Ten things that have happened since Iowa played Illinois on Nov. 1, 2008:
1) Obama elected -- Coincidentally, the renewal (six years after) will be played the Saturday before the next presidential election.
2) The economy crashed -- Mainly, the housing bubble burst. Who knew, right?
3) The Chicago Blackhawks won a Stanley Cup -- Hey, it was 49 years of darkness. (Yes, this list somewhat self-serving.)
4) A TV show called "Jersey Shore" burst on the scene -- We now know about Snooki and the Situation and all that jazz. And we are not the better for it.
5) Tiger Woods' balloon popped -- Remember that odd newsflash on Thanksgiving weekend in 2009? Who knew we'd be still feeling that today. I still think Tiger will be great again, but I'm looking at my watch and wondering when. Well, he's made for great Howard Stern fodder since then. Sigh.
6) Craft beer became a thing -- Place your ad here, Stone. (Stone is coming to Iowa, you know.)
7) Hot Doug's -- It's a restaurant in Chicago that I've discovered since 2008. Maybe I'll be able to hit it prior to the Soldier Field game this fall. I highly recommend. Here's Hot Doug's special menu for today. Mmmmmm. Yes, I would try a yak sausage.
8) The Bubble has tumbled -- OK, this is pretty recent. The UI has released a few pics of the new place today. Here's one:
9) Conan O'Brien canceled, re-issued -- Remember all that Conan stuff? Team Coco and all that? Late Night with Conan O'Brien was canceled in 2008 and then brought back to life a year or so later on TBS. I watch very little late-night Talk TV outside of Letterman and that Ferguson guy, but I did watch some Conan. I don't watch Conan on TBS. I've never watched a second of anything Leno. It's not that I don't like him, it's his show.
10) Stanzi rises-- Remember Ricky Stanzi in the 2008 Illinois game?
Stanzi finished 11 of 29 for 191 yards and a touchdown. He threw two interceptions, one leading to an Illinois field goal and a 10-6 halftime lead, and the other ending the game.
Stanzi fumbled on a sack by cornerback Dere Hicks, who returned the fumble 7 yards for a 24-9 lead with 13:56 left in the game.
After the sack, fumble recovery and TD, Stanzi zipped Iowa downfield, completing 3 of 3 and finishing with a 29-yard TD pass to wide receiver Andy Brodell. Stanzi finished the fourth quarter 4 of 10 for 91 yards with a TD and interception.
The next week, Stanzi helped beat No. 3 Penn State. The Hawkeyes went on to win 13 straight games between the end of '08 and '09. That was Iowa's longest winning streak since 20 straight in 1920 through '23.
Stanzi also talked about America.
POTIONS, LOTIONS, LINKS
-- I covered an NCAA basketball tournament in Worcester, Mass., in 1992. On Sunday evening, hours after Rick Pitino's Kentucky team beat Johnny Orr's Iowa State squad 106-98 in a real dinger of a second-round game, a snow descended on downtown Worcester. It was pretty. It felt like being in a postcard as I trudged through the snow under the street lights of a quiet downtown.
There was a doughnut shop across the street from the Hampton Inn that was my home for five nights. But this is no time to get sentimental.
Anyway, a prep school in Worcester brought together Kirk Ferentz, Ken O'Keefe, Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman as football coaches. Ferentz was the defensive coordinator. O'Keefe was the head coach. Sherman was an assistant coach. Philbin was a tight end. That was in 1979. A long time ago.
Ferentz went on to employ O'Keefe and Philbin at Iowa. Philbin went on to employ O'Keefe and Sherman with the Miami Dolphins.
Brian Biggane of the Palm Beach Post had a story this weekend about the Worcester Academy days of the three new Dolphins coaches.
By the way, Christian Laettner broke Kentucky's heart six days after the Wildcats eliminated Iowa State. Twenty years later, I was in Louisville for an Iowa State-Kentucky NCAA tournament game. Unlike Ferentz and O'Keefe, I'm doing the exact same thing I was 20 years ago.
Well, I wasn't blogging back then. Or tweeting. Or writing about Nebraska in the Big Ten, Missouri in the SEC, West Virginia in the Big 12, and Colorado in the Pac-12.
-- There was so much weekend commentary written about the big-picture, grand-scheme meaning of the announcement the Big 12 and SEC will have their own New Year's, prime-time wingding of a bowl game. Here are a few assorted essays on the topic, and subjects related to the topic:
Let's start with a juicy piece of gossip. Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com says "sources say (Texas Athletic Director DeLoss) Dodds is telling some in the Big 12 he thinks Notre Dame is seriously looking at the Big 12."
Brown says Dodds has been courting Notre Dame to join it in the Big 12 since 2010.
If perception is reality, the Big 12 is about to blow the ACC's doors off. Pete Thamel of the New York Times says the creation of the SEC-Big 12 Champions Bowl will further the perception that the top football conferences — the Pac-12, the SEC, the Big Ten and the Big 12 — have further distanced themselves from everyone else.
Scott Michaux of the Augusta Chronicle agrees, suggesting "the four most powerful conferences seem to be running an end around and creating their own bracket and backups at the exclusion of everybody else."
In the land of the Capital One Bowl, an annual pairing of Big Ten and SEC teams, Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel warns locals the playoff system-to-be could cause the Cap One Bowl to be on shaky ground.
The Omaha World-Herald's Tom Shatel asks Nebraska fans this: If you knew the Big 12 would not only survive but be in position to become an SEC partner and bring in Florida State, Miami and others, would you still want to be there?
Shatel's answer: No.
However, Shatel did add this: The plodding style of Big Ten football had Nebraskans looking for their remote control. The lack of urgency often shown toward the national title race was a cold splash of water. The Rose Bowl mentality.