Sunday, October 23, 2005

I See Absolutely Nothing Wrong With the Motor City Bowl--Even If Jimmy Hoffa Is Buried At Ford Field In the Heart of Beautiful Downtown Detroit

I want to go on record right now as saying I have absolutely nothing against the Motor City Bowl.

That goes side-by-side with the comment shared by Amos Alonzo Stagg, Fielding Yost, Johnny Majors [pictured at the right] and ESPN that, “There is no such thing as a bad bowl game.”

Ask Iowa State, one of the places Majors coached, about that. They used to joke everywhere –- even in Ames -- about the Weedeater Bowl that was played in Shreveport, La. Now the Weedeater Bowl is called the Independence Bowl, and the Cyclones have played in it twice.

I don’t hear anyone from Ames complaining about it now.

I was thinking about the Motor City Bowl both before and after Iowa’s 22-game winning streak at Kinnick Stadium ended with a 23-20 overtime loss Saturday to Michigan.

Before the game, I thought Michigan was headed to the Motor City Bowl. Now I think Iowa might be going.

Especially if it can beat Minnesota.

The Motor City Bowl has a tie-in with the Big Ten and Mid-American Conferences. The Motor City folks say the first- or second-place teams from the MAC will be matched against “a bowl-eligible team from the Big Ten.”

Right now, Toledo has the best records in the MAC at 6-1 overall and 4-0 in the league.

Right now, there probably aren’t any teams in the Big Ten –- bowl-eligible or not –- that want to go to the Motor City Bowl.

The Big Ten lists the Motor City last among the seven bowls to which it sends teams -- behind the Music City, Sun, Alamo, Outback, Capital One and Rose Bowls. That might tell you something.

I know that’s why I was hoping Lloyd Carr and his Michigan team would be going there. That old Ann Arbor-to-Detroit connection sounded great to me.

You’ve probably heard the Motor City Bowl jokes.

I have, too.

But I’m not laughing.

People say the only problem with the Motor City Bowl is that it’s played in Detroit.

In the heart of downtown Detroit, of all places.

At a stadium named Ford Field [pictured on the top] that seats 64,355, another place Jimmy Hoffa [pictured on the upper left] might be buried.

People say it’s kind of embarrassing when you have to answer your friends and relatives who ask if you’re taking sun-block on your bowl trip.

“I won’t need it in Michigan,” you tell ‘em. “It’s always cloudy, even when it’s not snowing.”

Frankly, I don’t know why people say they won’t be celebrating Christmas until after New Year's Day because they’re going to the Dec. 26 Motor City Bowl.

I think Christmas in Detroit, or just December in Detroit, could be lots of fun. But I tell everyone, “Don’t forget your 5-buckle overshoes and the gun permit.”

I know Santa Claus always wears a holster in Detroit.

And a flak jacket.

Iowa has a 5-3 record and, after a week off, plays at Northwestern and Wisconsin on successive Saturdays. I’m certainly not predicting that the Hawkeyes will lose both games, but if they do they could be playing Minnesota [5-2] on Nov. 19 for the right to play in the Motor City Bowl.

You probably didn’t think it would come down to that after those victories over powerhouses Illinois, Purdue and Indiana, did you? I didn’t, either, so that’s why I’m making sure I write nice things about the Motor City Bowl.

I’ll have more to say on this matter after I buy another set of flannel long-johns at Wal-Mart.


Well, so much for the “black-out” idea at Kinnick Stadium.

I wonder if we'll ever see that again.

Probably not.


I purposely sat on a stool near the working stiffs in the first row of the press box at the stadium Saturday so I could say hello to star columnist Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press.

But, darn it, Albom must have been having lunch with Paul Anger back in Detroit. Whatever, he wasn’t assigned to the game. Instead, he wrote a Sunday column about interviewing Martha Stewart for his radio show.

I realize Lloyd Carr has taken a hit in popularity in Ann Arbor and Detroit, but I didn’t know he’s even taken a back seat to Martha Stewart.


Actually, maybe we should all quit laughing at Lloyd Carr.

After all, he did win his 100th game Saturday.


There are times when Iowa is not as good a team as its opponent, but wins anyway.

Like against LSU in the Capital One Bowl last season.

There are other times when Iowa is not as good a team as its opponent, and doesn’t win.

That was the case Saturday. Michigan was the better team, and played a better game than Iowa.

Afterward, I was surprised to hear one Iowa fan say, “Well, now we know one guy who can out-coach Kirk Ferentz. It’s Lloyd Carr.”


Some sad news.

The 76-year-old father of Mike Hlas, the outstanding sports columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette, died suddenly late last week.

Ernie Hlas did a lot of good things in the famous Czech Village area of southwest Cedar Rapids. He'll be missed by many.


Clock management is obviously not an Iowa football strength.

At least it wasn’t against Michigan.

On the Hawkeyes’ drive that began on their 12-yard-line with 2:42 to play, they were slow getting plays into quarterback Drew Tate.

Once, Tate got so frustrated while waiting for a play that he called his own.

Although it appeared Iowa should have had enough time to score a touchdown, it had to settle for Kyle Schlicher’s 32-yard field goal to tie the game, 17-17, at the end of regulation time.

Something like that shouldn’t happen.


Nice going, Cyclones.

Two more victories to become bowl-eligible.

I can see it coming.

Are you listening, Kansas State and Kansas?


Vol. 4, No. 399
Oct. 23, 2005