The 3 for 3 blog talks Hawkeye football and wrestling’s big question …
1: IOWA’S SUMMER PROJECT: STOP LYNCH — Since there’s never a bad time to talk about college football in Iowa, I used a chance to talk to Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch to take a peek at the importance of Iowa’s opener Aug. 31.
I argue that the Hawkeyes’ four-win season in 2012, the ability of Lynch — who finished seventh in Heisman Trophy voting last season on the way to the Orange Bowl — and the rugged schedule the rest of the way make it one of the most important openers in decades.
That’s not to say Northern Illinois is the best season-opening opponent during that stretch — because it isn’t. Iowa has played better teams in Nebraska, Kansas State and Oregon, for starters.
The importance is equal parts situation, the program’s effort to reboot, uncertainty at quarterback and the rare possibility of missing bowls in back-to-back seasons.
Yes, a Big Ten team should always handle a MAC opponent. Northern Illinois, though, won 21 of 22 games over two seasons with the sole setback a winnable 18-17 setback to Iowa in the 2012 opener at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Huskies also return all five offensive line starters from a season ago to help open holes for Lynch, one of the most productive single-season rushers at quarterback in college history.
My take on the importance of the game and challenge on dealing with a confident, capable Lynch is … HERE.
2. WRESTLING WITH THE FUTURE — The NCAA is proposing a change to college wrestling that will add importance to dual meets, the national dual-meet championship — and create a title-deciding bridge to the traditional national championships.
The idea to qualify for the dual-meet event, where teams would accumulate points that factor into the regular championship has folks around wrestling buzzing.
Find Andy Hamilton’s story … HERE.
Olympic wrestler Jake Herbert raised some points to Hamilton and I via Twitter.
Herbert wrote: “Small teams that are not fully funded wont even win team dual meets. But can have 3 NCAA champs get a title” and … “could be good but NCAA needs an individual tournament for teams that can never have a full strong line up.”
Legitimate questions will be raised about tinkering the with the traditional tournament, which remained wildly successful (Des Moines, for example, sold out all sessions in 14 minutes). The old not-broke, why-fix-it has merit.
That said, this has the potential to increase the importance of dual meets and the dual tournament, which could lure more television attention through a selection show and live coverage that means more. Top teams which have skipped the national duals in the past (premier programs like Penn State, Iowa and Oklahoma State) would need to participate to maximize points that later help determine a team champion.
Fresh change also could help provide a jolt to a sport that fights to maintain teams at the college level.
Questions and tinkering remain, but taking a new look at things is smart.
3: LORD OF THE RING — You’ve got to love the story about New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft claiming that Russian president Vladimir Putin stole his 2005 Super Bowl championships ring.
Spokespeople for Putin say it was a gift and called the initial assertion “weird.” Spokespeople for Kraft say it was a tongue-in-cheek joke.
If there was an NCAA-styled bracket for odd sports stories, I think the Putin-Kraft is a Final Four level matchup involving Dennis Rodman … HERE.
Winner? Rodman … simply because there’s a dictator involved.
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