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You’ve Got Mail: Iowa Football Opponents, Great Sandwiches and MUCH More!

We’re touching ‘em all this week, folks.

Miami Hurricanes head into bye knowing true test in No. 1 Clemson is on the other side
A matchup with The U would certainly be entertaining.
Michael Laughlin/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

After a bit of a disappointment, you guys delivered this week. There are some good ones in the comments and frankly, there are more I’d like to dive deep on or spend an entire post exploring (hey, it is the offseason so perhaps we’ll get there), but your attention spans are only so long.

So rather than waste any more of those, let’s dive in on this week’s mailbag, shall we?

Three Up, Three Down

Slow news period?

Why no coverage of second Spring practice/game? How’s Goodson looking? Why no story on Niemann being drafted? Why no story on other Hawk free agent signings? Seems like there was news, just not covered here.

- IowaArtist

Yes, slow news period. As I wrote, right now (eg this week, next week and really the week after that) is a slow news period. There was news and it’s totally fair to say some of it wasn’t covered here. As I noted in last week’s Q&A, life is happening.

For me personally, that has meant the same 60-70 hours of work a week I’ve had for 14 months now, but more stuff for the family and that has come at the expense of content here. I’ve still managed to get nine posts up in 12 days, but there have been some major topics I hoped to cover which I’ve not had adequate time to do justice to.

Niemann, for example, has a half written draft sitting in our story editor from when one of my kids started getting sick (they all three came down with some sort of non-COVID virus). It seems silly to publish on that at this point. Free agent signings, I had hoped would be picked up by someone, but the rest of our staff has life happening too. Ditto the second spring game. I wasn’t able to attend and while I’ll gladly give you my thoughts, I don’t know that they’re worth any more than what you could go read from someone like Chad Liestikow, Scott Dochterman, Leah Vann, Tom Kakert, David Eickholt or any of the other countless Iowa reporters who are capital “J” journalists who were actually in attendance.

We will be covering football and breaking down our staff thoughts on position strengths and weaknesses, etc. over the summer, but we’re now nearly two weeks out from the second spring game and it just seems silly to try and cover them now at a time where we, as a staff, finally have availability instead of looking at things through a new lens and a different angle.

But on that note, The Pants is looking to expand the staff. With people getting their lives back, finding time to contribute to the site has become more difficult for a number of people, myself included. So we need help. If anyone is interested in joining the staff in some capacity, please email with a description of what you think you could bring to the site. We also ask that you include a writing sample.

Alright, to more fun topics.


Let’s say the Big Ten and ACC agreed to do a Big Ten-ACC challenge in football this upcoming season. What would your ideal Iowa opponent be, and if you could create matchups for the entire challenge, what would they be?

- Gookin

As was noted in the comment section, I don’t know that if I were choosing a conference to do an annual football challenge with it would be the ACC. So perhaps that’s something we dive into in a later post, but for the purposes of this one, I’ll play along.

So this year is a bit of a unique one for the Hawkeyes. Here’s a look at the schedule as it stands today:

Image via

It’s not exactly a Murderer’s Row, but the first two games certainly look more difficult than in a typical season. So if you’re going to add in an ACC opponent this year and take off Kent State or Colorado State, I’m probably going to be looking for a decent matchup for Iowa rather than the most difficult opponent.

Pitt has historically been a good matchup, but that’s one Iowa can lose and frankly, not one that comes with much cache (which is precisely why Iowa has such a difficult time finding high end OOC opponents to begin with - they fit that bill). I don’t think Iowa wants any part of Clemson, really ever, so if they were looking for the cache effect and a difficult opponent, I would say a showdown with UNC would be solid or the likes of Miami, Florida State or Virginia Tech. Those schools, regardless of on-field performance, tend to come with some modest credit for wins early in the season.

But again, I don’t know that that’s what Iowa should be looking for in week 3 or 4 after playing Indiana and likely the best Iowa State team in nearly 20 years. So to me, the ideal opponent this season is Wake Forest.

I’m going to hold off on a full rundown of a hypothetical Big Ten-ACC Challenge for the sake of brevity here and because I actually like the matchups Gookin put together for a realistic challenge.

Describe your favorite pizza(s) or sandwich(es) in detail.

- WaterlooChazz

This is a much more difficult question than it should be, largely because I like a lot of different things for a lot of different reasons. If I had to choose just one thing to eat the rest of my life, it would be pizza due to its versatility. If I had to choose one style/brand in such a scenario it would probably be a basic pepperoni pizza from somewhere like Pizza Hut.

BUT, that’s not really what was asked. On the pizza front, I’m a fan of just about anything that has loads of meat. A nice flying tomato style pie from Wig and Pen with sausage and pepperoni and Canadian bacon is incredible with the deep-ish crust that has layers and layers of cheese (and frankly, the perfect pizza has a lot to do with the ratio of cheese to sauce in my view) with a thin, crispy outer layer and the meats spread throughout. It’s delicious.

I’m also a huge fan of thin crust. A nice Pagliai’s sausage and pepperoni pizza is highly crushable and pairs nicely with a light beer, or if you want to stay on brand, perhaps a Peroni. If you want to really go thin crust, and I think this is a perfect option in the summer, Basta has a very good Neopolitan style thin crust salsiccia pizza with just the right amount of spice that won’t leave you too full.

On the sandwich front, again it depends on what you’re craving. If it’s subs, there’s this beauty from my wife’s home town. It comes with turkey, ham, roast beef, salami and bologna on a bed of Swiss, American, pepper jack, colby jack and mozzarella, all slathered with way too much mayo and topped with your choice of lettuce, tomato, onion and peppers. We have to stop EVERY time we’re in the area.

More locally, NoDo has a delicious steak sandwich on ciabata that has a house sauce, but what really sets it over the top is the garlic aioli they serve with the fries (which are tremendous in their own right). Dip that sammy in the aioli and my goodness.

I’ll eat just about any sort of burger or chicken sandwich, provided you don’t destroy it by masking every flavor cooked in with garbage like pickles and mustard, and you can never go wrong with a nice pulled pork or barbecue chicken sandwich. There are frankly WAY too many types of sandwich and infinite combinations to ever truly choose just one

And that’s to say nothing of the great “is a hot dog/taco a sandwich?” debate...

Lightning Round

SoCal_Hawk was kind enough to supply an entire lightning round worth of questions posed as one single post so let’s hit them one by one here.

A few questions

Does Connor Mac start next year?

Probably, but he shouldn’t. A lot will depend on when he is medically able to play in my view.

With Joe T and Bohannan at the 1 & 2, respectively, where does CMAC fit in?

The most logical spot, to me, is at the 3 assuming Joe Wieskamp isn’t coming back (he isn’t). He wouldn’t need to shoot much there and provides another ball handler who can slash a bit or post up.

It’s looking less and less likely he’ll fit into the top 5, right?

Connor won’t get any minutes at the 5 next year with Rebraca, Ogundele, Mulvey and Murray. I doubt he gets many at the 4 either.

If he doesn’t, what does that do to his prioritization of baseball vs. basketball? Does he start prioritizing baseball, especially since he wasn’t able to play this season?

I don’t know that it changes much. Despite his prospects out of high school, I think his most logical next step after Iowa is to move into coaching. I have no idea if he has an interest there, but it sure seems like it would make sense.

Are you friends IRL with any of these posters on BHGP? Why or why not?

I have never met a single one of you in real life, which is something that should be changed come this fall if things keep trending the way they are. I would consider the staff here to be real life friends and we have done a few virtual happy hours and the like to actually see each other, but even our staff is largely not local to Iowa City so difficult to catch up too much.

Which is more likely:

  • ISM lands a starting role as a slot WR with Vikings in 2021
  • Petras awarded 3rd team All-B1G (or better) in 2021
  • and what would that say about the player’s development?

I think ISM has a real chance to carve out a starting role in Minnesota. I don’t know that it’s in the slot long term but that’s where the opening is now. He will get a look on special teams and with the age of Adam Thielen, I think he has a future there. I also don’t think it’s terribly likely Petras makes All-Big Ten this season. It’s possible, but given the drop off in the WR room, the obvious strength in the run game and the style of play in Iowa City, I think it’s an uphill battle. I don’t know that it says anything about the development of either, but it certainly is something for fans to discuss.

And let’s hit one more just for fun.

Just how corrupt and greedy is/are the leadership of the major sports leagues?

“…commissioner Rob Manfred has in the past also cited Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia; Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Montreal as potential expansion sites for franchises.”

Barf. Barf. Barf. Barf. Barf. (I think Charlotte may be about the best option of those for an MLB team, but I’d prefer my A’s get a nice stadium deal in Oakland).

- WaterlooChazz

Very. Leadership, not just in major sports leagues, but also in the NCAA and in my experience really most companies, organizations, etc. is VERY greedy. Maybe it’s a bad thing. In some cases it’s a good thing.

Alright, that’s it for this week. Keep up the excellent questions and hopefully we’ll be back with more actual sports talk next week.