ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- One of the random benefits for Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell coaching in the Midwest happens almost every Saturday during the fall.
He can turn on the television and find his alma mater, the Iowa Hawkeyes, on TV. He doesn’t get to sit down and watch an entire game, but he makes sure to watch and to stay in touch with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, whom he texts with, and that at worst, he’ll catch highlights of how the Hawkeyes did each Saturday.
Caldwell said he won’t be in attendance for Saturday’s Big Ten championship game against Michigan State in Indianapolis, saying, “I certainly don’t have time to go down there, that’s for sure,” but he’ll be watching on television like a lot of others. He’ll just be pulling for a different team than a lot of other people in the state he currently resides.
The undefeated Hawkeyes are No. 4 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings with the Spartans at No. 5. So Saturday’s Big Ten title game is essentially a play-in game for the four-team playoff that starts New Year’s Eve.
“They are doing great,” Caldwell said. “Having a tremendous year. Running the ball well.”
Caldwell played defensive back for Iowa from 1973 to 1976. The Hawkeyes, who just completed their first undefeated regular season since 1922, never had a winning season while Caldwell was in Iowa City. In fact, the Hawkeyes were 0-11 during his freshman year, followed by 3-8 in 1974, 3-8 in 1975 and 5-6 in 1976. Then, Iowa was 5-6 in 1977 when Caldwell was on the coaching staff.