Final Outback Bowl Thoughts

fightsongoutback–Matt Nelson

Thanks to everybody who read this blog and chose KCRG-TV for coverage of the Outback Bowl!

Iowa looked very good in Thursday’s Outback Bowl. This was a team that certainly got better as the year went on and finished the season on a fantastic 4 game winning streak. Of course a person can play the “what if” game with regards to the 4 games that Iowa lost by a combined total of 12 points. So close, and yet so far.

sashoutbackintWhile the Hawkeyes do lose King, Kroul, Greene (no surprise with that annoucement) and others, this is still a pretty young team that will have high(er) expectations in the fall of 2009. It seems that recent Iowa teams have done better when the expectations were lower (such as prior to 2008).

The Outback Bowl was a well run bowl from my standpoint. For the most part everything that the media needed to get to was located in a pretty small area (with the exception of the Beach Day) which makes it easier when trying to cover almost all of the events.

100_7647Raymond James Stadium is a very nice stadium. Probably not quite as nice as another place Iowa played this year, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, but very nice. The exterior doesn’t look quite as nice as Heinz, and the location isn’t as scenic either, but it’s a top of the line facility (which is why it hosts the Super Bowl in less than a month!). You have to give them credit for the pirate ship at the north end of the stadium, that certainly makes Raymond James unique.

I was out on the field prior to the game and the field was in decent, but not great condition. Not only do the Tampa Bay Bucs play there, but so do the University of South Florida Bulls. I would expect that they will rip out all of the grass and replace the field prior to the Super Bowl.

100_7649It’s always fun working a bowl game with John Campbell. He’s been to many of them and knows how to make TV9’s coverage include everything that’s important, and how to make that coverage unique!


greeneoutbacktdIowa’s trip to the 2009 Outback Bowl, a dominant team performance in the bowl, and the conclusion of one of the greatest individual performances any Hawkeye has had in a single season.


Hawks Win!

ferentzkingpic–Matt Nelson

The Hawks cruised 31-10 over South Carolina today!

View KCRG’s coverage of the big win here:

Catching a plane to Minneapolis right now!

Today’s the Day

rjstadiumwide–Matt Nelson

Happy New Year to all! It’s gameday if you’re in the Eastern Time Zone which the KCRG-TV9 Tampa Bureau is!

There’s something to be said for being able to watch the New York ball drop live from the same time zone!

Less than 11 hours until kickoff.

(Posted at 12:04am (EST) 1.1.09)

It Sounds Like “Eeyore,” but with a “B” in it

–Matt Nelson

100_7634Ybor City was the place to be in Tampa tonight. As the subject suggests, it’s got a funny pronunciation. “Ybor” is pronounced like “EE-bohr.”

The Outback Bowl Parade ran down 7th Avenue in Ybor City tonight. The Hawkeye Marching Band was there, and so was the Waverly-Shell Rock High School Marching Band. They looked and sounded good! We also caught up with them at practice earlier in the day, you can find coverage of the W-SR Band under “As Seen on KCRG” to the right, or

Ybor City is a historic neighborhood just a little north and east of downtown Tampa. It used to be known for the cigar factories there and today it is the site of bars, restaurants and shops as well. A pretty cool area with lots to do and it has a cool architectural look to it, with some buildings looking a bit like the French Quarter in New Orleans.


Photos from the Outback Bowl Parade in Ybor City




Making Deadline

New Year's Eve Night Editing

New Year's Eve Night Editing

–John Campbell


As  I stood outside WFTS-TV the other night waiting to do a live report back to the station I was struck by how far we have come in getting our product (video reports) from faraway places to the station.

When I worked in Green Bay in the 1970’s, we would have to drive our undeveloped film to the nearest major airport and ship it back via air freight.  Once it arrived at it’s desination (which was usually the next day) the film had to be developed and a report put together.

By the early 80’s we were using video tape cameras and going to nearby ABC affiliates to edit the video on machines we weren’t used to and then trying to uplink it via satellite transmission. That was always a touch and go proposition  in the early days.  Prior to the 1982 Iowa Peach Bowl I did the first live satellite feed to KCRG-TV. The shot originated from the studios of WSB-TV in Atlanta.

The advent of satellite trucks gave us more mobility so we could feed from stadiums, etc. We actually took the TV9 satellite truck to the 2003 Orange Bowl in Miami and it was  great working out of our own equipment for the first time ever and not having to rely on a local  ABC station.

Now another step forward in technology. We (Matt Nelson) is doing all of our editing on a laptop computer and feeding the video back to KCRG via the internet. It is not as instantaneous as a satellite feed. A minute, twenty second  report might take 15 minues to reach the station. In a business where deadlines are always looming, that can be critical. 

 I know it will be critical after the Outback Bowl. Matt and I will have about two hours to put together and send two game reports back to the station and rush to the airport to make a 6:15 flight.  At least we are the ones getting on the plane, not a sack of film like the “good old days.”

I Never Heard the Punchline

100_7622–Matt Nelson

Keys, but not the usual Florida Keys

The Hawkeyes and Hawkeye fans were out in full force at Clearwater Beach Tuesday. On a beautiful sunny 75 degree day, what could anger the bumble bees?


Running Back Shonn Greene and Wide Receiver Andy Brodell went up on stage to receive a key to the city of Clearwater from the mayor. The mayor seemed like a nice enough guy. However he quickly garnered the angst of all Hawkeye faithful in attendance.

100_7621His joke started as follows, and as the title of this entry suggests, I didn’t hear the end…”You know there are two things that Clearwater and Ames have in common today…”

My first reaction was that he was going to take a shot at Iowa State. Not the case. Unfortunately for Mr. Mayor, he was under the impression that the University of Iowa is in Ames. I bet he’ll remember the next time the Hawks play in the Outback Bowl after the fans let him have it.

Matt Nelson’s Random Thoughts

– It was great to see a huge turnout at Clearwater Beach for the Outback Bowl at the Beach Day events. The only problem is that to get to Clearwater Beach there is just one road in and out. This presents considerable traffic problems when thousands of football fans try to visit the same spot at the same time. When the team buses get police escorts in and out, it complicates things too. Beautiful beach, but from a transit and parking standpoint, it gets a little ugly.

– I’ve eaten at the original Kentucky Fried Chicken restaraunt in Corbin, Kentucky (it’s worth a stop for the small museum). Unfortunately the highway was as close as I got to the original Hooters in Clearwater as time did not allow for a stop. I am told the original Outback Steakhouse can be found in this area too. And to think, all this time I thought the first one was in Australia. So disappointing;).

Photos from Outback Bowl Beach Day







The Day Ricky wasn’t Ricky

122808stanziatpractice–John Campbell

What a difference two years has made for two of Iowa’s top offensive players. When the Hawks perpared for Texas in the 2006 Alamo Bowl, Shonn Greene was the subject of a little experiment and Ricky Stanzi was not Ricky Stanzi. Ricky was running the Iowa scout team and thus he was Colt McCoy, the Longhorn quarterback.  Stanzi laughs at the thought. “I was no Colt McCoy,’ he said.  He does admit the extra practice provided by the bowl experence definitely helped the young players.

Then there was the Shonn Greene experiment.  The Hawkeye braintrust decided to take at look at him at safety. The coaches knew Greene was a great athlete and they were trying to figure out some way to get him on the field.

Two years later coordinators Norm Parker and Ken O’Keefe smile when reminded of the experiment. Parker says Greene would have been the biggest safety around. Probably a better linebacker. O’Keefe just says he is glad Greene is back on the offensive side of the ball.

122808greeneatpracticeThursday, ShonnGreene will most likely wear his number 23 Iowa jersey for a final time. Most expect him to declare early for the NFL draft. Before he does that he has one more game to add to his single season rushing record. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t playing last year. Not bad for a guy who was being looked at as a defensive back the last time Iowa went to a bowl game.