The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, Sept. 13.
The FCS challenge (seriously)
Iowa is hosting a FCS team on Saturday. Typically, that’s as close to a bye week as a Big Ten team should get on a game week.
But North Dakota State isn’t your normal FCS team.
All the Bison have done is win five straight games against FBS teams and bring home five straight FCS national titles. North Dakota State is No. 1 in the current FCS poll and certainly this underdog packs a nasty bite.
“They are a great team,” Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell said. “They have been a great team over the past. We need to stay focused this whole week and get ready for them.”
The Hawkeyes know the challenge they’re facing. They won’t be overlooking a team that won’t be intimidated by playing a Big Ten foe and is more than capable of leaving Kinnick Stadium with a win.
In fact, it says here in the Wake-Up Call the Bison will be the Hawkeyes’ biggest challenge yet this season. More will likely be learned in this game than the first two. That’s the caliber of team North Dakota State is bringing to town.
Iowa’s All-American invasion
Iowa commitment Tristan Wirfs broke some news on Monday night. He is headed to the U.S. Army All-American game.
— Big T (@TristanWirfs74) September 13, 2016
Wirfs, from Mount Vernon, Iowa, is a three-star 247sports composite recruit. He’s a key member of a strong Iowa recruiting class that, as running back commit Eno Benjamin is quick to point out, now holds three U.S. Army All-American game selections.
Aj, Tristian, & I all on the same All American team! ????
— Eno Benjamin™ (@eno_benjamin5) September 13, 2016
The U.S. Army All-American game is arguably the biggest all-star game in the country. Landing three players (defensive end A.J. Epenesa is the other) in it is a strong signal that there are several potential difference makers in the 2017 class for Iowa — and that those outside the Iowa football office think that’s the case.
A homecoming — sort of
North Dakota State coach Chris Klieman grew up in Waterloo, Iowa. Like most kids in eastern Iowa he did develop an affinity for the black and gold. He even made a point to follow Iowa last season.
“I was rooting for the Hawkeyes on the Rose Bowl and that was a tough game for them and they would be the first to admit it,” Klieman said. “That can’t take away from the incredible season that that team had.”
Klieman isn’t a fan. He’s a coach and he’s viewed how Iowa responded to the 45-16 loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl like someone with a whistle in his hand at practice.
“You can tell to start off this season two things,” Klieman said, “How much confidence these guys are playing with because of the success that they’ve had and they are playing with a chip on their shoulder. OK, we didn’t do well to end the season, but we are going to try to get back to that same stage they were at this past year.”
How big of a fan are you?
Cory Brown, of Ripley, Iowa is a huge Hawkeye fan. If asking him isn’t enough he’ll show you, just like he did to KCCI TV reporter Eric Hanson in this video.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) September 12, 2016
The whole thing is kind of funny. Brown going “Oh, you think that’s a nice shirt,” when describing his Iowa top, before revealing his belly tattoo and following it up by saying “Bam! Look at this! That just happened” still has me chuckling.
Two-deep two thoughts
My colleague Scott Dochterman did a great job breaking down the latest Iowa depth chart.
A few quick thoughts. The Wake-Up Call wrote on Monday that the Hawkeyes would likely be without center James Daniels. Seeing Lucas LeGrand listed as the starting center proves Iowa considers that the case too.
Also, it shows plenty of faith in LeGrand after his first career start. LeGrand didn’t hinder the offense against Iowa State, but he was far from the best offensive linemen. Pro Football Focus thought that honor went to Ike Boettger. Getting LeGrand, a sophomore, more extensive playing time until Daniels is healthy will only help Iowa in the long-term.
Iowa picked up two basketball commitments over the weekend. Luka Garza, a 6-foot-11 center, committed on Saturday.
— Luka Garza (@LukaG_55) September 10, 2016
Jack Nunge, a 6-foot-9 power forward, committed on Sunday.
— Jack Nunge (@jnunge30) September 12, 2016
These two players, along with the commitment of Iowa City West’s Connor McCaffery, puts the Hawkeyes two over the scholarship limit. This isn’t something to get worked up about. Why? Take a look the 2016 transfer list, courtesy of ESPN. It’s nearly as long as “War and Peace.”
Players transfer every year. Lots of them. This is how college basketball operates. Brandon Hutton and Andrew Flemming each transferred from Iowa after last season.
The fact Iowa is over the scholarship limit will likely take care of itself by the time the 2017-18 season rolls around. It’s nothing to be concerned about right now.