Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi certainly looks better.
Bowls have asked Iowa about Stanzi’s health. Matt Engelbert, Iowa’s video coordinator, shot a few photos from Iowa’s
practice on Friday, both of Stanzi. One is above. The other shows Stanzi handing off. It looks like the training wheels are off here.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said last week that Stanzi could probably play if there was a game this weekend.
“I fully anticipate him to be full speed probably next week,” Ferentz said. “He could probably play this week, but it would be a little shaky.”
Made some bowl calls today. I heard from a lot of you after I posted percentages.
Iowa is pulling out the stops to impress the Fiesta Bowl committee. According to a source, Iowa has sold 17,500 Fiesta Bowl tickets. That’s the entire allotment. That’s has to impress Fiesta reps and calm fears that Iowa’s entire bowl representation would be Iowans now living in Arizona. (Fears from the greater Phoenix chamber of commerce.)
Iowa is positioned well to do more business with tickets. Pam Finke, Iowa’s director of ticket operations, held the same position at Arizona State University before coming to Iowa. That fact would connect well with Fiesta Bowl ticket operations.
University of Phoenix Stadium holds 73,000. Iowa fans have bought — or have committed to buy — 17,500 tickets for a bowl that has yet to invite the Hawkeyes. How much damage could you Iowa people do, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000?
“They’re not going to commit today,” Iowa AD Gary Barta said this week. “They’re not going to say, if this happens, we’re going to pick you. That was more the old days. With the new BCS system, it doesn’t work that way. They have to wait until that final poll comes out. They have to see what happens in those final games and then it starts to happen.”
Some caveats here. Obviously, Penn State and, more importantly, Joe Paterno campaiging for the Fiesta carries a
certain amount of cachet. Penn State has been there and done that in Phoenix, with a 6-0 record that includes an ’86 national title victory over Miami (Fla.) in the 1987 game, which basically helped raise the Fiesta’s status from OK, kinda nice bowl to BCS mega-bowl.
But yeah, Iowa (10-2) beat Penn State (10-2), 21-10, at Penn State on Sept. 26. No, this doesn’t matter to the BCS or the bowl selection process. It does matter to the Big Ten, which also could have a say in this. The Big Ten has stayed neutral, but, when it comes to the BCS, it also likes to reward teams that did it on the field. See 2002 Iowa Orange Bowl.
The BCS process is tied to the 7 p.m. TV show Sunday on Fox. That means no leakage, so there’s nothing definitive here. The show is an attempt to duplicate what the selection show does for the NCAA basketball tournament. What it really does is give people time to consider the expense of a bowl trip and find reasons to stay home. (OK, I’m totally editorializing here.)
Now, if Nebraska upsets Texas in the Big 12 championship game, I don’t know. Iowa could very well be in the BCS. The Big Ten has sent two teams to the BCS in nine of the 12 years the BCS has been around. Ohio State wrapped up the conference’s automatic BCS bid with its victory over Iowa on Nov. 14.
“What if the BCS bowls don’t pick a second Big Ten school?” Barta said. “The rules are set up where it could happen. So, we’re not taking anything for granted.”
The official word might leak out sometime Sunday, but this could go until the show. But from what I’ve gathered, it’s 90 percent or better Fiesta for the Hawkeyes if Texas beats Nebraska.
Remember, economic impact is paramount for bowls — and the cities that bowls are in — this season.
Key quote, from the USA Today:
“This year is one where I think most bowls will look at schools that will bring large numbers of enthusiastic fans,” Fiesta Bowl President & CEO John Junker said. “The economy is driving that and making it a bigger factor.”
Also from Matt Engelbert, who’s, I believe, in his 21st season on Iowa’s video staff. This is a video Iowa made to get the attention of bowl scouts after the 2006 season.
If this doesn’t pump you up for bowl season, you are a corpse and what are you doing walking the planet, except looking to eat brains of course.