This may be old news to most of the hard working residents of the great state of Iowa, but I want to join in the hoopla.
What hoopla exactly?
The Black & Gold Blowout is back and better than ever, BABY (I'll give you all a minute to do your best Dickie-V impersonation, as I know it's been a while).
Anyways, on Friday, October 19 at 8 p.m., the University of Iowa will reintroduce this event for the first time in one-a-many moons. If you don't know much about Iowa Basketball because of the three to four year suck-a-thon they put on, this is a major deal.
The reemergence of this event is proof that the Iowa Athletic Department is finally happy shelling out money in support of their basketball program once again.
Yes, to the actual program, not just to a terrible coach's early retirement fund.
What once was a yearly staple, got abruptly taken away due to the lack of continual support of the basketball program.
Before Iowa basketball was better known as an annual bed-wetter, witnessing a game in Carver Hawkeye Arena, with a packed Hawks Nest, was the popular thing to do in Iowa City.
Kind of like taking pictures of older pictures, uploading them to Instagram and tagging it as #TBT.
I'm talking sell out crowds. An undefeated home season. A Big Ten Tournament Championship. NCAA Tournament bids.
Speaking of #ThrowBack, the last time Iowa was prevalent in the month of March was during the 2005-2006 season, when the Hawkeyes finished the season ranked #11 nationally after winning the Big Ten Tournament Championship. They nailed down a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament and looked to do some damage deep into the brackets.
Well, that was before the Hawkeyes fell to the deepest depths of their basketball hell, and the only way out was to undergo a continual five-year kick in the balls.
Iowa would eventually lose to #14 seeded Northwestern State 64-63, on a last second shot. Steve Alford, unable to recover after that heart breaker, left one year later for New Mexico State. Todd Lickliter then bolted from Butler for Iowa after the Hawkeyes' Athletic Director, Gary Barta, made it rain on that...you know what.
That is when the bottom fell completely out from under the program.
Who would have known hiring a coach that had little to no Big Ten recruiting knowledge and an offensive game plan, that my set-shot shooting grandfather wouldn't have been attracted to, wouldn't have worked?
Surely, it wasn't all the coaches fault (but most of it was).
A portion of the problem has always been the perception at the University of Iowa as being primarily a football, then wrestling school. That idea was never more prevalent than during those long five years as numbers dwindled, fans stopped showing up, players transferred at an alarming rate, opposing fans bought more tickets than locals and Iowa finished a three year period having gone 15-39 in Big Ten play.
Oh, and to make matters even worse, Lickliter "stole" $1.2 million a year and his walk-on son got sufficient playing time.
Ain't that a kick in the head?
But now things are different and there hasn't been a better time for change.
Consider this: Iowa, as a football school, is biting the big one.
Though they are 2-1, Iowa has yet to pass for a touchdown (after promising a more exciting aerial attack), redshirt freshman Jake Rudock (Iowa's backup quarterback) has as many touchdowns as senior James Vandenberg on the season and Mark "Heisman" Weisman has 3/4's of Iowa's total offensive touchdowns after one game (three).
With fans comparing the 2012 football team to the likes of 2007's crap fest (6-6 overall, no bowl game), Iowa's basketball season can't come soon enough.
Expectations honestly haven't been higher since the start of that 2006 NCAA Tournament and the Black & Gold Blowout will be the official start of the exciting future Coach McCaffery has ushered in.
And how could you not be pumped?
This event couldn't be happening at a more perfect time. Not only will the blowout be on a Friday night, but it is the Friday night before the football teams only October home game against Penn State.
From The Gazette:
“The Blowout on a football weekend makes great sense because it gives our tremendous fans, some of whom otherwise might not get to Carver, a chance to see our team,” added McCaffery. “However, I also know how important game days are for our football fans and for me and my staff from a recruiting perspective, so I’m excited about the opportunity to jump start the new season with a Friday night event.”
Fans? High profile recruits? Genuine excitement for basketball? A dunk contest? A three point contest? Live scrimmage? Fanfare? Photo ops? Autograph sessions? A Todd Lickliter dummy being shot out of a cannon into the Iowa City night? Aaron White's red hair? Slime Time Live with Melsahn Basabe? White Magic fighting a group of folding chairs?
No. It's the return of Iowa Basketball and not a minute too soon.
I will personally be attending this event and will be live tweeting the shenanigans and hoopla as they come; so be sure to follow me @JerJr33 for live updates.
What I would like to do the week before the event is start a weekly column (which will run through the entire basketball season), where you the readers tweet me your Hawkeye Basketball or Big Ten Basketball questions. Once a week, I will pick out a handful of them and answer them right here on Bleacher Report.
You can start sending them my way now. Just make sure to add the hashtag #BRHawksNest at the end of all your questions.
Oh and for all of you that want more information on the Black & Gold Blowout, here is the Official release from the University of Iowa.
Basketball season is upon on us ladies and gents and it finally doesn't reek of feces and urine.
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