January 2013

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Random Thoughts By Rick Klatt I 'm sure very few men's college basketball fans across this great land of ours (other than those here in the Heartland and those elsewhere with allegiances to one of the institutions involved) cared a great deal about the annual battle on the hardwood that is Mediacom Court at CarverHawkeye Arena the evening of Friday, Dec. 7. It wasn't a "must-see" for the nation. However, this year's Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series men's hoops game was exactly that for Iowans who like round ball and, quite candidly, many that don't but also don't mind hopping on the bandwagon when it's the Hawkeyes against the Cyclones. What the 15,000-plus inside Carver, and the national television audience tuning in on BTN, got was big-time men's college basketball at its very finest: The Arena was electric, the basketball was intense, and the night as a whole was incredibly entertaining. I walked out thinking that the paying customer got their money's worth and then some, particularly if their allegiances are east of Des Moines versus north. Now, wouldn't it be nice to have more than one of these events each nonconference season? I like our chances of having our patience rewarded. ** John Campbell, longtime sports director at KCRGTV9, the ABC affiliate in eastern Iowa, called it a career earlier this month. Well, actually, he did and he didn't. He's going to take some time off and then return on a limited basis sometime in the future. I really, really, really like John. He's cut from a cloth of a time that wasn't so "digital." He tells a great story on and off the air. Most importantly, he's genuine. What you see is what you get with John and all of what I've seen during my 30 years of watching him deliver the sports at 6 and 10, and when visiting with him at Kinnick or Carver, has been good, very good. Mike Hlas of the Cedar Rapids Gazette — another local journalist that I have high regard for — sat down with John shortly before his departure. You can listen to that visit HERE. I guarantee you'll enjoy it. ** From the "The month of December is always an interesting month in the world of college football" file… I'm not sure which one surprised me more: Bret Bielema leaving Wisconsin to become head coach of the Southeastern Conference's Arkansas Razorbacks or Bielema's old boss, former Hawkeye assistant coach Barry Alvarez, tabbing himself to coach the Badgers in the 2013 Granddaddy of them all, and then picking up a cool $118,500 to do so, or Bobby Petrino, Arkansas' head coach two head coaches ago now, being hired by Western Kentucky. Yes, the month of December is always an interesting month for college football fans. I know this: I wasn't at all surprised that Johnny Football walked away with the Heisman. All things being equal, the voters got it right. ** Bobbleheads…I love 'em. I really love this one. Happy holidays, Hawkeye fans. 33

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