SPORTS

3 and Out

Jack Rogers nailed this 12-0 thing and Mr. Professional Sportswriter did not

1. BLACKANDGOLDFIRE — Jack Rogers saw this coming, you guys. He blogged it. On Aug. 6, he marked the Hawkeyes down for an undefeated season.

Jack took it a step, a couple of steps, actually, farther. He has the Hawkeyes 15-0, beating Ohio State, 57-50, in the national title game.

Jack Rogers had the Hawkeyes perfect. It’s right here for everyone to see. He showed his work, too.

In the College Football Playoff semifinals, Jack has Iowa tipping Georgia, 40-39. How? “Iowa does a flick toss to Austin Blythe and he is going to HAMMER IT HOME for a last second WIN on a two-point conversion!”

Jack knows his Hawkeyes. The 2014 season isn’t far from his mind. You can see it in his Maryland prediction.

“Iowa wins because they play better and no blown leads or bad things . . . at all.”

Jack is 7, and he nailed the Hawkeyes perfect season on his blog “BLACKANDGOLDFIRE.” Check it out. His most recent post is an interview with Iowa O-lineman Steve Ferentz, the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz and brother of O-line coach Brian Ferentz. This is an interview I’ve been trying to score for months, but Jack beat me to it.

I’m going to claim Jack has an advantage. His dad, Jonathan, is Iowa City High’s journalism adviser. So, Jack has the innate skills and instincts of a high-level journalist. Plus, all these young guys have me beat on the technology end of things. Plus, you see that smile. I’m totally out of my element here.

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Remember when we all saw sports this way? Remember before it became a big, giant flamewar on social media? Remember before we were so wrapped up in it that when our favorite team loses our entire day is shrouded in flashbacks to that one missed field, block or opportunity. It flashes and flashes. You click on the links nor will you read about it. You avoid all of the highlights. You block your favorite team’s Twitter account.

Jack’s blog took me right back to the gangly Dubuque kid who wore his Cubs hat every day in third grade, only taking it off for class and mass. Trust me, the Cubs weren’t winning anything in the 1970s. That was devotion, untinged by the things that fill our minds about sports these days. You had a pennant in your bedroom. Your social media was playing baseball, maybe talking some trash with your Pittsburgh Pirates-loving neighbor.

I’m not going to lament the now. I’m good with the now. I enjoy and appreciate 98 percent of the social media interaction I have with Iowa fans. In a lot of ways, this is fantastic time to be a sports fan. The information is out there and can be delivered to your Twitter doorstep by simply following the right Twitter account (it’s @marcmorehouse, by the way).

Still, it’s good to let a little innocent joy into your heart.

Jonathan Rogers, who’s in his seventh year at City High, has experienced the big-time sports landscape. He was the sideline assistant for ESPN Holly Rowe from 2002-04 while getting his MAT in English education at Iowa.

“I think Jack has taught me how to be a better Hawk fan,” Jonathan said to me via Twitter this morning.

I clicked on Jack’s blog this morning. I saw a wide-eyed young fella who posted pictures with a lot of Hawkeyes, including QB C.J. Beathard, who is, almost literally, the Hawkeye Elvis this year. There’s RB Jordan Canzeri, TE George Kittle, kicker Marshall Koehn.

Jack is clearly into his Hawkeyes. His prediction for this year’s Wisconsin game: “Everything is AWESOME! Iowa wins because we should have beat them last year.”

Of course, it’s been a brilliant, perfect year and Jack called it. Let’s not get into what I thought was going to happen (OK, OK, I had 8-4).

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He hasn’t had to do it this year, but Jack can flush the losses, his dad said. It’s a great big world out there. Pretty cool to see this glimpse through the eyes of a 7-year-old.

“It is all about the experience and if we lose it is gone and he is off to the next thing,” Jonathan said.

By the way, Jack and Jonathan hopped in the family vehicle and made the five-hour drive to Indianapolis on Friday. Yes, there’s a big, huge game. Also, what a cool, fun father-son experience.

2. On “Josey” — Yes, Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell is named after the character in the 1976 Clint Eastwood movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” And, yes, now it fits like one of those gloves that all linebackers wear into games.

It wasn’t always this way.

“My dad (Bobby) named me after the character because he liked the movie,” said Jewell, a former Decorah prep who leads the Hawkeyes in tackles from his middle linebacker spot. “I’m fine with the name, I guess.”

Yes, Josey, it’s a perfect name for a high-level Big Ten linebacker (Jewell, a sophomore, was named second-team all-conference this week). But in grade school? His classmates went to town.

“It did suck a lot when I was younger,” he said with a laugh. “People saying it’s a girl’s name and stuff like that. Now, it’s nice to have that name and not have it be considered so girlie.”

3. Big Ten Nerd Game — OK, there’s only one game and it’s the championship game. It’s clearly not the nerd game, so here is the angle this week: 5-7 bowl teams.

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Three teams out of the Big Ten West finished with 5-7 records — Nebraska, Minnesota and Illinois. All three have said they would happily take bowl bids, which will be based on Academic Progress Rate scores (APR). It depends who many 5-7 teams will be needed. That number will be locked in after this weekend and it could be as many as five.

Nebraska is in good position here. Well, “good.” Minnesota’s APR is healthy. Illinois is third among Big Ten teams, but is up there, too. So, the B1G could have three 5-7 teams in bowls and thus fill all of its bowl contracts.

Is that good? It depends what you think about bowls. If you hold them in a championship/reward regard, then, no, it’s not cool, not cool at all. If you see them for what they really are, postseason exhibition games at neutral sites, then, why the heck not?

It’s football. We all want more football. Yes, we have our standards, but tell yourself that when we drift into the Horse Latitudes and the next game is nine months in the distance.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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