When I made my 100th post a few days ago, I referenced many of the Hawkeye blogs I used to visit.  Some are still active, many are defunct, and a few have completely disappeared.  Since I’ve had it on my mind lately, I figured I could share a few of those blogs I rediscovered while trolling the internet.  After all, these Hawkeye blogs are my brothers-in-arms, spreading the black and gold love to fans everywhere (something like that, anyway).

Hawkeye Aggregators and Vanished Blogs

First, let me define what I think a Hawkeye blog is…and what it’s not.  A Hawkeye blog provides posts with original content, as opposed to an aggregation site which just points out articles that other people have written.  The best Hawkeye aggregator sites I’ve seen are HawkeyeNetwork.com and BackInBlackNation.com, followed by IowaHawkeyes.com (a coveted website name if I’ve ever seen one).  One of the best, before it became defunct, was HawkeyeSportsNews.com.  There are probably others around, but those are the ones that jump out to me right away.  HawkFans.com was the first site that I remember doing this, but it has since fallen by the wayside.

Then there are the Hawkeye blogs that used to exist but have now completely vanished.  Sites like HawkeyeBeat.com, HawkeyeKoolAid.com, IAHawkeye.com, and TheHawkTalk.com all were once places where you could read about the Hawkeyes, but they’re now completely gone.  Visit any of those site names and all you’ll find is a cheap ad asking if you’d like to buy the domain.  Who knows how many dozens of other sites used to exist just like that but have now been swept into the dustbin of history?

Defunct Hawkeye Blogs

Some Hawkeye blogs, especially the ones that use the free Blogger platform, are still accessible but no longer regularly updated.  What would happen is that someone would start a Hawkeye blog, thinking it would be a lot of fun.  And for a few months, it would be.  But as months go by and there are slow patches on the Hawkeye sports calendar, these same bloggers would eventually lose interest.  After several months, these bloggers would just quit writing and abandon the site.  Believe me, I now understand how that happens.  Writing about the Hawkeyes consistently is a lot harder than it might seem!

Anyway, because they were using a free platform, many of these sites still exist.  The paid sites vanish without a trace, because no one wants to pay for a site they’re no longer using.  But the free blogs are still around…hopelessly outdated, but still floating around the internet.  Here’s a list of a few of them:

Super Blogs – Black Heart Gold Pants and High Porch Picnic

As you can see, it’s pretty tough for one person to consistently crank out new material for a Hawkeye blog.  Then along came BlackHeartGoldPants.com, which raised the bar for Hawkeye blogs everywhere.  BHGP started as HawkeyeState.blogspot.com and SteveAlfordsHairGel.blogspot.com, and the latter probably gives you sense of where BHGP’s humor originated from.  Anyway, HawkeyeState and SteveAlfordsHairGel merged into a single site called TheHawkeyeCompulsion.blogspot.com.  The Hawkeye Compulsion has all the trademark wit that made BHGP popular, and it migrated to BlackHeartGoldPants.com in September 2007 when they ditched the blogspot platform for their own domain.

BHGP is what I call a “super blog”…in other words, it’s a multi-contributor blog.  Rather than rely on a single person to operate it, BHGP enlisted a solid core of bloggers to run the blog together.  The main contributors to Black Heart Gold Pants were Adam Jacobi, Patrick Vint, and RossWB, but these three were usually flanked by roughly three to five additional bloggers as well.  With a group of six to eight people all jointly pitching in on a super blog, BHGP dwarfed all other Hawkeye blogs in the amount of information it provided – and by extension, the size of its readership.  Quickly after it started, Black Heart Gold Pants changed the game as far as Hawkeye blogs go.  It is always linked at the right under Hawkeye blogs.

There was no serious alternative to BHGP among Hawkeye sports blogs for the next four years, but in September 2011, a second Hawkeye super blog cropped up.  HighPorchPicnic.com was formed when PlannedSickDays.com, FightForIowa.com, BlackAndGoldBoxscore.blogspot.com, and TheHawkeyeState.net (which has now vanished) combined forces to create a super blog.  High Porch Picnic, which was taken from Hayden’s Fry’s great expression about having an exceptionally good time, lasted about nine months before the four bloggers splintered off.  HighPorchPicnic.com disappeared in June 2012, and it’s now gone for good.

But two of those bloggers are still clearly visible on the Hawkeye scene.  Both PlannedSickDays and FightForIowa soon joined Black Heart Gold Pants as contributors.  This illustrates how BHGP maintains its edge among Hawkeye blogs…both PlannedSickDays.com and FightForIowa.com were major Hawkeye blogs with large followings, and both were swallowed up by Black Heart Gold Pants.  In 2008, BHGP bolstered its ranks by adding the operator of Storminspank.com, another major Hawkeye sports blog.  Storminspank eventually left to become a basketball writer at HawkeyeNation.com, but that’s three quality Hawkeye sports blogs that are now more or less defunct after their bloggers signed up with BHGP.

Further proof of BHGP’s dominance can be seen in the fact that Hawkeyeblogs.com, which was created to aggregate information from several Hawkeye blogs, now just functions as a BHGP mirror site.  Why?  Because every other blog they used to track has been shut down!

Current Hawkeye Blogs

I’ve found several blogs that feature one man’s musings about the state of the Hawkeyes.  Many use the free blogspot platform, which means that anyone can start one.  A few examples that I’ve read of these Hawkeye blogs include HawkSpot-InsiderGuy.blogspot.com, CIDsports.blogspot.com, and SportsFanEngy.blogspot.com.  There haven’t been any new posts at these sites for a couple months, but they’re generally more active during football season.  HawkSpot is pretty cynical while CID is known to meander, but both can make for interesting reading.  My favorite is probably Engy’s, though…he’s a video coordinator at the University of Iowa who usually provides great pictures of Hawkeye athletics.

Still, I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again: for Iowa sports blogs run by one man, you can’t do much better than Ron MalyHis site, along with BHGP, are the only two I link under the section on Hawkeye blogs, because to me, they are head and shoulders above what you can find anywhere else.  (Of course, in saying that, I’m excluding blogs run by current media members; they’re in a separate class.)

Updating the Blogroll

With all that said, it’s now time to update the old blogroll!  It’s important to me to keep the recommended links at right as updated as possible.

First, I’m adding blogs for two members of the sports media, which will break the stranglehold the Cedar Rapids Gazette held on the section.  John Bohnenkamp, the Burlington Hawk Eye sportswriter who was recently named the 2012 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year, runs a quality media blog that deserves to be added.  Also, Brendan Stiles, the former Daily Iowan sportswriter, does a fine job over at his site, HawkeyeDrive.com.  Both links will be added under the sports media section of the blogroll.

Finally, one of my favorite sites that is now sadly defunct was HawkeyeLocator.wordpress.com, which did Hawkeyes Revisited-style posts on former Hawk athletes.  Hawkeye Locator may be gone, but InThePros.com has picked up where Hawkeye Locator left off.  InThePros provides some fine updates on former Hawkeyes playing professional football and basketball, and it will be added as an essential link to the blogroll at right.

I’m sure there are other great Hawkeye sites out there.  If you know of any, feel free to add a comment and I’ll check it out.  Reading Hawkeye blogs can be fun…at least while they last!

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