Interesting travel story of the year No. 1: Men’s hoops at Ohio State, football at Outback

June 11, 2009

schottenstein_centerThe wildest trip I took this season included seven cities in less than four days, more stops than former Miss California Carrie Prejean on a marriage preservation tour. There was anxiety and enjoyment. It included both Iowa football and basketball.

I originally slotted my basketball trips in late September. That included Iowa’s game at Ohio State, which was scheduled for 4 p.m. on Dec. 31. Yep, that’s right, New Year’s Eve. Well, I didn’t want to ring in 2009 in Columbus, Ohio so I scheduled a late-evening flight back to Cedar Rapids. I didn’t expect Iowa’s football team would make a New Year’s Day bowl game so I figured I’d just stick to basketball that day.

In early December, Iowa was selected to play in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 1. I was interested in joining Gazette comrades Marc Morehouse and Mike Hlas in covering the event so I had to rearrange the flight pattern.

The best way I could get from Columbus to Tampa was via Charlotte. I had to leave Columbus at 7:50 p.m. for that flight, but with a 4 p.m. start, making that flight was difficult to say the least. But I tried it anyway.

I flew from Cedar Rapids to Chicago and then Columbus and arrived around midnight on Dec. 30. I staffed a basketball game that appeared to be a blowout in the first half with Ohio State leading 30-15. Then Iowa mounted a major comeback and took the lead in the second half. Needless to say, I was stressed. I wrote most of my story through the game. Iowa had one chance left but freshman Matt Gatens’ last-second three-pointer went astray and Ohio State won 68-65. Had Gatens, who had a great game, hit that shot, the game would have went into overtime and I would have missed my flight. Instead, I made my flight with a few minutes to spare.

I flew to Charlotte first then landed in Tampa around 12:30 a.m. on Jan. 1. Southern cities celebrate the New Year with fireworks, something that surprised me until I realized it’s about 50 degrees warmer there than in Iowa. So it was kind of cool to fly above the fireworks. On the flight to Tampa a depressed couple lamented that they had to kiss each other on the airplane serenaded with a New Year’s countdown by the pilot. Too bad for them.

staduim2By the time I got to the hotel after a stressful trip, it was 1:30 a.m. I arrived at Raymond James Stadium by 8:30 a.m. I watched Iowa beat the living daylights out of South Carolina. I relaxed for a few hours that night before waking at 3 a.m. for a 6 a.m. Eastern flight. I was entertained by the dozens of hungover Iowa fans at the airport, including an old high school friend who hadn’t been to bed since arriving on Dec. 31. Then it was on to Atlanta, St. Louis and then Cedar Rapids.

Sportswriters often get hit with comments like “aww, that must be rough” when we travel to cover teams. But none of those people had to staff a basketball game and make a flight within four hours away with a basketball arena 10 miles from the airport. But getting around one day in 70-degree weather in Tampa made it all worth it.


Delany: Big Ten faces geographic disadvantage in bowls

May 18, 2009
Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss (94) forces a fumble against Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (10) in the BCS title game at Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss (94) forces a fumble against Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith (10) in the BCS title game at Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 8, 2007. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Big Ten has lost its last six Bowl Championship Series games by an average score of 17.3 points.

The Big Ten is 6-16 in bowl games over the same three-year period. The league won only one bowl last year in Iowa’s 31-10 thrashing of South Carolina in the Outback Bowl.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany has not shied from controversy, especially when it relates to his conference’s bowl record. After a 2-5 bowl showing following the 2006 season, Delany took exception to a story that discussed the league’s lack of talent. He even wrote a letter on the league’s Web site that touted the Big Ten’s strengths against the Southeastern Conference.

When discussing the league’s potential for changing its bowl lineup, Delany said the league is almost at a disadvantage when playing bowl games from a geographic perspective.

“I know that from time to time people say you haven’t won enough bowl games,” he said. “Well, not everybody is playing Pac-10 champ in Pasadena. Not everybody is playing the SEC in Orlando and Orlando (Capital One and Champs) and formerly in Nashville (Music City). Not everybody is playing the Southwest Conference (former Big 12 teams) in Texas and Arizona. So it’s been part of our brand to play the best, and just let the chips fall where they may.”

Delany also said competition remains the key factor, not the final result, in picking bowl locations.

“I think opponents are almost one, and location two,” he said. “While these are away competitive locations, they’re not away in terms of where our alums have chosen to retire. They’re not away in terms of where recruiting advantages lie. They’re not away with regard to where our fans like to spend four or five days. But they are away competitively.

“Our teams are built for September and October and December, but they’re also built for late October and November. I think our teams have very good speed, whether or not they have the best speed that you might see in places where the game is always played in good weather.

“I think that if you look at NFL rosters, half of the NFL is played in cold weather, while the bowl games are not. There’s certainly a case to be made by anybody who’s playing for the Cleveland Browns, the Giants, the Patriots, the Packers, etc., on the value of playing in both weather climates.”

Big Ten officials will discuss the league’s bowl lineup this week in their annual meetings. Five of the league’s bowl contracts expire after the season. Those include the Capital One,  Outback, Champs, Alamo and Motor City bowls. The league has four years remaining on contracts with the Rose and Insight bowls.


Big Ten officials to assess bowl lineup

May 17, 2009
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz answers questions from the media during a press conference December 29, 2006 in San Antonio. Iowa and Texas played in the 2006 Alamo Bowl.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz answers questions from the media during a press conference December 29, 2006 in San Antonio. Iowa and Texas played in the 2006 Alamo Bowl.

CHICAGO — The Big Ten’s future bowl lineup could receive a radical — or reserved — makeover this week when league officials, administrators and football coaches conduct their annual meetings.

Five of the league’s seven contracted bowls are up for renewal following the 2009 season. League officials plan to discuss each bowl this week, and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said the league will “explore the (bowl) landscape.”

“We keep in touch with our incumbents,” Delany said. “We really can’t engage in negotiations with others normally under most of the agreements until we engage in good faith negotiations with the incumbents. We can look around, chit chat, find out if there are others that might be interested, but we can’t engage in any sort of serious discussion on business issues until we go through the process with our own.”

The Big Ten has agreements with the Rose Bowl and the Insight Bowl (Phoenix area) until 2013. Bowls up for renewal after the 2009 season include the Capital One and Champs Sports (Orlando, Fla.), Outback (Tampa, Fla.), Alamo (San Antonio) and Motor City (Detroit). The Big Ten’s champion automatically qualifies for the Bowl Championship Series, which includes the Rose Bowl. The league’s runner-up — if it does not qualify for a second BCS bowl — is designated for the Capital One Bowl. The Outback Bowl receives the third team, followed by either the Alamo Bowl or Champs Sports Bowl, then the Insight and Motor City bowls. Last year’s bowls totaled nearly $35 million in revenue for league schools.

The Big Ten last renegotiated bowl contracts in 2005 when it added the Champs and Insight bowls and dropped the Music City (Nashville, Tenn.) and Sun (El Paso, Texas) from its bowl lineup. Delany said at the time the league wanted to add destinations that cater to alumni, many of whom live in Arizona and Florida.

“I have to say we love our alignment,” Delany said. “It’s been good to us. We’ve adjusted from time to time, and even when we’ve adjusted in the past it’s always difficult.

“We never really had a bad bowl relationship. It’s just whether or not find better ones, whether you can improve your lot.”

The Big Ten became one of the first leagues to secure a tie-in for a non-champion when it sent its runner-up to the Holiday Bowl in 1986. The league ended that agreement in 1994, the same year it secured Capital One and Outback bowl agreements. The league began its relationship with the Alamo Bowl one year later.

The league’s contract with the Capital One Bowl earns the league nearly $4.25 million, the top payout among non-BCS bowl games. But Orlando’s 73-year-old stadium’s potential $175 million renovation has stalled, according to the Orlando Sentinel.  The paper reports a slowdown in tourism taxes have placed the project on that community’s back shelf for possibly 10 more years. The Champs Bowl also is played at the same stadium.

“The first thing the commissioners told me was ‘I thought you guys had approved renovation of the stadium. I don’t think you guys realize how important this is for us,’” Florida Citrus Sports chief executive officer Steve Hogan told the paper. ” … I didn’t expect to be shocked as I was about how pointed and concerned our existing sponsors are right now.”

 “We’ve been watching it for a long time,” Delany said. “We’ve been encouraging the city, the bowl, the Florida Citrus Association just to make progress, to move forward, because anybody that follows the college game, whether it’s in urban areas or on campus, facilities have been improving over the last 10, 15, 20 years. We’ve been encouraging that. That will be a factor. How big a factor? It’s to be determined.”

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Iowa under budget at Outback Bowl, loses money on tickets

May 12, 2009
Iowa center Rob Bruggeman leads the team and fans in the fight song after their 31-10 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla., on Jan. 1, 2009. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)

Iowa center Rob Bruggeman leads the team and fans in the fight song after their 31-10 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks at the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, Fla., on Jan. 1, 2009. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa battered South Carolina in the Outback Bowl and won the budget battle, too.

Iowa spent about $1.52 million during its week-long trip to the Tampa, Fla., Outback Bowl in late December and early January. That was about $130,000 under the $1.65 million budget provided by the Big Ten Conference.

“At the end of the day our fans showed up, we won the game, and we came in under budget,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said. “It was a success all the way around.”

Both Iowa and South Carolina were guaranteed at least 11,000 tickets for the Outback Bowl. Iowa’s athletics department sold more than 20,000 tickets in the Hawkeyes’ last Outback Bowl berth on Jan. 2, 2006 and asked for 15,000 tickets to sell to local fans. But Iowa failed to sell nearly 2,300 tickets, costing the department almost $150,000.

“The last time we went down there, we sold over 20,000, so we scaled back to 15,000,” Barta said. “I think what happened, anecdotally, we heard, that a lot of fans were just going to the bowl site and buying their tickets from there just to make sure they got some. At the end of day, I was focused on the bottom line. And the bottom line was we still came in under budget and that was where we wanted to be.”

Barta and department officials estimate 20,000 Iowa fans attended the game, or nearly 37 percent of the 55,117 in official attendance. Barta had expected fewer fans to attend in part because of the economic slowdown, which is why Iowa chose to sell 5,000 fewer than three years ago.

“You want to take care of your fans so you have to make a decision quickly, how many you’re going to purchase versus how many your fans are going to have to purchase from the bowl,” he said. “We’d prefer to have them all come from here, but we scaled back because we knew the economy would have some effect.”

Iowa earned a $3.3 million payout for participating in the Outback Bowl. That money then was given to the Big Ten, which gives each school participating in a bowl a stipend. The extra bowl revenue then is divided among the 11 Big Ten schools and the league office.

Barta said the school donated extra tickets to local charities in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area.

“We’ve done everything from contact some kids’ groups, some local groups, some charity groups and tried to move them out that way,” he said.

Iowa spent more than $1.1 million on team and staff travel, including transportation, meals, lodging and tickets. Marching band expenses totaled $328,340 while expenses for university leaders cost more than $50,000.

Here’s a look at the school’s financial summary:

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA
 

 

DEPARTMENT OF ATHLETICS  

OUTBACK BOWL  

1/1/2009  

INCOME  

Participant’s Share (per Big Ten Conference policy)  

$1,650,000  

EXPENSES  

Athletics Department (Team and Staff)  

Transportation  

$290,842  

Meals, Lodging & Per Diem  

$425,625  

Awards (117 players @ $350)  

$40,950  

Equipment & Supplies  

$20,130  

Tickets (application costs)  

$17,365  

Tickets-Unsold (6 @ $140 + 2,291 @ $65)  

$149,755  

Tickets-Comp (1,277 @ $65)  

$83,005  

Tickets-Comp (69 @ $140)  

$9,660  

Advance Planning Party  

$4,203  

Administrative/Other  

$99,167  

Total Athletics Department Expenses  

$1,140,702  

Marching Band  

Transportation  

$235,310  

Meals, Lodging & Per Diem  

$66,725  

Tickets-Comp (346 @ $65)  

$22,490  

Administrative/Other  

$3,815  

Total Marching Band Expenses  

$328,340  

Institution (UI Leadership, PCA,Other)  

Transportation  

$16,375  

Meals, Lodging & Per Diem  

$30,323  

Tickets-Comp (29 @ $140)  

$4,060  

Administrative/Other  

$0  

Total Institution Leadership  

$50,758  

Total Expenses  

$1,519,800  

Balance  

$130,200  


Greene has detractors, but he’s confident

April 23, 2009
Iowa's Shonn Greene flips into the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 1, 2009.   (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)

Iowa's Shonn Greene flips into the end zone for a touchdown during the second quarter of the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., Jan. 1, 2009. (Jonathan D. Woods/ The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Shonn Greene unanimously was declared the nation’s best running back last fall.

He won the Doak Walker Award, which annually is given to college football’s best running back. He was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year. He was a consensus All-American.

Greene, 23, finished with 1,850 yards and 20 touchdowns, both school records at Iowa. He ran for at least 100 yards in all 13 Iowa games last season and combined both speed and power rarely found in collegiate running backs.

“He’s fast, and he’s big, and he’s a pro,” said former Purdue defensive coordinator Brock Spack, who now is the head coach at Illinois State. “He’s the best back in this conference — bar none. There’s no contest.”

Greene’s college accolades have failed to vault him into the NFL first-round draft discussion. Whether it’s his size (5 feet, 9 inches, 227 pounds), a year of academic ineligibility, only one proven collegiate season or difficulty catching the ball out of the backfield, someone always has something negative to say about Greene.

“I like his running skills. I wish he were a better receiver,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “Catching the football out of the backfield is something he needs to work. If he was a little more complete, he’d be guaranteed a second-round pick.”

Kiper lists Greene anywhere from the NFL draft’s second through fourth rounds. Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Service, LLC., lists Greene as the fourth-best running back entering the draft.

Like Kiper, Shonka is concerned about Greene’s pass-catching skills. But Greene’s downhill running style and experience of running the ball in a zone-blocking scheme could elevate him into the second round.

“A lot of teams run a zone-blocking scheme, and Shonn is perfect because that’s what they teach at Iowa,” Shonka said. “The offensive line is taught pro techniques at Iowa. Shonn is a downhill one-cut runner, so he’s going to fit in a lot of different schemes.

“Obviously, I think the thing that concerns people about Shonn is his ability to block and to catch ball out of the backfield. But they just didn’t throw it to him a lot. And when they did, he kind of fumbled it or double caught it, or he wasn’t smooth catching the ball.”

Greene caught eight passes for 49 yards last season.

In February, Greene struggled in measurable categories at the NFL Combine. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds, but then cut that time to anywhere from 4.59 to 4.50 seconds at Iowa’s pro day, depending on the stopwatches. He also increased his 225-pound bench press repetitions from 19 at the NFL Combine to 23 at Iowa’s pro day.

“I feel like I had a very good day,” Greene said after his pro day workout. “I did everything better than I did at the combine. I ran faster, lifted more reps with the bench, did pro agility faster. I think I did pretty good, caught the ball well.”

Iowa running back Shonn Greene removes athletic wrap from his feet after practice at the University of Tampa on Dec. 26, 2008, in Tampa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Iowa running back Shonn Greene removes athletic wrap from his feet after practice at the University of Tampa on Dec. 26, 2008, in Tampa. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Shonka slotted Greene as a second-round pick to Houston and provide a 1-2 punch with second-year running back Steve Slaton. Kiper raved about Greene’s intangibles when running the football.

“Greene, I think, is a running back,” Kiper said. “You like his determination. I like the low center of gravity, the way he ran with power between the tackles, good balance as well. I like his running skills; I wish he were a better receiver.”

Greene, a junior last season, was ruled academically ineligible for the 2007 season and went to Kirkwood Community College to regain his eligibility. He was on pace to graduate before he declared to enter the NFL draft.

Greene shrugs off the experts’ criticism and instead points to his production last year.

“If you look at the stats and all that, it will tell you that I’m the top back,” Greene said. “You look at some of those guys that I went head-to-head with and some of them I faced the same defense, and I did much better. I’m not worried about that. Whoever takes me is going to get a good running back.”


Slight adds motivation for Brandon Myers

April 19, 2009
Iowa's Brandon Myers misses a pass during the fourth quarter against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on September 27,  2008. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

Iowa's Brandon Myers misses a pass during the fourth quarter against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on September 27, 2008. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Brandon Myers thought he had played himself into the draft discussion.

Good statistics. Started every game for a team that won nine games. Converted three third-down catches into first downs in a bowl game. All-Big Ten selection by the league’s coaches.

But Myers, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end from Prairie City, wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine in February. Initially, it hit him hard that NFL scouts didn’t think he was one of the nation’s top 20 tight end prospects.

“I thought I had good film from this year,” Myers said. “I thought with our success we had and having Shonn (Greene) and Mitch (King) and everyone was watching, getting first-team all-Big Ten, I thought for sure I’d definitely get a shot.

“I was happy for my teammates that got to go but at same thing, I wanted to go. It definitely made me realize I had to work that much more harder and I have that much more to improve. I wasn’t selected in the top 20 tight ends; obviously I have to pick up my game and get better.

Myers, 23, hauled in 34 passes for 441 yards and four touchdowns last year. He earned the Iowa offense’s Coaches Appreciation Award. But neither those statistics or that praise earned him a spot at the NFL Combine.

But that’s not all bad, either. Former Iowa defensive end Aaron Kampman didn’t make the NFL Combine, but he was a fifth-round draft pick. Kampman has played in two Pro Bowls for Green Bay.

“Yeah, that was the first thing Coach (Kirk) Ferentz mentioned to me, which definitely made me feel better,” Myers said. “But obviously I was still disappointed. If things turn out like Aaron Kampman, I’ll be all right with that.”

Myers has gotten some play from NFL scouts and teams within the last month. Scouts from 29 teams watched him and other Hawkeyes compete during pro day in late March. He ran a 4.74 40-yard dash time and had 17 bench press repetitions of 225 pounds.

Myers also has been one of the most active Hawkeyes in taking visits before this weekend’s draft. He’s met with several teams, whose officials conduct interviews similar to those at the combine.

Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout for Ourlads Scouting Services LLC, doesn’t have Myers ranked as a drafted player. But Shonka said Myers has skills that will help get him into a camp and possibly stick with a team.

“He does catch the ball well,” Shonka said. “He screens off blockers. He’s not a big drive blocker for a tight end, which you don’t have to be. You just have to create a little seam where you have somebody run up inside you. He’s that kind of guy.”

Shonka said Myers has an advantage on other tight ends by playing in Iowa’s pro-style offense.

“A lot of them are more like slot guys than tight ends,” Shonka said. “(Myers is) used to blocking in Iowa’s system. That definitely helps him. If he was drafted late, it would not surprise us, but we think probably going to end up being more like a free-agent guy. He’ll have a chance to go to camp and show what he can do.”

That’s just what Myers wants. He and his agents have discussed potential destinations if he doesn’t get drafted. By early April he had visited four NFL teams and several others would like a closer look at a player the teams didn’t interview at the NFL Combine.

“Obviously I’d love to get drafted,” Myers said. “I think taking these visits, it definitely gets my name out there. It’s kind of like the domino effect where one team hears about other teams hear about it and bring me in. I have no idea if I get drafted or where I will be. I just want a shot, just want a chance. It doesn’t really matter where. I just want an opportunity to play.”


Greene wows NFL scouts at Pro Day

March 23, 2009
Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene blasts through South Carolina's defense for a touchdown in the 2009 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)

Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene blasts through South Carolina's defense for a touchdown in the 2009 Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla. (Jonathan D. Woods/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY – Former Iowa running back Shonn Greene wowed NFL scouts at Iowa’s Pro Day on Monday.

Greene, a consensus All-American last fall, sprinted a 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds at Iowa’s indoor facility, according to one scout. That’s about .06 seconds below his time at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis last month. Others had him running as low as 4.5. Those times could also send him up the draft charts as well.

Scouts from at least 29 NFL teams attended Iowa’s Pro Day and three different NFL scouts – all of whom spoke anonymously – were excited about Greene’s performance. Along with lowering his speed, Greene increased his 225-pound bench press repetitions from 19 at the Combine to 23 on Monday.

“He looked good,” one scout said. “Very good.”

Greene, 23, is projected as a late second-round to early third-round draft choice. Many draft predictions have Greene ranked as about the fifth running back slated for the draft. That has Greene somewhat agitated.

“My take on that is I think (Ohio State’s) Beanie Wells and (Georgia’s) Knoshown Moreno … I think (they) are great backs, they just had another year whereas I had only had one year to show what I could do,” Green said. “Ohio State gets a lot of publicity but I don’t make that as an excuse. I just do what I can do.

“If you look at the stats and all that, it will tell you that I’m the top back. You look at some of those guys that I went head-to-head with and some of them I faced the same defense, and I did much better. I’m not worried about that. Whoever takes me is going to get a good running back. That’s how it goes.”

Greene said he uses some of the draft projections as motivation.

“It just makes you work harder,” he said. “When people don’t recognize you as much, it makes you want to work harder and do much better.”

Greene earned the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back last fall. He was the only running back to rush for more than 100 yards in every game. He finished the season with 1,850 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns, school records in both categories. Greene also earned the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player Award.

Greene announced his intentions to enter the NFL draft minutes after Iowa thumped South Carolina 31-10 in the Outback Bowl. He has slimmed down from 235 pounds to 227 and has emphasized strength and speed in his pre-draft training.

“Just being more explosive for the 40, just getting out good and maintaining my speed,” Greene said about his off-season workout. “I’ve been working on my bench a lot, so that improved.”

Greene has stayed in Iowa City to train, except for his combine workout. Several draftniks have downgraded Greene because of character issues. Greene became academically ineligible for the 2007 season and went to Iowa City’s Kirkwood Community College before transferring back to Iowa last fall.

At the combine, Greene said, he repeated the story several times. He told scouts about his part-time job that fall delivering furniture and how it helped mature and re-focus him on football.

“Nobody really asks here,” he said. “I think that’s pretty much under the mat now. I got that story out and everybody knows the deal with that.”

Greene said he plans to keep training in Iowa City for a few more weeks then leave for his hometown of Sicklerville, N.J., shortly before the draft, which takes place April 25-26. He’s unsure who might take him, and he’s not focused on the possibilities right now. He grew up 30 minutes from Philadelphia and often rooted for the Eagles, but he’s not picky.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I’ve been watching (the draft) for the last three years, and it only takes one team. You never know. Hopefully I’ll go as high as I can and just wait for the best.”


Outback Bowl win worth major cash to Ferentz

December 11, 2008

Iowa stands two spots outside the USA Today Coaches’ Poll Top 25. If the Hawkeyes beat South Carolina in the Outback Bowl and jump back into the Top 25, it’s worth major bucks for Coach Kirk Ferentz.

A clause in Ferentz’s contract states if the team finishes the season in that poll’s Top 25, Ferentz receives a $100,000 bonus. If Iowa happens to jump several spots and land in the Top 20, that bonus increases to $125,000.

The Outback Bowl already has added some major coin to Coach Kirk Ferentz’s pocketbook. Ferentz, who is the highest-paid state employee, has a contract clause that if Iowa participates in a bowl paying out more than $1 million, he gets a $75,000 bonus. The Outback Bowl guarantees at least $3 million for its participants.


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