By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The two guys who can’t seem to agree on anything because one always sees the glass half full and the other sees it half empty were at it again recently.
Mr. Optimist and Mr. Pessimist have been waging an ongoing battle about sports-related topics for nearly 20 years and here is their latest debate.
Mr. Optimist: Nate Stanley has combined for 5,351 passing yards and 52 touchdown passes over the past two seasons. The 52 scoring strikes are the most by an Iowa quarterback in back-to-back seasons.
Mr. Pessimist: In addition to former tight ends Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson catching 27 of those scoring strikes, Iowa also has a 9-9 record in conference play over the past two seasons with Stanley at quarterback.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa’s season opener against Miami (Ohio) on Aug. 31st is just 49 days from now and can’t get here soon enough.
Mr. Pessimist: I’m too old to just wish my summer away.
Mr. Optimist: Urban Meyer recently announced that he would be co-hosting a podcast that will focus on how to build elite leadership, culture and behavior in teams and organizations.
Mr. Pessimist: Urban Meyer giving advice on leadership, culture and behavior would be the like the late G.G. Allin giving advice on proper hygiene and how to interact with an audience.
Mr. Optimist: The Big Ten West Division would benefit from Nebraska having a revival under head coach Scott Frost.
Mr. Pessimist: The last thing we need is for the most insufferable and delusional fan base in the world to actually have something to brag about that doesn’t date back to the 1990s.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa is thought to have arguably the top pair of offensive tackles returning in the Big Ten in juniors Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs, both of whom also project as possible high picks in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Mr. Pessimist: That might be the case, but then how do explain the fact that Iowa only averaged 148.4 rushing yards per game last season?
Mr. Optimist: The Iowa men’s basketball team has made the NCAA Tournament in four of the last six seasons and is coming off a season in which it won 23 games and was just an overtime loss against Tennessee from advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in 20 years.
Mr. Pessimist: The Iowa men’s basketball team has failed to make the NCAA Tournament in two of the last three seasons and hasn’t won more than one game in the NCAA Tournament since 1999.
Mr. Optimist: Considering that Iowa and Iowa State both could be ranked when they meet in their annual showdown on Sept. 14 in Ames, it would seem the ideal setting for ESPN College GameDay.
Mr. Pessimist: Yeah, just what the game needs; three hours of Desmond Howard saying why Michigan will win the national title this season.
Mr. Optimist: Before he is finished at Iowa State, Matt Campbell will be considered the greatest football coach in program history.
Mr. Pessimist: One more eight-win season should do it, considering Iowa State’s tradition.
Mr. Optimist: The annual Big Ten football media day event will be held next Thursday and Friday at the Hilton Chicago, which is also where the final scenes to the 1993 movie classic “The Fugitive” starring Harrison Ford were filmed.
Mr. Pessimist: And for a cost of about $300 a night, you could stay there and relive the scene in which Dr. Richard Kimble confronts Dr. Charles Nichols at the pharmaceutical convention.
Mr. Optimist: Fred Hoiberg will lift the Nebraska men’s basketball team to unprecedented success, sooner than later.
Mr. Pessimist: Winning one NCAA Tournament game would be unprecedented success for Nebraska.
Mr. Optimist: More and more schools are now selling beer at college football games, and it’s only a matter of time before Iowa joins the party.
Mr. Pessimist: We can look forward to waiting in long lines and spending at least 10 bucks for a small glass of beer.
Mr. Optimist: The rise of the Big Ten Network, and television as a whole, has created a massive revenue stream from which every school now greatly benefits.
Mr. Pessimist: I'll remind myself of that the next time the Iowa men's basketball team faces some nobody opponent at 9 p.m. on a school night, and with the game only available on my computer.