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You’ve Got Mail: Joe Wieskamp, Kinnick Details and Big Ten Team Beers!

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Friday mailbags go all over the place.

Wisconsin v Iowa
Joe Wieskamp would not be amused by his company in today’s mailbag.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

It’s Friday and as I said earlier this week, I’m ready for a vacation from my vacation. Apparently I’m not the only one. As I probably should have expected, virtually every question this week is related to the news on Iowa beginning to sell alcohol throughout Kinnick, Carver and the baseball and softball stadiums for next year.

However, there was one that came in unrelated to that topic so we’ll take the Friday workday approach and start there before we get to the topic of drinking.

Hoopyball

Question for next time.

Has Joe Wieskamp lived up to his high school recruiting ranking? I think an argument could be made either way. It is still very quiet on Wieskamp draft status. With the deadline looming, what is his best move? Would returning to Iowa move him to legend status beyond being a great player at Iowa? Would returning and being the team leader improve his draft status?

Posted by blockerhawk

I think you could probably make the argument either way based on your views about how successful the team has been the last few years, but to me he has lived up to the hype. Wieksamp came to Iowa as a 4-star in the class of 2018 and ranked just inside the top-50 nationally according to Rivals.

At one point, I saw the official definition for each star ranking for Rivals, but that has apparently been hidden in some dark corner of the internet I was unable to find again. I did, however, find this from NCAASports.org:

Four-star prospects are also very talented players and in the top fraction of a percent of high school players nationwide. There will be a few hundred in this category, and these players are expected to have a significant impact on whichever college team he or she heads to. Professional play after college is often expected as well.

If that’s your definition, it’s a definite yes on living up to that expectation for Wieskamp. While at Iowa, he made the All-Big Ten Freshman Team his first year, Third Team his sophomore season and Second Team his junior year. He’s now headed for the exit to play professionally (you can debate the merits of that, but he will play professionally somewhere). So it’s hard to say he was a disappointment.

Having said that, I think we would all have liked to see him as the primary guy who can take over a game at some point. Iowa doesn’t get a lot of top-50ish guys and when we do we set pretty high expectations for them. Playing alongside the NPOY probably hampered his ability to meet those last year, but he would be a virtual lock for First Team All-Big Ten honors this year if he returned without Luka Garza.

The Rest

Gary Barta has a reputation for many things, but his reputation for bowing down to the almighty dollar certainly precedes him. In his defense, that sort of is the job of an athletic director.

Nonetheless, a few of you have questions on that front which I’ll try to tie together.

I’m old enough to remember beer sales at Kinnick

And they were Tall Boys! Also, wine botas were allowed. I wasn’t a wine drinker, so mine had something a wee bit more stout. There were a lot of alcohol-fueled incidents in the stands in those days. I have a vivid memory of a State Trooper executing a perfect leg sweep on a drunk fan they were trying to corral in the North endzone during the ’82 season. We stood and applauded.

So if Barta executes this change in policy, what will be the name of the corporate tie-in to said beer sales? Cold brew sponsored by…??

Posted by Ploen2Pasadena

Given Barta’s love of money,

he will surely go with a big brewer for a licensing contract. But what beers (a/k/a craft beers or breweries) would you like to see? Would you ever envision a beer garden/SRO area, maybe in the South end zone to bookend the stadium?

Posted by cericjo

As cericjo points out, the licensing contract is going to end up with 7G and Budweiser and there is a 100% chance we see Bud become the “official beer” of the Hawkeyes. The question then gets into the rest of the details.

My guess is, to Ploen2Pasadena’s point, we end up with an “official” seltzer of the Hawkeyes (probably Bud’s), an “official” wine and on and on. Because if you can make some money on that crap why wouldn’t you?

From there, I would bet we get a handful of local craft offerings. Reunion and Big Grove, for example, seem like safe Iowa City bets to have some sort of presence while Toppling Goliath would make lots of sense as another Iowa staple.

The idea of some sort of beer garden makes way too much sense in one of the corners or just outside the stadium to happen. It certainly won’t this year given the comments made by Matt Henderson on the infrastructure needs, but it’s easy to see the U drag their feet on any sort of investment that could eventually lead to more revenue.

If they did, though, wouldn’t it just be great to see them set up shop in some section of the parking lot with the ability for tailgaters to purchase food and drink directly from the U instead of 3rd party vendors and then continue that from a contained area during the game?

The geography of the stadium is a bit limiting and the location of the student section essentially right in the middle of the most open space on the exterior is a problem, but adding things like “family” pavilions and/or concourse seating with confined areas for drinking with TVs, etc. seem like a great way to “enhance the fan experience” as our friend Gary said this was all about.

Beers of the Big Ten

If each B1G team were to sell only one type of beer in the stadium what would it be and why would Nebraskas be White Claw?

Posted by BandHawk

Here’s one that probably deserved more time and attention so I apologize in advance. Would love to hear some of your takes on this, but here goes:

Illinois

For Illinois, I’m going with Bud Ice. All the resources in the world, but at the end of the day it’s just plain bad. Always will be.

Indiana

Let’s go Rolling Rock. It looks nice in the bottle. Some people have told me it’s going to be good. Every time I’ve tried it, it was not good. It was bad. I still drank it, but I did not enjoy the experience. Yep, seems to fit.

Iowa

I’m going more nuanced here than I think most people taking this question might. The easy answer is Busch Light because by God we drink a lot of it in this state. But we’re not here for easy answers and at the end of the day, you’re talking about 90%+ water and 4% alcohol. Let Iowa State have it.

No, Iowa packs a lot more punch for its weight. Which is why I’m going with Toppling Goliath’s Pseudo Sue. Now, before I catch hell from both ends of the beer snob spectrum, hear me out.

This isn’t the best beer you’re ever going to drink. But it’s damn good. Better than expected. And different than what you’re expecting when you’re thinking about those snobby craft beers and “basic” IPAs all the hippies are drinking. You might want to hate it, but when you give it a try, it’s actually pretty damn good. Next think you know, you’re three deep and you’ve consumed the equivalent of an extra of your buddy’s Busch Lights.

Not the best, but better than expected and just when you’re ready to bad mouth it, it can knock you on your ass.

Maryland

I’m not sold on this one and I really wanted to go a craft beer route, but I’m going to say Coors Light. Hear me out.

Is it good? Sometimes. Maybe. But it does have the resources of the big boys and at the end of the day, it’s all about that flashy label with the mountains appearing, which is to say the goddamned flag helmets.

Michigan

Michigan is a wild one. So much potential but so little delivery. Gotta be Michelob Ultra, the #2 seller in the US, but at the end of the day what are you really drinking?

Michigan State

This one lost it for me. I’ll reach and say Michelob Ultra Pure Gold. Not as well known as it’s big brother, but perhaps better on occasion. And at the end of the day, it’s just selling something that isn’t there.

Minnesota

Minnesota and their flashy coach with his catch phrases and car salesman tactics is pretty clearly the White Claw of the Big Ten.

Nebraska

I make make some enemies on this one, but I’m going to say Nebraska is Pabst Blue Ribbon. There was a time when it was great. The name still says it is. And yeah, they have been able to sell themselves to some young hipsters as actually being great. But we all know the truth.

Northwestern

Northwestern is the quintessential high-brower of the Big Ten. I nearly tossed in a Starbucks order here because you know these nerds are too good to be drinking beer and they have lots of late night studying to do. But alas, I’m opting for Stella Artois. Sure it’s snoody and snobby and you’re friends are going to give you a hard time about it, but it’s actually pretty good.

Penn State

This one isn’t even close to a beer, but I’m going Four Loco. At the end of the day, it’s target market is teenagers, it will knock you on your backside and that’s all I have to say about that.

Purdue

I’m going a bit off the reservation here and saying 3 Floyds Space Station Middle Finger. Have I ever had it? No. Is it any good? Maybe? But it’s from Indiana and it has space and that’s really all that matters. Football is just sort of there.

Ohio State

Ohio State is the behemoth in the room. It dominates in part because of its massive scale and resources and in part because it’s just good. Now, I don’t know how good Bud Light really is, but it sure as hell is at the top.

Rutgers

Rutgers is my pick for everyone’s favorite college experience: Natural Light. Is it good? No. Could it be good? Probably not. But it is beer. Right?

Wisconsin

I’m going to stick with the trend of largely name brand beers here and say Wisconsin is Budweiser. Everyone goes the safe route and gets themselves a Bud Light at the bar. It’s a safe choice and there’s a reason it’s the leader. But Budweiser is some of the same characteristics without the leading sales and it packs more punch with 20% higher ABV. Get off the tracks when the train’s coming through.

As regards University Heights...

…do they STILL pride themselves on being a speed trap?

Posted by Thor7

I know KinnickNeighbor said his piece on this in the comment section, but I will respectfully disagree. Do they ticket at an absurd rate? No. But show me another jurisdiction anywhere that will actually pull you over for going less than 5 mph over the speed limit.

I get it, it’s your stretch of road and you want to keep it safe for your residents, who as KinnickNeighbor pointed out are driving at much lower rates than folks passing through, but if not a speed trap they are certainly the Soup Nazi (this is of course a Seinfeld reference, not a political one) of local police when it comes to speeding.

Kinnick bandwidth

Did the university ever solve the problem with wifi bandwidth on game days? It’s my understanding that is one of the reasons the students don’t come to games.

Posted by IamSparty

This one doesn’t totally fit, but it hits near and dear to my heart. My short answer is no. For starters, I don’t know what this WiFi you speak of is. To my knowledge, there is none of that business available at Kinnick (maybe in suites?).

However, the did spend some money on upgrading cell towers to hopefully boost cell service. My experience has been that effort did basically nothing. I’m a Verizon user and still get almost no reception on game day. I’ve got friends who use US Cellular and report essentially the same thing.

I’ve suggested for a while now that one way to squeeze more money out of fans is to sell WiFi passes at Kinnick and Carver. Even setting up smaller networks for people in certain seating sections or who donate set amounts could entice some people. I haven’t seen that advertised or marketed anywhere and I know it’s a big up front investment, so probably a pipe dream.


That’s it for this week. Hope you enjoy the beverage discussion on a Friday afternoon. I kind of like the Friday feel of this so please let us know if you like the mailbag sending us off for the week. Have a great weekend Hawk fans!