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Bryce Miller’s 3 for 3: Iowa football will be among the Big Ten’s best in …

[ 0 ] August 19, 2013 |

The 3 for 3 blog makes a football forecast …

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1: HAWKEYE PREDICTION PAST, AND ONE LOOKING AHEAD — In early August, I wrote that the steering wheel to Iowa’s offensive likely belonged to Jake Rudock — something essentially confirmed this weekend when the 6-3, 200-pound sophomore took the snaps with the Hawkeyes’ offensive starters.

That doesn’t mean junior Cody Sokol or redshirt freshman C.J. Beathard will never see the huddle with the clock running, by any stretch. But it appears Rudock, the steadiest hand early after practice snaps as the team’s No. 2 a season ago, gets the early nod.

Jake Rudock talks about his performance as the season approaches:

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Here’s a new prediction: If Iowa’s running backs and offensive line remains healthy, the team will surprise and be among the best rush offenses in the Big Ten.

That only will happen, though, if Iowa’s quarterbacks — Rudock and Co. — become more productive in the offense of coordinator Greg Davis. A season ago, James Vandenberg transformed from one of the most effective single-season quarterbacks in Iowa history to one of the least.

Iowa’s season unraveled in a three-play span against Penn State, when offensive line staples Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal suffered season-ending injuries. Iowa never won again — and begins 2013 on a six-game losing skid.

Scherff is healthy, right tackle Brett Van Sloten is an anchor up front and much is expected of incoming center Austin Blythe.

Add in a diverse mix of talent at running back — bruiser Mark Weisman, high-potential ball carrier Damon Bullock and field-stretcher Jordan Canzeri — and Iowa has the potential to be impressive on the ground.

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2: DES MOINES CHASES NEW SPORTS STAGE — Greg Edwards, president of the Greater Des Moines Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the city has paired with Northern Iowa to make a bid today for the final rounds of the NCAA Division I volleyball championships.

The state has hosted NCAA volleyball before — Iowa State is the site of a regional in 2014 — but never the late rounds.

The NCAA has indicated that cities seeking and hosting a more diverse mix of sports, along with sports at other levels (Des Moines plans to chase Division III swimming and diving as well), will increase consideration for NCAA men’s basketball bids.

Iowa State coach Christy Johnson-Lynch said exposing the state to the title-deciding matches would provide enormous local benefit.

“If you haven’t been to matches, you might be surprised at how exciting and fast-paced it is,” Johnson-Lynch said. “It’s so much quicker than watching football or baseball, or maybe even basketball. There’s something going on every minute.

“Plus, it’s more intimate. You can get closer, see facial expressions, hear what they’re saying and probably meet the coaches and players afterward.”

Here are highlights and interviews from Iowa State’s upset of No. 1 Nebraska last September:

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Which makes me wonder:

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3: ONE-LINERS — A little about a lot …

—     The Summer of Harrison: NBA player Harrison Barnes of Ames spent 12 days in China this summer, visiting cities that included Shanghai and Beijing. The trip promoted the NBA Global Games, a pair of matchups between the Los Angeles Lakers and Barnes’ Golden State team (Oct. 15, 18). The coolest thing about the trip: “Toured the Forbidden City,” Barnes said via text.

—     Zach, again: Week after week, we keep talking about the unmatched streak of Iowa PGA golfer Zach Johnson. The white-hot run continued, as Johnson collected a fifth straight Top 10 finish with a tie for fifth at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. Rather than go through all the Cedar Rapids native is doing, again, I’ll just say “ditto” on the item from last week … HERE.

—     Iowa’s Little Leaguers: Kiddo kudos to Urbandale, which evened up its Little League World Series record at 1-1 with a nail-gnawing, 6-5 win Saturday over a team from Grosse Pointe, Mich. It was just the second victory by an Iowa team in 17 games since 2000. Urbandale plays at 7 p.m. tonight. A second loss would eliminate the team from championship contention. Read about the funny, talended team … HERE.

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Follow Miller on Twitter: @Bryce_A_Miller

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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