Have you been enjoying Iowa Week? Good! Stick around for the rest of our B1G 2019 conference previews.
One feature we’re adding this summer is “Better Know a B1G Blog,” wherein we get a chance to hear from the various schools’ own bloggers about what makes their site, their school, and their fans unique in both the Big Ten and the college football landscape. Check out our pieces with [/deep breath] Rutgers’ On the Banks, Illinois’ The Champaign Room, Nebraska’s Corn Nation, Maryland’s Testudo Times, Purdue’s Hammer and Rails, Minnesota’s The Daily Gopher, and Michigan State’s The Only Colors.
This week, our friend Ben Ross from Black Heart Gold Pants—your SBNation home for all things Iowa Hawkeyes!—took the time to give us their thoughts on the reign of Gary Barta and Kirk Ferentz, where to tailgate in Iowa City, and why fall weddings are basically a terrorist act. Give him a follow @renboss23, and keep up with all your Iowa hot takes @BHGP.
(1) Tell us about Black Heart Gold Pants: What’s it been like to take over a successful team brand, and what spin and personality have you guys brought to BHGP? If you’ve got particular in-jokes or recurring memes we should be aware of, too, feel free to let us know what those are.
Ben Ross: So you know what they say about blogging: if it was easy, everyone would do it.
We were lucky the previous tenants left the place in such a nice condition, all we’ve really had to do is repaint the walls and get the Orkin man to come in to keep the property value above par with the neighborhood.
We’re all Iowa fans somewhat similar in age with somewhat similar backgrounds and at least one very similar interest, so kinda like just getting used to a new brand of peanut butter. It’s more or less the same, this one is just... nuttier.
I still don’t know how to post a gif or meme to the comments on an SB Nation post. Seriously, give me one good reason why I can’t drag and drop.
(2) Give us an idea of what kind of #content you think exemplifies the qualities of BHGP. What’s been your favorite writing assignment or experience for BHGP?
I’m proud of the diverse content we put out. Jonah Parker, the first hire Max and I made when we took over, is probably the best Iowa recruiting guy around. He’s also the new manager effective immediately, since I have S I X weddings on Iowa gamedays this year. #BanFallWeddings
My personal favorite thing I’ve put on the site is this.
[Ed. Note: Congrats, Jonah!]
(3) What’s one stereotype about the BHGP commentariat and Iowa fanbase that Big Ten fans as a whole get wrong? [If Gary Barta is holding you hostage and making you say nice things about the program, tap your headset twice.]
I think most Big Ten fans think we’d all take a bullet for Kirk Ferentz. Forever content with ho-hum eight win seasons in exchange for THE BIG ONE. Well, if you spent some time on the site, you’d walk away feeling sad for our broken spirits. We’re happy with Kirk, he’s done some great things for us, but we’ve seen this movie about 21 times before, and the ending isn’t getting any better.
(4) What are you most excited about for the Iowa 2019 season? For the uninitiated fan of another Big Ten school, what are the storylines surrounding your program? Where do you see the Hawkeyes in the pantheon of Big Ten football going into 2019?
I’m most excited to see how senior QB Nate Stanley produces in his third season as a starter. His arm is as impressive as anyone else’s in the game right now, it’s just about his decision-making and accuracy. He painfully stagnated last year after an eye-popping sophomore campaign, and without guys like TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant on the roster this year, he’s going to have to make things happen himself.
Other storylines include: AJ Epenesa for Heisman, Phil Parker for head coach, will the Paulsen twins start on the offensive line and how many points are we going to lose to Purdue by on Homecoming.
(5) Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Anything else—tailgating advice, Iowa City bars to visit, local cuisine, etc.—we should know about the Hawks and BHGP?
The last time I was in Iowa City was back in 2018, for the game we mollywhopped Ohio State, if you recall. It was a thing that happened. And when I was there, I ate at Short’s. Twice. So that’s my ringing endorsement. I haven’t tired anywhere new since graduating, and since all my friends and family members are assholes, it doesn’t look like I’ll be making it back to Iowa City this year, either.
The Airliner does pour a mean gin and tonic, though.
Thanks for taking the time, Ben! Follow him at @renboss23, check out Jonah @JPinIC_BHGP, and keep up with all things Iowa Hawkeyes at @BHGP. And if you’ve just checked us out for the first time, thanks and welcome to Off Tackle Empire! Check out our other Hawkeyes football previews in B1G 2019, and stick around this week for Thursday record predictions, more punting talk, and Friday Hate!