Oh! You Pretty Things.
The next event on the football calendar: Signing Day on February 3. Iowa has 23 commits already on board, with no apparent signs of losing anyone. The concern is always a late push from local programs on out-of-state commitments, but even there, Iowa looks solid. Indianapolis running back Toks Akinribade, one of the highest-rated prospects in the class, had scheduled an official visit to Indiana for this weekend but cancelled it on Monday.
The initial concern had been that Akinribade was a Jim Reid recruit, and with Reid gone, Iowa's immediate contact with him was missing. That problem has apparently been remedied.
Detroit defensive end Cedric Lattimore got a late offer from Michigan State, but told Andy Hamilton from the Des Moines Register that he's going nowhere:
"I'm still signing with Iowa," he said. "My commitment to them, they're committed to me and nothing can break that right now. Getting the offer (from the Spartans), it doesn't mean anything."
The Hawkeyes technically have two more spots available (and could sign up to four more players, if the recruiting sites are to be believed), but will only use those openings if the right player falls their way. Names to watch: Offensive tackles Matt Farniok and Alaric Jackson, and defensive back Jarrett Cole, according to Rob Howe. Or you could spend time on something else, because caring remains creepy. Just ask defensive back recruit Jordan Eastling, who looked set for an Iowa offer until a couple of weeks ago:
"It's like they broke up with me," he told HN earlier this week.
With football season ending, attention turns to the NCAA Basketball Tournament. We got a new round of bracket projections earlier this week, and everything continues to come up roses.
Blogging the Bracket: Four seed in Denver (vs. UAB, for comedic purposes)
ESPN (Joe Lunardi): Four seed in Spokane (as Ross mentioned earlier this week)
CBS Sports: Four seed in Spokane (updated Wednesday morning)
Bracket Matrix: The top four seed, behind a quickly-fading Iowa State
Obviously, nine days off can help at this time of year. Conference schedules are now in full swing, and the number of losses ratchets up. Three of the top ten lost last night, and that's not even that unusual this year. But even with the always-dreaded trip to East Lansing ahead this week, Iowa is in great shape entering the second half of January.
The Man Who Sold the World
A professor at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus used program revenues and expenses, risk assessments and growth projections to value every college football program, and found that you could buy Iowa football for $439 million. That's good for twelfth nationally and fifth in the Big Ten, behind Ohio State (#1, $946M), Michigan (#3, $811M), Penn State (#10, $481M) and Nebraska (#11, $444M).
If you consider Georgia and LSU blue blood programs -- it's hard not to, given their last decade-plus of performance -- it would place Iowa second among non-premiere programs, just a few million behind Nebraska. And this study doesn't take into account facility value (where Iowa has a fairly obvious edge on the field).
The same study last year also had Iowa at twelfth, though the program has lost $52 million in valuation. Brewer's report indicates that increased risk from concussions, decreased youth participation, television rating concerns and player pay issues led to an across-the-board drop in valuations.
Isaiah Moss and Brandon Hutton, two freshmen who are redshirting this season, are spending their practice time channeling Denzel Valentine and Yogi Ferrell. Their activities are less important than their mindsets, though. Basketball players rarely redshirt, and a highly-recruited player left on the bench for an entire year could look around. It sounds like that isn't a concern here.
The ACC and SEC are introducing proposals to end "satellite camps" used by some Big Ten programs to grab a foothold in the recruiting hotbeds of the South. Michigan and Penn State, in particular, have brazenly used satellite camps to evaluate and recruit talent out of their footprints. Iowa went to St. Louis last year for a camp, and could expand that going forward. Both proposals would need a 2/3 vote for approval, which doesn't seem likely.
Nebraska defensive tackle Vincent Valentine is headed to the NFL Draft. It's going to be another defensive line rebuild in Lincoln, with Valentine and Maliek Collins leaving early and Jack Gangwich graduating.
Minnesota basketball got obliterated by Nebraska and, if not for Rutgers, would be the worst team in the Big Ten. It's gotten so bad that Minneapolis McDonald's restaurants will give you two free sausage burritos any time the Gophers win...the first half.
In case you didn't watch Monday Night Raw because there was a pretty good football game on TV:
Stardust also stood next to Dolph Ziggler during a segment just so Ziggy Stardust was on the screen.