Tuesday, May 02, 2006

'Doug In Davenport' Wonders What a Stars Crowd Of 1,900 Looks Like In a 17,000-Seat Arena; Iowa Will Play Hokies; Al Schallau Sounds Off

Doug in Davenport, who knows his hockey, doesn't predict a strong future for the Iowa Stars in Des Moines.

Here's Doug's e-mail:

"What does a crowd of 1,900 look like in a 17,000-seat arena? That is what the Iowa Stars attracted to a playoff game last week. Granted, it was a midweek game, but shouldn't a first-year team still be in its honeymoon phase and be able to attract 5,000 or so to a playoff game? I think it's going to be a rocky marriage between the team and the community and the cost of using that building
could speed up the breakup."

Doug in Davenport

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: First, the answer to Doug's question: What does a crowd of 1,900 look like in a 17,000-seat Wells Fargo Arena? Well, 1,900 certainly isn't a crowd, and that handful of fans in the huge building is not a good sign. The Iowa Stars didn't get a nickel out of me in their first season, and they won't get a nickel out of me next season. Unless they can develop a stronger fan base, I agree with Doug -- they aren't long for Des Moines. Where are the Barnstormers when Des Moines needs 'em?]

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Iowa’s men’s basketball team will travel to Blacksburg, Va., to play Virginia Tech next Nov. 29 as part of the 2006 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Game time will be 7 p.m., and it will be televised on ESPNU.

[Let's hope some enterprising TV folks pool their efforts and make sure the game gets on a channel that everyone from Keokuk to Pisgah can get. I'm not sure many people in this state even know what the hell ESPNU is].

Iowa is 2-3 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge after a 45-42 victory over North Carolina State last season in Iowa City. It was a game that helped get North Carolina State coach Herb Sendek get fired.

Iowa lost to Maryland in Baltimore in 2000, defeated Georgia Tech in 2001 in Iowa City, lost at Florida State in 2003 and lost to Duke in Chicago in 2002. Iowa did not take part in the event in 2003-04 and 2004-05. Iowa and Virginia Tech will be meeting for the first time.

“Taking part in this event is exciting and challenging,” said Iowa coach Steve Alford. “We knew we would be on the road this season and Virginia Tech will be a tough opponent. Seth Greenberg is a veteran coach who has done a good job in each of his previous stops as a head coach. Tech will feature a veteran team that gained valuable experience a year ago during its first year in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”

The Hokies had a 14-16 record this past season and return all five starters. Guard Zabian Dowdell and center Coleman Collins each earned honorable mention all-ACC honors last season. Virginia Tech lost at Ohio State (69-56) in the 2005 Challenge. Tech plays its home games at Cassell Coliseum (9,847).

Iowa was 25-9 in 2005-2006, compiling the second-highest victory total in school history.

[RON MALY'S COMMENT: Don't expect anything good to happen to the Hawkeyes in Blacksburg, Va].

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Al Schallau's latest e-mail:

"Starting in April, 2007, I will no longer spend any Saturday or Sunday watching the NFL draft on ESPN, or listening to it on the radio. I have finally decided forever that the men making the draft decisions for the NFL teams know absolutely nothing about football.

"I am now 100 percent convinced that when an NFL team does make a real good draft selection (like San Diego choosing Shawn Merriman in the first round in 2005), it is application of the doctrine that "Even The Blind Squirrel Finds The Acorn Once In A While."

"The last straw was when Michigan wide receiver Jason Avant was still available to be drafted by Philadelphia Eagles with the 109th pick in the draft. Jason Avant is the closest thing to Anthony Carter that I have ever seen. He is tremendous.

"Also, the St. Louis Rams drafted tight end Joe Klopfenstein of Colorado when they could have drafted tight end Anthony Fasano of Notre Dame. I thought Fasano was the best tight end in college football in 2005. Fasano lasted only a few more minutes when he was drafted in the second round by Dallas Cowboys. I think he will play first string for the Cowboys immediately.

"Back in 1979, Joe Montana was the 82nd player picked in the NFL draft. How could he have possibly had a more stellar college career? I haven't checked lately to see if any of the 81 players drafted ahead of him are in the NFL Hall of Fame.

"But Montana is there. So is Dan Fouts, who was the 64th player picked in the 1973 draft.


Al Schallau

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Al, I'll bet you spent more time on this year's draft than I did. If it hadn't been raining all weekend, I wouldn't have watched any of it. Welcome to the club].