A Championship Weekend Friday 6Pack

1.  After the chair slam of doom in East Lansing, Iowa hosted #13 Michigan and dominated the Wolverines from tip to buzzer.  National Media has been on Fran after the slam of the chair, what's your take on the slam and the win?
Matt – ESPN and the National Media, Delany and Barta have over blown this.  The team needed a kick in the pants and a chair slam is something that seems to have woken them up.  Fran is trying to build a program.  Fire is good, but you have to pick your places.  This seemed to have been a good spot in with the reaction from the team vs Michigan. 
Wendt – He didn't hurt a player, fan or referee so I guess I don't see it as a big deal
Painter – I love seeing emotion from the coaching staff.  As long as you have the right players that will respond I have no problem with it.  Looking at the 2 games since the slam (Michigan and Purdue) it appears that Fran has the players to respond to his fire.  Keep it up.
BlakeI didn't mind the slam.  The one thing I would be cautious about however, is sometimes constant screaming soon turns into players hitting the MUTE button.  I don't want Fran to become the Bo Pelini of basketball, and only be own for his faces and outbursts.
Zack – The slam is nothing that needs to be blown out of proportion. Leave Fran to his madness. The wins will mean something once they start winning consistently
BSox – I think it's one of those things that is good in small doses. If he does it all the time, it loses the dramatic effect it had. It’s clear this team needed a kick in the butt, and really, not just the team, but the whole program. i liked it, but please don’t beat us to death with it. It’s like my old man yelling at me, when I was a kid it scared me, now its just noise.

2.  Iowa State has taken a couple on the chin from Mizzou and Kansas, playing both tough but in the end coming up short.  Is Hoiberg in over his head or is there still a chance that the Transfer Team will make a Dance run?
Matt – This team has talent, that’s for sure.  My thoughts are is this a thing were Hoiberg was looking for bodies who had some pub coming out of high school and needing a new home and he’s trying to get ISU back to where it was when he was there.  This team though needs to gel as a team.  Its not a Royce White show, they need to be 5 players acting as 1.  I think he’s also struggling without Bobby Lutz there as an assistant this year.
Wendt – I just have this sneaky feeling that Iowa State is going to have their bubble burst this season, that Missouri game at home with the missed free throws is going to end up being a bad loss I have a feeling (they needed that W for their resume)
Painter – Hoiberg needs to start recruiting high schoolers instead of cast-offs.  Get some role-players on the team rather than the "star players".  Once he gets some role-players the Cyclones will be better.
BlakeThey still have a ton of talent, and it takes time in basketball for a team to come together.  They still could make a legitimate run at the NCAA Tournament, or at the very least, could make a run in the Big 12 tourney.
Zack – Ha, the Transfer Team. Anyways, I do think they have a small shot in dancing in March. Just like the Hawks, they need to find the left side of the column more often in order to do so
BSox – Hoiberg still has a pretty long leash to me. ISU isn't going to fire a legend of their program after two years. Now, if he gets to year four or so, and its still in the same place...then he'll be gone. But I think he's on the right path. These things take time to build.

3.  Tom Brady and the Patriots ended TebowTime and could have put up 60 on the Broncos.  The Ravens got past the 3rd Stringer and now its Patriots-Ravens for the AFC Title.  Reactions on the AFC Divisional Games and Championship Pick?
Matt – Tebow had NO Chance here, I like Denver’s young D but when Brady/Belichek are focused they are going to win and this just seemed like it was a blood bath in waiting.  The Ravens I thought would pull away more and maybe didn’t take Houston seriously and it almost bit them in the end.  I like the Baltimore D but think this Patriots team, especially Tom Brady are focused like no other right now.  Patriots 32-17
Wendt – No surprise on the matchup and would welcome a Baltimore upset (it won't happen though)
Painter – This will be the classic match-up of great offense vs great defense.  In previous years the defense would come out on top more often than not, but this year may be different.  If Baltimore can control the clock with its ground game they'll win, but we all know how tough Bellichick and Brady can be at this point of the playoffs
BlakeI didn't really want Tebow to go out that way this season, but I don't mind the Patriots winning at all.  The Ravens?  Yawn.  They ain't bad, but who cares about them?  I'll take the Patriots.
Zack – The AFC games went as planned, no drama there. I don't see any drama here either: Pats over Ravens 31-21.
BSox – You almost felt sorry for Denver, the pats simply put it to them, and right now I'm kind of going with them for the super bowl champs. The game with Baltimore could go so many different ways, but whether its close or crushing, I’ll take Tom Brady.

4.  Hello Alex Smith.  The once bust QB made plays in the end to top the Saints and now is a game away from the Super Bowl.  The Packers got Discount Double Checked in Lambeau by the Giants (again).  Reactions on the NFC divisional games and Championship Pick?
Matt – Alex Smith played great Saturday.  He made plays when he needed too and the pass to Vernon Davis at the end of the game is going down in SF history.  The Giants I thought would beat Green Bay earlier in the year and this time too.  I like the OL and Eli is underrated, he’s having a heck of a year and is getting out of big brother’s shadow a bit.  For San Fran to win they need more points off turnovers, this game will be a slobber knocker.  49ers 27-23.
Wendt – As I stated last week in this very column (remember, "take it to Vegas?") I was not shocked that New Orleans lost but the Packers was a head scratcher (Rodgers looked all sorts of out of sync for whatever reason) I'll take the Giants to pull another upset and head to the Super Bowl against New England
Painter – I'm still waiting for the Packers to show up to Lambeau for their game.  What a sorry performance by a 15-1 team; they looked no better than 8-8.  I've been worried about Green Bay's defense all year, especially after Nick Collins went out for the year.  I'm kind of surprised the 49'ers were able to keep up with New Orleans but forcing 5 turnovers sure helps.  I think the Giants are on a roll, almost this year's version of the 2010 Packers, and should be able to bring home the hardware, although I'd love for San Francisco to win.
BlakeLove the old school match up.  I'd love to see the 49ers win another one, but man the Giants are rolling.  The Giants have so much more experience at this point too.  I don't like it, but I see the Giants winning.
Zack – I did not see either upset coming. Sure, the Niners were the higher seed, but when you stop the Saints from firing TDs all over the place, I count it as an upset. The Packers getting cheesed out of the playoffs was very surprising, and maybe that NY D-Line needs more credit. Not from me, though. Niners win at home by a David Akers walk-off FG in rainy Candlestick. 26-23.
BSox – There is something to be said for not resting your players when you have such a timing based offense, it showed up all over the place with Rodgers and his receivers. Flip side though, the giants are playing tough good football at the moment. I don’t think they got the packers best shot this past weekend, but they won and they moved on. as for Alex Smith....ugh. He’s not inspiring at all. Yes, he's had a pretty good year, but he is still Alex Smith, and I’m waiting for the wheels to fall off. I’ll still take him over the Giants; I’m not an Eli fan, so it’s hard to root for the giants. Imagine this though, if Eli does make it and we have a rematch of the pats/giants super bowl from a few years ago, you think Brady and the boys forgot about that? I don't think so.

5.  Hazing in Iowa High Schools has become front page news lately, there have been charges and arrests laid down.  In your mind what should be done?  Is this enough?
Matt – First off it’s a shame that any of this happens but in lieu of the Penn State scandal I think the world will be opened up to a lot more of these stories as victims speak up and society is going to get a real kick in the pants at how messed up people are.  The kids that did this should be punished to the fullest extent, removed from any extra circulars and school.   Feel terrible for the victims and what they have to go through. 
Wendt – Hazing has happened for a long time but some of the stuff these kids are doing these days just makes me shake me head and shudder. Coaches and administration needs to be held just as accountable as the kids in my opinion
Painter – One of the first things I'd do is stop the media coverage and recognition altogether.  Then I'd give them time in a pound-me-in-the-a$$ joint.  I know it's been around for a long time and it will continue to differing degrees but I really think the less recognition we give it the sooner the situation will calm down, and I don't mean just turning a blind eye and not thinking it happens
BlakeIt's a tough situation.  Reading Phil Taylor's Point After column in SI a couple weeks ago made the point that he, as a high school coach, no longer is in the locker room when the players are changing, because of the Sandusky effect.  In my mind, knowing what Iowa had been going through, I immediately thought of the fact that that absence will only bring about more hazing incidents.  I would not want to be in that situation, but I think it's more important for the coaches to be present and aware of what their players are doing.
Zack – Do whatever it takes to be done. Period. It needs to cease NOW.
BSox – It’s too bad this happened. Its too bad this happens anywhere. Kids/people can be real A holes sometimes. No matter how much we try to say we're better than this, or we'll work on it, someone has to come along and dump all over it. And for what? Something in high school, because lord knows THAT's the most important thing in your life. My guess is the kids that did this would keep treating people like dirt the older they got, so I'm fine with a harsh punishment. What goes around comes around, and hopefully they learn from their mistakes.

6.  Marcus Coker and now AJ Derby have left the Iowa program, add in record breaker Marvin McNutt, Reily Rieff, Mikel McCall and Norm Parker not coming back for 2012 what are the early early early thoughts of the 2012 version of the Iowa Hawkeyes?
Matt – Well thankfully the schedule is a game in Soldier Field and then 4 straight in Kinnick.  The Coker loss sucks!  The backfield will be young and by committee and Keenan Davis, KMM and CJ will need to grow up quick to help out JVB.  The defense will need to grow up big time too.  Early best case is 9-1 going into the final 2 vs Michigan and Nebraska, the 2 best teams in the Big Ten next year.  Worst Case this is a 7-5 team again. 
Wendt – Not good. I see 7 wins (max) this fall for the Hawks. 
Painter – McNutt is a senior so we knew he'd be gone.  Parker has been heading toward retirement so that's not a surprise.  Rieff is a monster and is smart to take the NFL cash early.  I'm troubled by the amount of transfers though.  I know attrition is normal in college football but this is getting somewhat alarming to me.  We're losing starters and guys who could push for lots of playing time.  It makes me wonder if the coaches are acting like used-car salesmen when they are recruiting.  They promise this awesome program and then it doesn't live up to the hype.  2012 may be a rough year for Iowa fans
BlakeIs it 2013 yet?
Zack – Wait, are the Hawkeyes going to have enough guys for a team come September?
BSox – Let's be honest, Derby probably left because he knew he wasn't going to get a ton of playing time. The Coker loss sucks, as well as McNutt, but that's the way it goes. for me, its way too early to start trying to put together what this team might look like in nine months or whatever it is. So for now, I’ll hold the rest of my thoughts.

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