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Hawks Collect National Hardware

Hawks Collect National Hardware

12/12/2002 by Jon Miller of Hawkeye Nation


'Ace is the place with the helpful Hardware man’

I am sure you have heard that jingle before.

But if you are a college football fan, and you are in the market for some real hardware, you don’t need to look any further than Iowa City for a treasure trove of trophies.

And the Hawks might not be done yet.

In the last two days, Brad Banks was named the Associated Press Player of the Year, Nate Kaeding won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best place kicker, and Dallas Clark took home the John Mackey Award that goes to the nation’s best tight end.

Banks will not get a chance to defend his honor, but Kaeding and Clark will both be back in Iowa City next year and will be the odds on favorites to win those awards in 2003.

Banks also won the coveted Silver Football Award from the Chicago Tribune, the award that goes to their Big Ten Player of the Year. Banks was named the league’s offensive Player of the Year in November. 11 Hawkeyes earned 1st team all Big Ten honors this season, a new Big Ten conference record.

One of the most remarkable football seasons in Iowa history is being followed up by one of the best December’s in Iowa history on the award banquet circuit.

Note to Hawks: Go easy on the gravy, and always bring a backup tie in case you are a sloppy eater.

Of course, the most important trophy to Iowa right now, outside of the Big Ten Championship Trophy they earned for their perfect 8-0 Big Ten season and bringing home the bacon that is Floyd of Rosedale is the silver cup full of Oranges that goes to the winner of the Orange Bowl.

If the Hawkeyes are fortunate enough to beat USC, they will have achieved a perfect ending to what will undoubtedly be the most national television and radio exposure that any Iowa athletic program has ever enjoyed.

I mean, you have to listen to Rush Limbaugh or Dr. Laura to escape the national talking heads talking about the Iowa Hawkeyes.

You have to watch Jerry Springer to avoid seeing highlight footage of Brad Banks all over your television. For the record, a Banks scramble is much more pleasant to watch than a naked 300-pound plumber who agreed to go on Springer’s show to confront his ex-wife who has been sleeping with his tool chest. But that is another story, err, channel.

The Tigerhawk has been seen more times on ESPN in the last few weeks than Dick Vitale, or it just seems like it.

Iowa assistant coach Ron Aiken was named Assistant Coach of the Year, Brad Banks leads just about every Heisman Trophy Poll you can find and the Iowa fans made sure to get Banks an extra point as they carried him to the top of Suzuki’s Fan Ballot at ballot.

The Iowa fans are also jamming the in boxes of several national Heisman voters who have said they are putting their votes up to the fans.

Speaking of Iowa fans, you have certainly taken your great reputation up another notch. Iowa sold its initial allotment of 15,000 tickets in short order and they went through an additional 8,000 tickets as well. All of that happened in little more than 24 hours after ABC announced that Iowa would be headed to Miami.

The reputation/myth of Iowa fans traveling in droves to bowl games has been verified and it might not be out of the realm of possibility to see upwards of 35,000 black and gold clad Iowa fans invading South Beach on January 2nd.

While that is a great testament to the support that Iowa fans have for their Hawkeyes, it also ensures that the Hawkeyes will get more than just your ‘normal’ consideration from the major bowls the next time the Hawkeyes fly this high; the BCS bowl committee members will notice this.

While some schools can try to promise that they will sell 25,000 tickets or bring x number of fans to a bowl game, Iowa can proudly point to the amazing turnout by its supporters for the 2003 Orange Bowl as an indisputable fact of following.

Iowa’s coaches and players don’t have time to stop and smell the Oranges, as there is plenty of work to be done between now and January 2nd, and their opponent is fast, explosive and exciting.

But there have been a few reports circulating in and around Iowa City that Hawkeye Offensive Coordinator Ken O’Keefe has been seen in public cracking a smile here and there and even laughing, all of this within sight of a media member or two.

This is truly a December to remember.

Hawkeye NationHawkeye Nation was founded by Jon Miller, and later acquired by Rivals and Sports Illustrated. You can visit them at

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Hawks Collect National Hardware - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games