The Times-Delphic

An open forum to discuss current news in Drake University's newspaper The Times-Delphic.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Big 4 basketball

Northern Iowa got a little revenge on former coach and alum Greg McDermott on Wednesday night in the form of a 70-57 win at the UNI-Dome. The Panthers hosted the Cyclones in its football venue instead of its new basketball arena in order to sell $30-tickets to about 3,000 more fans.

Both coaches, Iowa State's McDermott and the Panthers' Ben Jacobson, said they weren't worth the money, but maybe the game was. It was closer than the score indicated.

Missouri Valley Conference member Northern Iowa's beating the Big 12's Iowa State isn't much of a shocker. But the Valley is shaking its mid-major term. Wichita State is No. 17 in the AP poll, and Creighton, Missouri State and Southern Illinois have also received votes.

Next up on the Big 4 slate is Drake at Iowa State on Sunday ... tickets for admission into the Hilton Coliseum are $11.

Do you think the Valley can record another win over a "major" conference?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

New Iowa State coach: Howdy, partner!

I wanted to put "Howdy, partner" above a photo in Tuesday's Des Moines Register, but I was shot down.

The guy is from Texas, after all. Gene Chizik was a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Longhorns, the defending national champions.

Chizik wasn't on anyone's Iowa State-replacement radar. Probably because no one knew he was looking for a new job, and who would think a guy from Texas would want to come to Iowa State. But to the delight of Cyclone Nation, he's here and Jamie Pollard sure made a splash.

For the most part, Pollard was the search committee, so when he made the announcement to Cyclone fans that a new coach — the No. 1 pick from Day 1 — was hired, the media scrambled in vain.

And if you're wondering, Chizik earns more of a McCarney salary than Ferentz one.

Do you think the former national champion will lead Iowa State to the BCS one day?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Waiting Part 2

Some of the waiting is over and some has just begun.

The Dan McCarney era at Iowa State is officially over, and it was nice of the Cyclones to send him out in style. A 21-16 win at home over Missouri, the game ball, and McCarney was carried off the field by his players.

The next waiting game in Ames is how long until McCarney’s replacement is named. Athletic director Jamie Pollard interviewed San Diego’s coach Jim Harbaugh and Nebraska offensive coordinator Jay Norvell on Nov. 16.

Drake learned Sunday that its season is over. San Diego was not selected to the 16-team NCAA football championship field, so the Toreros will represent the Pioneer Football League in the Gridiron Classic on Dec. 2.

Northern Iowa, which beat Illinois State 38-27 on Saturday, was also not selected. Illinois State was, though, along with Southern Illinois and Youngstown State, also from the Gateway Conference.

Iowa fans are waiting for their winter travel plans. Iowa’s 34-24 loss at Minnesota knocked Orlando out of the picture, but San Antonio and Tempe, Ariz., are still choices. An Iowa vs. a Texas Big 12 team matchup at the Alamo Bowl is a likely outcome, but stranger things have happened when it comes to college football bowls.

Guess it’s time to start thinking about college basketball.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The waiting game

No one knows what’s going to happen to three of the Big 4 schools, so to kill time until we do know, we sit around and guess.

And we’ll start with the only school whose season wasn’t a disappointment: Drake.

I wrote about the Bulldogs’ 47-28 win at Jacksonville and detailed how they’re likely to play in the Gridiron Classic.

You can read about it here: After win, Drake football waiting - Sports

To sum it up, San Diego, now ranked No. 14 in the I-AA poll, has an excellent shot at making the I-AA playoffs.

The Toreros’ chances are better than No. 20 Northern Iowa, which lost 47-23 at Southern Illinois. The Panthers might convince the selection committee to give them an at-large bid, though, if they upset No. 6 Illinois State at the UNI-Dome on Saturday.

Iowa earned its postseason game by beating Northern Illinois, last Saturday’s 24-21 loss to Wisconsin is slimming their chances of a designer bowl. The choices right now are all in December … I know we already knew that. There’s Champs Sports in Orlando, Fla., Alamo in San Antonio, Texas, Insight in Tempe, Ariz., and Motor City in Detroit, Mich.

Iowa fans travel well, so it’ll likely get a warm-weather bowl, and then Hawkeye fans can think about next year. The Jake Christiansen-era looks bright so that should keep the Bumblebees warm through the winter.

Where do you think Iowa will go bowling? Are you ready to say goodbye to the Hawkeye seniors?

Iowa State will try to earn its only Big 12 win for its seniors and outgoing coach vs. Missouri in Ames. The Cyclones will still finish at the bottom of the Big 12 North, but a win would be a little consolation for a team that hasn’t won since September.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

A breaking news buzz

Democrats, Dan McCarney and Tom Vilsack have created quite a stir in Iowa this week.

Sports and politics go great together as well. It's all about who won and why.

This weeks winners were governor-elect Chet Culver (D), incumbent congressmen Steve King (R), Tom Latham (R) and Leonard Boswell (D), newly elected congressmen Dave Loebsack and Bruce Braley, Drake football, Northern Iowa football and many Democrats nationwide.

Losers include: Congressman and candidate for governor Jim Nussle, 30-year congressional veteran Jim Leach, Iowa State football, former Cyclone coach Dan McCarney, Iowa football and lots of Republicans.

Lets start with the winners.

I've been preaching for the last half of the football season that Drake will go to the Gridiron Classic because San Diego will go to the NCAA I-AA playoffs. The Bulldogs secured their second-place finish in the conference with a 35-15 win over Davidson. And the I-AA selection committee has a little bowl selection committee in it ... meaning in addition to looking at San Diego as a team, it will also look at its appeal, i.e. Jim Harbaugh.

Northern Iowa, seen to some as the savior of football in the state of Iowa, beat Western Kentucky 31-20. Those people aren't paying any attention to Drake, though.

As for politics, have you ever seen the movie "A Year Without a Santa Claus?" The kids sing a song to Santa Claus after they find out Santa is too sick to deliver toys. It's called "Blue Christmas," and it reminds me of the elections.

"It'll be a blue Christmas without you ..." The tune is a little somber, which would make it fitting for the Republicans, but Dems could give it a jazzy makeover and it'd work for them, too.

I think the biggest loser in politics is former second-district Rep. Jim Leach. The moderate Republican Congressman has been in office for over 30 years. But as a Republican, voters saw him as part of the problem and sent him packing.

Iowa dropped a shocking 21-7 decision to Northwestern, also know as the worse team in the Big Ten. The explanation is simple, really, Northwestern played like it wanted to win and Iowa just showed up. You can blame me for the loss if you want. It was my first game in the Iowa pressbox, and the media regulars blamed me ... something to do with being from Drake ... even though Drake football and men's basketball won that day.

Iowa State ended its bowl hopes with a 41-10 loss to Kansas in Ames. The lack of a Big 12 loss this season also prompted 12-year coach Dan McCarney to resign. What do you think about that?

On one hand, he was making over $1 million, but McCarney has done some great things with the Cyclones' program. Our buddy Jim Harbaugh is on the list to replace him. I'm rooting for him!

As for Tom Vilsack, we're not sure if he's a winner or loser, yet, but we know he's probably crazy. Vilsack has submitted his name as a presidential candidate. He's the first to do so, so we don't know who the competition will be but we have an idea. But for Vilsack, I guess it's now or never.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Election Day!

Why do you have a fake ID? …So I can vote.

In the movie, "The Breakfast Club," I’d be Brian, the nerdy character, who made himself a fake ID, so he could, duh, vote. I’m very excited about today, Election Day!

When I was younger, my dad used to take me to the polls and I got to pull the the little levers in the old voting machines. And if it was a low-profile race, say county board of supervisors, I got to pick the candidates. I even got to wear an “I voted” sticker.

Now, I’m all grown up and I get to go to the polls all by myself. Not only will I be voting for Iowa’s next governor and third-district representative, I also get to change my party affiliation.

Currently, I’m registered with the wrong party. I developed a soft sport for a candidate running in the primary elections this summer, so I switch my affiliation to vote for him. I never bothered to switch back, which has turned in to an annoying mistake. I can handle the pre-recorded phone calls from party leaders, but I’ve gotten two live calls that have been slightly awkward.

I received the first call a week ago. That Other Party wanted me to volunteer because this election is a team effort. I didn’t bother to say I was rooting for the other team. Instead I told him The Des Moines Register doesn’t allow its newsroom employees to openly support a political party or candidate. That means no volunteering. No campaign donations. No yard signs. I don’t think he believed me, but oh, well. Seriously, it’s true. It goes along those lines of the newspaper being unbiased. So, just because the Opinion people want a Democrat for governor and four Democrats to represent Iowa in the House of Representatives, doesn’t mean the rest of the paper is trying to push that stance. Democrats.

On Sunday, a woman called and asked if That Other Candidate could count on my vote. I cringed as finished her question because I knew what was coming and I didn’t know how to answer. She sounded so nice, so I blurted out “Sure!”

So I screwed up That Other’s Guy’s poll. Oops. Today it’s meaningless because in the voting booth, it’s just you and the ballot. Choose wisely.

Register's voting guide

Aside from the endorsements, here is a non-partisan Web site to help you figure out where to vote, and if you need it, whom to vote for. The information doesn't judge the candidates, it just tells you where the politicans stand on issues important to you.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Fun with Web polls and politics

If you haven’t noticed, I finally changed the poll question on, and because of it, we had a record 966 page views. That’s triple of what a normal “issue-day” is.

The poll question asks: who are you going to vote for in the Iowa governor’s race. Currently Republican Jim Nussle has 86 percent of the vote.

A few notes about the Web polls.

1. In short, they are just for fun and the results will not be printed in The Times-Delphic.
2. As the disclaimer on the Web site says, the results only reflect the opinions of those who have chosen to participate. There is no way of tracking who has voted and how many times a person has voted.
3. It is possible to vote more than once on the same computer.

… And about politics
1. The Times-Delphic strives to cover all newsworthy events on campus based on the importance of the event and the availability of staff. So if it appears on party is getting more publicity than the other, it’s probably because one party is sponsoring more events than the other.
2. The Times-Delphic editorial board does not form a collective opinion regarding whom readers should vote for in any government election.

Just be sure to go out and vote Tuesday, Nov. 7. Hopefully, you'll have better luck than me and your polling place will have "I voted" stickers.

Bowl bound

Iowa earned its sixth win Saturday with a 24-14 decision over Northern Illinois. The Hawkeye made it interesting at the end, but a win’s a win. Also, freshman quarterback Jake Christensen shows promise as Iowa’s future offense leader. Christensen bounced back to throw two touchdown passes after his first collegiate pass was intercepted. He tried to hit 6-foot-7 Scott Chandler, but the tight end bobbled the pass.

Iowa hosts Northwestern on Nov. 4. One of my friends, who is a Northwestern alum said the Wildcats shouldn’t be a problem for the Hawkeyes, but Northwestern isn’t a pushover. Remember what happened in Evanston last year?

Next in line to go to a bowl in the Big 4 is Drake. Yes, I’m serious. The Bulldogs defeated Dayton 21-7 in Ohio to hang on to second place in the Pioneer Football League. The Bulldogs also moved up to No. 3 in the mid-major poll, and San Diego moved up to No. 16 in the NCAA I-AA poll. Improving the Toredoes chances of being selected to the NCAA playoffs. Drake plays Davidson on Nov. 4 and ends its regular season in Jacksonville, Fla. Both of these games will be challenging for Drake, but the Bulldogs have a good shot at winning both of them.

Northern Iowa dropped to No. 14 in the I-AA poll after losing to unranked Western Illinois 24-13 in the UNI-Dome. The loss is the Panthers’ first in the Gateway Conference and it drops them from first to a tie for second place.

Iowa State looks to be Iowa team least likely to make post-season play after a 31-10 loss to a not-so-impressive Kansas State team. The Cyclones sport the most sacked quarterback in the Big 12 and they were without their best receiver Todd Blythe, who had the flu.

They Cyclones will have to win their remaining three games to earn a trip to a bowl game. And if they want to protect their coach’s job, they should probably win at least one conference game. Dan McCarney has a few years left on his contract and the buyout isn’t cheap, but athletic director Jamie Pollard has already shown the state of Iowa he likes to surround himself with winners.

What does your post-season lineup look like?