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Overreaction Monday: Hawkeyes Get New Rival, Success on Diamond

Things are still slow. Any news is welcome at this point. Thankfully, we’ve got a slow drip of tidbits coming in.

Hayden Fry
Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry and his 1983 staff will be in Iowa City for Fry Fest this fall.

Have you ever been incredibly thirsty? Maybe after a really long run or an incredibly intense workout or a long walk through the desert. I’ve never done any of those things, but I can imagine any of them would make you very, very thirsty.

I also imagine that thirst is how Iowa fans, myself included, start to feel in the midst of the long, information dry summer. We aren’t there yet, but we’re staring down that barrel and the thirst is setting in just thinking about it. The more I think about it the more thirsty I get. I need some info, any info to trickle in.

Thankfully, we’ve been getting our steady diet of drips dropping in. It’s not much. In fact, it might be just enough to make us even more thirsty for a real drink from the hose. But it’s something and it’s enough for us to know we can survive until the dam breaks sometime later this summer.

For starters, we got an update on what’s on the agenda for the first football weekend of the year. Not the day of the game or anything, but FryFest, which will be honoring the 1983 Iowa coaching staff.

As Scott Dochterman at Land of 10 points out, this may be the greatest college football coaching staff ever assembled. From legends like Bill Snyder and Barry Alvarez to greats like Bob Stoops and our very own Kirk Ferentz. That’s in addition to other future head coaches like Don Patterson and Dan McCarney. And that Fry character was pretty solid as well.

FryFest has been a fun way to kick off the season the last several years - especially so as my oldest son has grown old enough to enjoy aspects of it and not totally destroy my enjoyment of it. The chance to get up close and listen to some of these legends is a pretty cool opportunity. Doing it just before we finally get back to football season? Yes, please.

When we finally do get back into Kinnick for the first time, it’s going to look quite different. By all accounts, it’s going to be a good look.

First, hot damn that thing is going to be tall. In a good way. It’s going to be beautiful and it’s going to make the place louder, if that’s possible. The corners are more enclosed and with the higher top line noise isn’t escaping out of the north end.

My only remaining question is how long until they do it to the south end?

We aren’t the only ones sitting around waiting for football season to get here. The folks at Sporting News are as well, apparently. We are, however, smart enough to not be sitting here in May projecting Iowa in the Heart of f*@&ing Dallas Bowl against UAB.

Projections this time of year are entirely pointless. So much is going to change between now and the start of the season and honestly that’s too soon to begin thinking about bowl projections.

We’ll have ours out some time this summer. :)

While we wait for football season to get here, one thing holding us over is baseball. Thankfully, Iowa is now in the hands of a coach who has ensured we have a damn fine baseball team every. Single. Season.

It’s not just 30+ wins, Heller is averaging just over 34 wins a season. More impressive is what came before Heller. In the 23 years prior to his start, no Iowa team had won more than 32 games (h/t Hawk Central). Now the Hawkeyes are a perennial power in the Big Ten.

After this weekend’s sweep of Penn State, Iowa is now one of only three teams to make the Big Ten Tournament each of the last 5 seasons, along with Indiana and Michigan (h/t Chad Leistikow). Contrast that to what’s happened with the softball program and it’s no wonder our Jordan Hansen shed no tears over the news of Marla Looper’s departure.

Speaking of the Big Ten Tournament, the Hawkeyes are officially the 6th seed. They’ll take on Michigan, who they won 2 of 3 against at Duane Banks Field earlier this year, in the first round. That’s slated conveniently for 9am on Wednesday from Omaha.

Check back here as we’ll have full coverage of this past weekend’s series and the tournament.

Over in the world of basketball, the Hawkeyes were assigned a new most hated rival because, you know, it worked out so well in football.

I guess I may be living in a bit of a bubble here in Iowa City, but I just don’t see Nebraska as a top 2-3 rival in football. But in basketball? I’m not sure they crack the top 8.

Perhaps more interesting was the thought process used to determine our “rival.”

“We were all given a chance to pick one and that’s [Minnesota] the obvious one for us because of the border,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said.

“But then, who does Nebraska go with?” he said. “So you look at bordering states as a whole vs. maybe what’s best for you. Whether it was Iowa or Minnesota, obviously, when you have bordering states, for fans it’s always a big deal.”

So, we got Nebraska because they have nobody else. Great!

In perhaps the most pertinent and impactful news last week, sports betting is no longer outlawed at the federal level in these United States.

Don’t get too excited, you’ll still have to wait for the Iowa legislature to pass something before you can legally make a bet on sports in the Hawkeye state, but the day may soon be coming. And if nothing else, you can stop fretting over how to get the money out of your online account based in some far away land. It’ll soon be New Jersey.

Benny’s Bets will be much more meaningful for some of you law abiding citizens this fall, I’m sure.

In the world of “things you don’t expect to hear,” a 25 year old Dallas man went back to high school and quickly started to get noticed on the recruiting trail.

The TL;DR version: guy claims to have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey to bypass numerous paperwork requirements to enroll at Dallas high school, then transfers to different high school and joins basketball team, proceeds to dominate as if he’s a grown man playing against teenagers...

It’s all fun and games until you get to the part where he started dating a 14 year old as part of his cover.

On a MUCH brighter note, this is a hell of a story:

If that’s you, do you finish the round? I think if I know I’m hanging it up anyway, I walk off the course right there. It doesn’t get any better.

Hope your week does get better. Monday’s only one day, we can get through this. That news will continue to drip in. A commitment here, a transfer there, a random story about some post-college dude going back to high school. We’ll get through this. 103 more days until football season.