The following photo got on the World Wide Web Monday night, and we had already been told Iowa quarterback James Vanderberg traveled a great distance to hunt bears. I've heard Saskatchewan and Alberta. Wherever it was, it was remote. Bears aren't city people.
If someone wants to a) claim credit for being the photographer and b) fill in the blanks with the back story, please do. Because this has to be quite a story. Once the details are learned, we'll update this post. By the way, the photo first surfaced at HawkeyeLounge.com.
Now for something totally different, and admittedly, far less interesting.
What, a second Phil Steele mention in two weeks? Give us a break!
Hey, this is being written on a holiday, which means it wasn't created with blood, sweat and tears. Plus, I had a television go out and an air conditioner that I wasn't sure was fully functional on a hot day.
Aggravating, but not fatal.
So I went for some low-hanging fruit. On Monday, college football yearbook author Steele released his preseason All-America teams, four units and 104 players. Actually, 103. LSU's Tyrann Mathieu was listed as both a first-team cornerback and first-team punt-returner.
The 103 players listed came from 51 different teams. Iowa wasn't among them.
The Big Ten had 14 players, considerably less than the SEC's 38. The Big 12 (with 10 teams) and the Pac-12 had 18, the ACC 17. Iowa State had 1, fourth-team linebacker A.J. Klein.
Of the Big Ten's 14, just one is at a so-called skill position. That's first-team running back Montee Ball of Wisconsin. Six SEC players are at skill positions. Arkansas has two on the second-team alone.
Wisconsin had four players named overall, including two of the Big Ten's first-teamers. The other first-team Badger is offensive tackle Ricky Wagner. Ohio State defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins was the other.
Ohio State had three players cited. Michigan State had two. Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue had one each. Nebraska's was third-team kicker Brett Maher.
Michigan's Denard Robinson, Steele's pick for first-team All-Big Ten, was not on his four All-America units.
I am in no way comparing the 2012 Iowa team to the 2002 Hawkeyes, but I wonder how many members of that Big Ten-title team in '02 would have been as high as fourth-team preseason All-America in Steele's mind, or anyone else's.
Quarterback Brad Banks certainly wouldn't have. Nor would tight end Dallas Clark. I'm guessing offensive tackle Eric Steinbach might have, and possibly kicker Nate Kaeding. I don't think safety Bob Sanders had established himself enough entering the '02 season.
Steinbach, Sanders, Kaeding and defensive tackle Colin Cole were all on Football News' 2002 preseason first-team All-Big Ten team.
No Hawkeye made the first- or second-team on The Sporting News' preseason All-America teams of 2002.
But Clark was a consensus first-team All-America in the postseason. So was Steinbach. Center Bruce Nelson made a couple of different All-America squads, and Kaeding was on several.
So, the preseason honor squads are for entertainment purposes only. So are the team rankings. Steele has Iowa No. 38, by the way.
But ... Steele doesn't have any apparent allegiance to any conference. For there to be 38 SEC players on his list, and just 14 from the Big Ten ... that's a whopping difference. Adding Missouri and Texas A&M (Steele has five Aggies on his All-America units) doesn't hurt.
-- Mike Hlas
-- Courtesy of thewizofodds.com, here's Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz telling a Fort Dodge I-Club crowd things last week that it probably wanted to hear. Just click on the "Ferentz in Fort Dodge" link and watch.
-- The third of Iowa's 11 FBS opponents in 2012 has shown up in the Orlando Sentinel's countdown of the top 120 teams, 120-to-1. We got two out of the way early in No. 111 Indiana and No. 110 Central Michigan.
Over the weekend, Iowa State came in at No. 78.
-- According to CBSsports.com's Bruce Feldman, one Big Ten football schedule is among the nation's 10 toughest in 2012. That would be Michigan's, at No. 4.
Notre Dame has the toughest. Iowa State's is No. 8.
-- Speaking of Michigan, the Wolverines open the season against Alabama in Arlington, Texas. It will be prime-time, a real season-opening wingding. And the Wolverines have this going for them:
Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges faced Alabama head coach Nick Saban twice when Borges coordinated Auburn's offense and Saban was LSU's head coach.Auburn won both times.
-- It's a myth teams from BCS conferences won't go on the road to play programs from non-BCS leagues. Yahoo Sports lists 10 such "dangerous propositions" for the big boys, including Oklahoma at UTEP and Indiana at Massachusetts.
-- Indiana basketball player Cody Zeller was listed aty 6-foot-11, 230 pounds last season as a freshman. Guess what? He's getting bigger.
-- Former ESPN football analyst Craig James is facing a figurative fourth-and-52 in his effort to win today's Texas primary to be the state's Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate this November. He's polling at 3 percent.
Compiled by Mike Hlas