This Iowa story is bothering me -- bothering me as a person, not as a sportswriter -- and I think this will help. It will help me, I mean. For writing it. And knowing some of you, whether you believe it or not, will be reading it.
Because lots of you -- and here I'm talking to Iowa fans, mainly -- have lots of questions for me. Questions, accusations, stories you want me to read that will enlighten me, etc.
This is my blog and not another CBSSports.com column, so let me address this as a human being, not as a sportswriter: I have nothing personal against Iowa. I have no idea where that idea even comes from. If you told me I had something personal against Florida or Tennessee or Southern California or Oklahoma, I'd tell you that you're wrong ... but I'd understand why you thought so. I've gone after those four schools several times. If it is personal, it's personal only in that I've not liked the actions of a coach from one of those schools, or several coaches, and when they do objectionable things, I write it. But the schools themselves? I have nothing against those schools. Hell, I went to Florida. My parents went to Oklahoma. For me, it's never personal with a school. Ever.
And it's not personal with Iowa. Not even to the extent that I have a problem with a coach, because I don't have a problem with Kirk Ferentz. Or I haven't had one until this week, when he stayed on the road recruiting for two days while 13 of his players were in the hospital because of a team workout.
People are e-mailing me and Tweeting me accusations that I ripped Ferentz in 2004 for missing a press conference before a game against Penn State, when the backstory was that Ferentz's father had recently died. I was a college basketball writer exclusively in 2004, so I'm pretty sure I didn't write that in 2004. I don't even know what you folks are talking about. Literally, no clue about that story. If someone in the vast Internet universe wrote it, fine. But that someone wasn't me.
I yawned at Iowa's hiring of Todd Lickliter in 2007 -- about the only thing I got right in that column -- and I've written before that Iowa's football team was overrated, two or three years ago. I remember writing that, but I can't find it now. Wish I would, just to show that I'm not ducking the idea that I've been harsh to Iowa in the past. Hey, I'm harsh to most schools. It's what I do.
But it's not personal. Over the years Iowa football has had major issues off the field, like other programs, including Florida. If I had it in for Iowa, or Kirk Ferentz, you'd have ample evidence of my byline on multiple, or even one, story declaring that "Iowa is out of control." There aren't any. I've never written one. Because I don't have it out for Iowa, or for Ferentz.
Those Iowa fans among you who are furious with me -- and it's not all of you; thank you to those who have written to remind me that -- I don't expect you to like me now. But it's not personal.