IOWA CITY, Ia. — They are as much a part of summer as trips to the beach and the Chicago Cubs playing below .500.
They are among the first signs that another college football season is approaching.
And they seem to be multiplying — they being college football preseason watch lists.
Name the position and there is almost certainly a preseason watch list to go with it as a way to promote a postseason award. There are at least 15 preseason watch lists, all of which are being unveiled this summer.
The 2014 Iowa football team is well-represented, with several players expected to combine to make as many as eight different watch lists.
“Nobody has done anything at this point,” said Iowa junior center Austin Blythe, one three Hawkeyes on the 2014 Rotary Lombardi Award preseason watch list, which is awarded to the best lineman or linebacker in college football. “It’s the middle of the summer. You have to get through camp, have a good season, and that stuff will come.
“The big step is getting on to the next stage of the watch list.”
Blythe and Iowa teammates Brandon Scherff, a senior left tackle, and Carl Davis, a senior defensive tackle, are among 123 players from 76 universities on the Lombardi watch list.
How ridiculously large are the lists? Iowa’s Connor Kornbrath is among 38 players who were named to the College Football Performance Awards’ preseason watch list for the nation’s top punter. However, it’s still uncertain if Kornbrath will even be Iowa’s starting punter next season as he competes with junior college signee Dillon Kidd.
Five of the 39 quarterbacks named to the 2014 Davey O’Brien preseason watch list are from Big Ten schools. Iowa junior Jake Rudock didn’t make the list.
“I think there is too much preseason talk, to be honest,” Rudock said Wednesday.
Rudock didn’t need two of his offensive linemen being named to preseason watch lists to know that he is fortunate to play behind experienced blockers.
“Without the watch list, I felt good before that,” Rudock said sarcastically. “The watch lists are what they are.
“I see names because Hawkeye football posts them on Instagram and Facebook,” Rudock said. “And other than that, I just say, ‘Hey, that’s a cool picture of Scherff. That’s a cool picture of Austin. That’s nice.’”
Iowa senior offensive lineman Andrew Donnal said the players are aware of the preseason watch lists but pay little attention to them.
“We see it, and it’s there, obviously,” said Donnal, who is expected to start at right tackle next season. “But you try not to think too much about it.”