feature a tight 6 millimeter line spacing to provide crisp, clear imagery with wide angle visibility to appeal to every seat in the arena.

That said, as impressive as things look in that design mock-up above, don't expect the real thing to look quite like that.  For one thing, the mock-up is noticeably absent of any advertisements -- or "sponsorship messages" as the university's press release euphemistically describes them:

These displays are capable of variable content zoning which allows them to show one large image or to be divided into multiple zones to highlight any combination of live video, instant replays, statistics, game information, animations and sponsorship messages.

Multiple zones, statistics, sponsorship messages?  Yeah, expect these to look a lot like the scoreboards at Kinnick Stadium -- for better or worse.  Hopefully there will be some useful information and quality highlights available to see in-between the plugs for Mediacom, Delta Dental, Hy-Vee, and Pancheros.

Put it on the calendar. We know who the Iowa men will be playing in non-league games this year -- and now we know who the Iowa ladies will be playing in their non-league games this year, courtesy Hawkeye Sports.

November 6 Sunday Lewis University (exhib) Iowa City, IA 28-3 n/a
November 11 Friday Oral Roberts University Iowa City, IA 14-16 143
November 13 Sunday Hampton University Iowa City, IA 14-17 207
November 16 Wednesday North Dakota Grand Forks, ND 19-14 94
November 19 Saturday UMass Iowa City, IA 12-18 224
November 20 Sunday Montana/South Dakota State Iowa City, IA 20-11/27-7 173/50
November 24 Thursday UCLA Riviera Maya, Mexico 26-9 10
November 25 Friday James Madison Riviera Maya, Mexico 27-6 31
November 30 Wednesday Notre Dame Iowa City, IA 33-2 1
December 4 Sunday UNI Iowa City, IA 24-11 91
December 7 Wednesday Iowa State Iowa City, IA 13-17 136
December 9 Friday Robert Morris Iowa City, IA 20-13 174
December 18 Sunday Drake Des Moines, IA 23-10 110
December 20 Tuesday Kent State Iowa City, IA 6-23 318

That's a pretty challenging non-league slate on the whole.  After an exhibition game against Division II Lewis University, Iowa has a pretty soft start with three of the first four games against teams that had losing records in 2015-16.  November 19-20 brings the annual Hawkeye Challenge and there's one quality team (South Dakota State) there. After that they head to Mexico for Thanksgiving and the Cancun Challenge and UCLA and James Madison could both be very challenging opponents if they're up to their 2015-16 standards. Like the Iowa men, the Iowa women are also playing Notre Dame in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, although their game is in Iowa City rather than South Bend.  Notre Dame is consistently one of the top teams in women's hoops, though, so they should be an immense challenge (as well as a huge opportunity) for Iowa.  After that big game Iowa has their traditional in-state gauntlet (UNI, Iowa State, and Drake) as well as a pair of games against Robert Morris and Kent State.

In all, Iowa could play five teams that went to the NCAA Touranment a year ago (Notre Dame, UCLA, South Dakota State, James Madison, and Robert Morris) and another two that were in the WNIT (UNI and Drake).  Hopefully Iowa is able to answer the challenge well and pick up some solid non-conference wins heading into Big Ten play after Christmas.

Business is about to pick up. Speaking of schedules, the full Iowa wrestling schedule hasn't been released yet, but courtesy of Friend of the Pants Tony Hager, we do know two high-profile home dual meets:

Outside of the excellent Grapple on the Gridiron event (which there are no plans to duplicate this year, so far as I know), last year's home schedule was pretty meh for Iowa wrestling.  This year's slate is already looking much better with the Big Ten's two other heavyweight programs coming to town to face Iowa.

We don't need no stinkin' rules. As usual, the college football rulebook is being tweaked ahead of the new season -- here's what you need to know about the new rules coming to college football.  The biggest changes?  Like their hoops counterparts, college football coaches can now be ejected from a game by officials.  Any bets on who the first coach to get the heave-ho will be next season?  Will Muschamp? Jim Harbaugh? Bret Bielema? Rich Rodriguez?  Other new rules prevent defenders from tripping ball carriers and some attempts to clarify the rules around hitting passers low and runners who give themselves up, although odds are those situations will remain clear as mud and we'll see lots of arguments about which hits are dirty and which hits are acceptable.  There's also a tweak to the rules regarding fake field goals which frankly makes my head hurt.

Complimenti! Gabe Olaseni's professional basketball odyssey is set to continue next year with a gig with a new team in a new country: Italy's Dinamo Sassari:

Olaseni played for Brose Baskets Bamberg and Giessen 46ers in Germany last year; he averaged 11.6 ppg, 7 rpg, and 1.3 apg for Giessen. Dinamo Sassari was extremely successful a few years ago: they won the Italian Cup and Italian Supercup in 2014 and the Italian Serie A (league title) and Italian Cup in 2015.  They struggled last year, going 16-14 and finishing in 7th place in the league.  Best of luck to Gabe in Italy.


* SI ranked the top 100 players in college football, and two Iowa players made the cut: Desmond King at #7 and Josey Jewell at #76.  C.J. Beathard did not make the cut, although Alabama's punter did because #PuntingIsWinning.

* Ryan Boyle is officially a wide receiver on the Iowa roster and Matt Nelson is a very large human being.

* Athlon released their preseason bowl projections and they have Iowa headed to some familiar stomping grounds: the Outback Bowl on January 2 against Georgia.

* Class of 2018 hoops recruit Joe Wieskamp is at #35 on Rivals' updated Top 100 for 2018; it continues to look like he'll be Iowa's highest-ranked recruit in a very long time (Tyler Cook was at #74 on the final Rivals Top 150 for 2016.)

* Who's next for Iowa's 2017 football recruiting class?  It might be one of these three players.

* Former Hawkeye Quinn Early is running a... dating review app?  Yep.

Really interesting read about the complicated dance involving scholarship dollars that coaches and players do in college baseball.