Thursday, November 8, 2018

No Longer a (News)paper

Tuesday, of course, was election day.
At the pie-and-coffee session they were talking about how there were no election results in Wednesday’s  Des Moines Register.
Several people said they couldn’t believe it.
I looked at the paper and believed it.
Executive editor Carol Hunter wrote on the front page that if you wanted to read any election news you’d have to read it online—-meaning your computer, tablet or phone.
That was a first. Another example of how the paper is no longer a [news]paper.
This sad situation reminds of how, in a ridiculous move, the paper this fall waited until Sunday to publish the results of high school football games that were played Friday night.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Beer & Basketball At Drake

Drake University will sell beer to basketball fans of drinking age at men’s and women’s games this season.
However, some seating sections at the Knapp Center, including those where students and the pep band sit, will remain alcohol-free.
Obviously, Drake hopes beer sales will help attract more fans to the Knapp Center in Darian DeVries’ first season as the men’s coach.
Officials said added security will be provided in the basketball arena this season.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

When People Were Nice To One Another

When I was a kid, I thought political candidates voted for each other on Election Day.
I guess I thought people were nice to one another then.
That shows you how naive I was.
With youth comes naïveté.
Somehow I don’t think candidates vote for anyone but themselves these days.

Covering the One & Done Scene

I’m just as sick as the next guy of the “One & Done” disease that’s ruining collegiate basketball.
“One & Done”, for the benefit of those of you who have spent the last dozen years on Jupiter and/or Mars, is what multi-talented basketball players who spend one season playing collegiate ball before making millions of dollars thanks to the next NBA draft.

So here I am watching a bunch of “Ones & Dones” from Kansas beating Michigan State’s “Ones & Dones” in the first of many, many big nights on TV during the 2018-2019 season.
It’s obvious that Bill Self has recruited more talented “Ones & Dones” to Kansas than Tom Izzo has brought into Michigan State.
It was a a similar story in the second game of the doubleheader.
Coach K [aka Mike Krzyzewski] sent his “Ones & Dones” from Duke against the latest batch of hotshot “Ones & Dones” recruited by John Calipari of Kentucky.
Just think, in a few months [when the NBA draft is held] tonight’s “One & Dones” will be making more money than the guys who are now coaching them.
Tonight’s scores in the “One & Done Invitational:”
Kansas breaks out to a big early lead, then hangs on to defeat Michigan State, 92-87.
Duke lowers the boom in a huge way on Kentucky, 118-84

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Brock Purdy & Matt the Magician

I'm starting to think Matt Campbell is an absolute magician.

Right up there in the Harry Houdini and David Copperfield class.
I mean, this guy Matt Campbell can do no wrong.
At least in his football office at Iowa State and in stadiums everywhere.
Whenever one of his quarterbacks gets hurt, he reaches into a seemingly endless supply of talented signal-callers to find an even better one.
The newest is true of freshman Brock Purdy, who passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns yesterday in Iowa State's 27-3 rout of Kansas.
It was the Cyclones’ fourth straight victory since Purdy has been the starter.
One or two people think Purdy looks facially like a 15-year-old kid when he’s on the field wearing his helmet and the rest of his Iowa State game gear.
But when he starts rifling one completion after another against the Oklahoma States and West Virginias of the Big 12 Conference, he has the looks of a grown-up Aaron Rodgers.
Actually, Purdy is only 19.
Now Campbell, Purdy and the rest of Iowa State's players are on the threshold of making it to the Big 12 championship game.
At Ames, the magic just keeps happening.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Here Comes Dowling Again. And, Oh, By the Way, Valley Should Be Ashamed Of Itself

We’ve heard this song plenty of times before.
When Dowling Catholic’s football team needs to win, it does just that.
You’d better be ready. You know it’s coming.
And if you’re a Valley fan, you’ve got to be wondering how it could have gone so wrong.
In a battle of two powerhouse high school football teams from West Des Moines, Dowling did everything right in a 31-9 victory over previously-unbeaten Valley in a state class 4A quarterfinal round game tonight at Valley Stadium.
So it’s on to the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls next week for a Dowling team that’s going after it’s sixth consecutive 4A state championship.
Don’t bet against coach Tom Wilson and his talented Maroons.
I’m not.
Valley defeated Dowling, 20-6, in the second game of the season.
Then the Maroons lost yet another game to Ankeny Centennial.
Meanwhile, Valley sailed to a 10-0 record, and looked like it could do no wrong.
Not so fast, my friend.
The Tigers weren’t prepared either physically or emotionally in the second go-around with Dowling.
If Valley’s fans were embarrassed, they had reason to be.
And it was over early. All Valley had to show for this disappointing setback were three field goals.
While the Tigers were kept out of the end zone by an aroused Dowling defense, Jayson Murray was running for three Maroon touchdowns.
The Tigers were whipped at the line of scrimmage, their offense was consistently a step slow against Dowling’s defense and quarterback Beau Lombardi [the younger brother of Michigan State quarterback Rocky Lombardi] wasn’t helped one bit by play-calling from longtime Valley coach Gary Swenson and his staff.
Valley took a solid whipping in the biggest game of the season in its own stadium.
The Tigers should’ve been the team playing with confidence.
Not so.
With a 17-6 halftime lead, Dowling had all the momentum.
The Maroons extended their lead to 24-6 with an 80-yard drive in the third quarter.
After that, it was just a matter of time before Dowling could start filling up the gas tank of the bus for another trip to the UNI-Dome.
For Valley, it was wait until next year.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Joe Namath & His Medicare Commercial

I guess if you hang around long enough, you’ll see everything.
I was watching TV last night when I saw Joe Namath doing a commercial about Medicare.
This is the man who was called “Broadway Joe” when he played professional football.
But Namath is now 75, and I guess he can do as many Medicare commercials as he wants to do.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

It Had To Happen Sometime

Well, you knew it was going to happen sometime.
A Nebraska football victory, I mean.
After some ugly losses and a few finishes that first-year coach Scott Frost said were “unbelievable,” Nebraska steamrolled a very bad Minnesota team, 53-28, today in Lincoln:
The Cornhuskers went into the game after losing their first six under Frost, of whom much is expected.
I made it a point to watch the final few minutes of the game on TV to see reaction in the stadium.
Fans did not storm the field to celebrate:
Good for them. I’m glad they didn’t.
Nebraska’s players celebrated by dumping a huge container of Gatorade on Frost [pictured].
The victory makes me happy for Nebraska’s fans, especially Polly, Mark, Cole and Danielle, Claire, Connie and Tom, their son, daughters and their son and daughters’ kids.


It took far too long, but officials at the University of Maryland have finally regained their sanity.
They fired football coach DJ Durkin today—24 hours after he was reinstated.
One other thing. If you think Maryland is a screwed-up place, you are right

Enough Already

I don’t pay attention to stuff like this the way I once did. I’m trying to figure out how and why Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley is being mentioned in connection with a future National Football League draft. Just because some guy from ESPN said something about it? Stanley maybe even being a first-rounder in the draft? Nobody in his or her right mind should be saying something like that at this stage. Stanley has plenty of collegiate football games left to play. Let the young man enjoy them. Enough already.

I've Got My Answer On Dominique Dafney

I’ve been wondering how Dominique Dafney has been doing, and now I’ve got my answer.
Pretty darned good.
Indeed, Michigan State P quarterback Rocky Lombardi wasn’t the only former football player from Valley High School in West Des Moines to help his team in a Big Ten Conference game this past weekend.
Dafney had quite a Saturday, too.
The Iowa junior blocked a punt for a 2-point safety on Penn State’s first possession in a game the Hawkeyes eventually lost, 30-24.
Dafney is a former two-sport [football and basketball] standout at Valley.
I saw him play many times in both sports. The teams were outstanding, and so was Dafney.
He was a four-year football letterman as a wide receiver, and also lettered four times on Valley’s very good basketball teams.
From Valley, Dafney went to Iowa Western Community College to play football, then to Iowa.
In 2017 as a Hawkeye, he played in all 13 games on special reams and received Academic all-Big Ten recognition. I’m
However, the 6-2, 225-pounder wasn’t listed on the depth chart at wide receiver following spring practice.
So it was good to see him again make his presence known on special teams at State College, PA.
His blocked punt was Iowa’s first since Aaron Mends blocked one against Maryland on Oct. 31, 2015.

Rocky Wasn't Just Impressive. He Was Spectacular

Hey, Rocky Lombardi, that was quite a career major-college debut you had today as a starting quarterback at Michigan State.
It wasn’t just impressive. It wasn’t just outstanding.
It was extraordinary. It was spectacular. It was fantastic.
“I thought Rocky played a tremendous game,” Mark Dantonio, his coach at Michigan State, told reporters.
So did I, and I saw Rocky play many tremendous football games for Valley High School in West Des Moines.
Lombardi was a standout quarterback and wrestler for the Tigers.
Rocky’s younger brother, Beau, is the starting quarterback for the Valley team that has a 10-0 record this season.
Rocky has taken his many talents to the Big Ten Conference. He was on the football team at Michigan State last season, but the plan was for him to practice with the Spartans and save a year of eligibility by not playing in games.
I’ve never regarded Dantonio as one of the geniuses of collegiate football coaching.
But he made the right decision in holding Lombardi out of competition in 2017.
Now Rocky is a redshirt freshman, and he was in the starting lineup today for the first time in his collegiate career.
All he did was complete 26 of 46 passes for 318 yards and two touchdowns in Michigan State’s surprise [to me anyway] 23-13 victory over Purdue.
Don’t forget, it was Purdue that sent a jolt through the collegiate football world a week earlier with a resounding 49-20 victory over Ohio State.
So it wasn’t just some sorry excuse for a Division I team with a bunch of low-caliber schmucks on the roster that Lombardi was going against at East Lansing, Mich.
And Rocky was definitely up for the challenge.
Believe me, 26 pass completions for 318 yards and two touchdowns was Big Ten Player of the Week-type stuff.
“Forty-six attempts is a lot,” Lombardi told reporters after the game. “I’m happy that I got that many attempts and got to show what I did.

Rocky Lombardi and Megan Maly celebrating their graduation from Valley High School in 2017.