Iowa coach mistaken on player status

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Coach Hayden Fry said Tuesday that linebacker Jeff McCracken, a starter three weeks ago who did not make the travel squad last Saturday, suffered from shin splints and hardly practiced last week.
That isn’t what McCracken told The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, which published a story Monday about McCracken’s future with the Hawkeyes.
McCracken, of Springfield, Mo., told the newspaper he is not hurt and has not quit school.
“Jeff had shin splints last week, both legs, and didn’t hardly work out,” the coach said. “Jeff hasn’t reported for practice. I haven’t seen him. I haven’t talked to him. I assume he’s going to school.”
McCracken, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound sophomore, was elevated into the starting lineup in Iowa’s season opener against Central Michigan because Matt Hughes and Raj Clark, the normal starters, were injured.
He made six tackles against the Chippewas, the third-best total for a Hawkeye in that game.
McCracken played as a reserve against Iowa State and Arizona and was listed as a second-team linebacker behind Clark last week. But he never made the 64-man travel team and spent last Saturday at his home.
Fry said the decision to play freshman Aaron Kampman of Kesley this year instead of redshirting him “probably … hurt his feelings as much as anything.”
Fry said McCracken called him for an appointment just before Tuesday’s news conference.
“He’s a fine football player. We’d love to have him on the football team,” Fry said. “But it may be that he doesn’t want to play anymore.”

Everybody loves the Cubs
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball’s ratings may lag behind the NFL, but they can still take a bite out of football’s audience.
ESPN’s coverage of the one-game wild-card playoff between the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants on Monday night was the most watched baseball game in cable TV history.
The game was watched in 6.1 million homes on ESPN and 1.4 million additional homes on over-the-air networks in Chicago and San Francisco. ESPN got an 8.1 rating, second highest to its 9.5 on Sept. 7 for Mark McGwire’s 61st homer.
ESPN’s rating took a chunk out of Disney partner ABC’s “Monday Night Football” rating. The Detroit-Tampa Bay game rated an 11.1 (about 11 million homes), which initial estimates show as the lowest rated game since 1986.