Hello football fans!!!
Well…duh. I find it hilarious that so many Hawk fans – including myself – are wondering just how in the heck Iowa is going to move the ball on Saturday night if Mark Weisman isn’t ready to go. And we barely knew his name by as early as halftime of the UNI game. Then…BOOM.
He’s not just a good story – he’s a good RB. And he’s only a Sophomore.
It’s gonna suck when Volkswagon-sided AIRBHG to blow up his college house (with him in it) during the off-season.
Former Benton Community/West High/Iowa-TE/Iowa-OL Coach Reese Morgan deserves some kind of national recognition for the job that he’s doing with this young and under-talented DL. Joe Gaglione should be in the running for All-B1G honors, and each and every D-Lineman just seems so…solid. I honestly don’t know how he’s doing it.
And partly because of the aforementioned success of the DL, my boy LeVar Woods’ LBs have looked fantastic. Anthony Hitchens is leading the country in tackles per game. Yes that’s right…the WHOLE COUNTRY. And that’s not to say that James Morris and Christian Kirksey aren’t having good years, because they are. This is an exciting position group.
I’m not just saying this because I know his family: this is a great kid and a GREAT Iowa kicker. I don’t like bringing kickers up – even in this silly blog – because you never know when the jinx monster will rear its ugly head (I was impressed that Meyer was able to kick through the dreaded announcer curse last weekend, if you caught that). He’s just missing that career-defining kick, and you never know when that can happen.
I’ve already written on this…and so has everybody else (my fingers got sore whilst texting brothers/cousins/buddies last Saturday). When you think about it, it’s amazing that the Hawks are 4-2 (with the two losses coming by a total of 4 points) with JVB struggling this much.
I don’t think there’s any question that the new offense has been tough on JVB; he said as much earlier in the year when he stateed that Greg Davis’s offense “is by no means simple”. (Translation: this offense is a tough mo’fo’ to run.) The receivers haven’t helped out the situation either.
This all adds up to the biggest issue: JVB has lost his confidence. I don’t how you get that back, because well…I’m not a coach. What I do know is this: a young college QB can get his confidence back on one…single…play. I just hope that play comes sometime, and sometime soon.
RTs From Around the Country
- I still don’t like Notre Dame. But I think my feelings on Notre Dame have been downgraded from “Hate” to “Pessimistically Resistant” when I think about their place in college football. I think this is mostly because most of my college football-related hatred is now directed towards the $.E.C.
- And these two things came together beautifully last weekend when ‘Gameday’ was in South Bend; the site was parked in front of a few campus buildings, and somebody held up a sign that said: “Hey S.E.C. fans…this is what a library looks like.” Classic!
- Last thing on Notre Dame – they’re winning with ‘D’ and that will always get my respect. That, and they’re coach is no longer Chaz Weiss.
- Speaking of, Chaz Weiss getting destroyed down in Kansas – mostly by his own press – is very enjoyable. Much like my 1st (and 3rd) position coach at Iowa, I think there’s a chance that he’ll be forced outta coaching and selling cars before too long.
- ESPN’s Jenn Brown knows nothing about college football. And…that’s OK.
- Erin Andrews is still the best and most beautiful…but she is buried on FOX. FOX will just never have a college football feel to it.
- I have to admit that I like most of Oregon’s uniform options. I will now repeatedly slam my head in my car door.
- But some of these uniform options have gotten out of friggin’ control. South Carolina’s pants they wore against LSU were a disaster. They made me want to cheer against them even though I was betting against LSU.
- Why is it so vogue to rip on the Big Ten? Are we not all sick of the S.E.C.? The only conference that can rival the S.E.C. in loyal fan-following and/or commitment to their college football programs is the B.I.G. So why exactly are so many talking heads rooting against the conference? Makes no sense to me. And with that said, I’d like to punch Pat Forde right smack on the forehead.
- The A.C.C. sucks. SUCKS. How many times does a B1G team have to beat the A.C.C. champ before that’s brought up?!?
- But…the Big Ten IS down this year too. But even a douche like me saw this coming. It’ll be better next year. I mostly blame THE OHIO STATE and they’re d-bag AD Gene Smith for not taking the bowl ban last year with their 6-6 record.
- I would NOT buy a car from Chaz Weiss.
- I laughed when I heard that Bill Snyder was coming back to Kansas State. I’m an idiot. The ‘Coach of the Year’ conversation starts and ends with him. Maybe Coach of the Past 50 Years as well.
- Why is it that when a team consistently wins 52-48…that’s a great team with an explosive offense?…but when a team consistently wins 17-14…that’s a team that’s lucky and has a bad offense? Doesn’t make any sense to me.
- With that being said, I laughed…LAUGHED…when I heard so many talking heads say “you could see that coming” after West Virginia got beat-down in west Texas? Really??? The only people I remember predicting that loss was Kirk Herbstreit and some guy on Rivals Radio last Friday @ 6:53 am when I was in the parking lot of one of my contractors.
- I honestly think that Mark May could possibly murder Lou Holtz on air. And if so, I hope I’m watching. That would stay on my DVR until it dies.
- I like Jesse Palmer as a college football analyst. I don’t care if you judge me…he knows his sh*t. You’re just jealous because he’s good-looking too.
- Gambling (responsively) on college football is stupid and silly. The problem is…it’s just so much fun.
Penn State Nittany Lions @ Iowa Hawkeyes
7:00 PM / BTN / Line: Hawks by 3
One of the biggest surprises of the B1G this year has been Bill Obrien’s Nittany Lions. After starting off 0-2, they’ve ripped off 4 straight wins, with one of them being an improbable come-from-behind win against Northwestern.
Though the Nittany Lions are 4-2, I still don’t think they’re going to finish with 9 wins…even 8 would be a stretch with games @ Iowa, vs. OSU, and @ Nebraska in the next month. I also think Penn State’s very, very thin…but have been able to avoid the injury bug so far this year.
One a side note, I’m going to be openly cheering against Penn State not only this weekend, but the rest of the year. Penn State winning is NOT good for the B1G. One would hope that Jim Delaney and…ahem…the B1G refs would agree on this.
Although I’m not a 100% believer in Penn State, there’s no doubt that QB #11 Matt McGloin is having a crazy-good year; McGloin is one of the (many) things that makes me think the more I watch college football…the less I understand. He’s in a new offense, his best WR left for greener pastures, his OL had 2 returning starters…and he’s excelling. Obviously the biggest thing to point to is his coach, and that O’Brien must be a great QB developer.
How healthy is #45 RB Mark Weisman? That’ll be the question that every Hawk fan will be asking themselves on Saturday. It doesn’t sound like it’s out of the question that Weisman can play, but you wonder if that’s the smartest thing for the rest of the season? We’ll see.
If he can’t go, it will be Frosh RB #4 Greg Garmon – who I like, but I think is a year away – and the just-back-from injury #33 Jordan Canzeri. It’s not like either of these guys are Paki O’Meara, but I don’t trust either one of them to carry the load all game long.
Iowa O vs. Penn State D :
The coaches have changed, but the Penn State ‘D’ and their stellar LB play carries on. Penn State is in the Top 30 for Total Defense and in the top 15 for Scoring Defense. Simply put, there’s still a lot of well-coached and older talent on this team.
For the Iowa ‘O’ it’s become obvious that Mark Weisman has been the tone-setter; if he can’t go he’ll be sorely missed. But even without Mark Weisman, I think the Hawkeye OL can open up some holes. Penn State gave up 125+ yards against Ohio (180), Navy (305), Temple (134), and Northwestern (130). I think it’s safe to say that besides Navy, none of those aforementioned teams have a better running attack than the Hawks.
Iowa D vs. Penn State O :
Penn State’s ‘O’ has been a surprise, but let’s not get too excited here – they’re the 75th Total Offense in the country, and 88th running the ball. McGloin is having a good year, but it’s not like he’s throwing the ball all over the field like Geno Smith.
Something that’s been interesting about Penn State is that they’re attempting AND getting converting so many 4th downs. Why? Because they basically have no kicker – as the guy that was supposed to be their starter left the team. This has resulted in Penn State trying for 1st downs instead of FGs…even when it seems obvious that they should kick. This has taken teams by surprise the first 6 games of the year, but not this week with the Hawk ‘D’. Parker will have them prepared for this.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of attack Phil Parker dials up against the Penn State ‘O’, as the Hawk’s usual game-plan is to stop the run. Will Phil dial up a few more blitzes a little more often to keep McGloin off target? I think our DB’s having been playing great, but I don’t trust them to play all day long against this passing attack; they need some pressure from our Front 7 to help out.
What Will Happen
This is going to be a battle. (That’s…umm…where I came up with blog’s title.)
I simply have a gut feeling that JVB is going to play better on Saturday night under the lights. He has to do this – HAS TO – otherwise its going to be asking too much for a Frosh RB and a not-in-game-shape Canzeri to move the chains all night long. I think that Davis came out with some spread formations last weekend, but had to get away from it against a great ‘D’ in poor conditions. Not that the Hawks are going to go ‘empty’ all game, but 3 WR/1 TE/1 RB will be a common sight. The Hawks may have to throw themselves open to get the running game going this Saturday night.
And they will. I think the Hawks got a huge, HUGE shot in the arm with regards to mojo last weekend in East Lansing, and I think that’ll carry over.
This will be a good game throughout, with the Hawks mixing things up better than they have the past few weeks. I think Penn State will struggle running the ball, but McGloin will make enough plays on 3rd down to keep Penn State close. However, stellar special teams and a stellar kicker will be the difference for the Hawks in a great game.
Iowa Hawkeyes 23 - Penn State Nittany Lions 21
Week 8 “Precarious Predictions”
NCAA ATS 40-31-1
Last Week ATS 5-5-1
Iowa ATS 3-2
Purdue @ Ohio State
11:00 AM / ABC / Line: Ohio State by 19
Purdue is another team that makes me wonder just what in the heck I know about college football. I can understand that they’ve dropped a few games, but how is it that their ‘D’ could be this bad? It makes no sense to me whatsoever.
Ohio State’s ‘D’ has been struggling mightily, but ‘my-oh-my’ has Braxton Miller and their offense been humming along. I think the Ohio State ‘D’ will get the memo from Urban Meyer and shut-down (or nearly shut-down) Purdue. 38-14 seems about right.
Ohio State covers.
Minnesota @ Wisconsin
11:00 AM / ESPNU / Line: Wisconsin by 17
Minnesota misses Margueis Gray – his lack of health has been what’s wrong with the Gophers the past few weeks. The disappointment of another tough season is starting to set in, and Jerry Kill taking another trip to the hospital can’t help. I pray for that guy.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin has finally convinced me that they’ve got their offense back to ‘normal’. Not 2010 or especially 2011 “normal”…but closer to their 2005-2009 offense…which isn’t too shabby. Bielema’s switch at their OL coach and QB has paid off.
This line is dead on, but I don’t have faith that Minnesota is going to be able to put up enough points to cover.
Michigan State @ Meeechigan
2:30 PM / BTN / Line: Meeechigan by 10 ½
This is a pretty intriguing game. Meeechigan is suddenly red-hot, and Sparty is not. Also, Sparty has owned Meeechigan the past 4 years, something that Wolverine players are very, VERY sick of hearing about.
There’s not much reason to pick Michigan State to win, but I think they have just enough ‘D’ and pride to keep this close in a Rivalry Game.
Sparty + the points.
BIG TEN GAME OF THE WEEK
Nebraska @ Northwestern
2:30 PM / ESPN2 / Line: Nebraska by 6
You can’t make-up rivalries…they have to be born organically. This annual game is starting to feel like a real, live, good old-fashioned conference rivalry brewing between two teams. The loss last year against Northwestern did NOT sit well with over-expectant Cornhusker fans, and now they’re in Evanston to get payback. If Nebraska trips up again, things are going to get really, really tense in Lincoln.
The trouble for Nebraska is that Northwestern is better football team than they were last year, while Nebraska is about the same…and they might actually be worse on the road. I honestly think this is the Kacmyrinski (sp?) effect on the DL; I have no proof of this but its fun for me to think about.
Everybody on the BTN picked Northwestern here, and I understand. I think they’re the better team, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they won. But I’m going with my gut again here; Nebraska is going to come off of their BYE week focused and ready to roll. I honestly think this will be semi blowout, 42-30.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
#3 Oregon @ Arizona State
8:00 PM / ESPN / Line: Ducks by 21
Finally we get to see the Ducks fly away from Autzen for their FIRST TRUE ROAD GAME, and this game is about as far south as they can go for the winter. And now they’re going to play what has become a much improved Sun Devil team.
Oregon deserves all the credit they’re getting, but perhaps the love affair has gone a little too far? If there’s one constant in college football this year, its that teams looks a LOT better at home…so its no wonder that Oregon has looked so good. I was hoping for more points here, cause I really wanted to take a pretty good Sun Devil team, at home, on a Thursday night with a really jacked up crowd. But that’s not enough points.
#6 LSU @ #18 Texas A&M
11:00 AM / ESPN / Line: LSU by 3
I still don’t trust LSU, especially when they’re away from home. If they were wearing just about any other colored jersey…I don’t think LSU would be ranked this high. They have major issues on offense, and although their ‘D’ is great, I don’t think it’s impossible to move the ball on them, especially when you have a hot offense like A&M has.
BTW, I’m starting to…tire of LSU and The Hat.
A&M + the points.
NATIONAL GAME OF THE WEEK
#7 South Carolina @ #2 Florida
2:30 PM / CBS / Line: Florida by 3 ½
I’m still a fan of South Carolina. I don’t think there’s any question in my mind that they were the better team against LSU, but snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory. This is once again nothing more than a feeling – because Florida has done everything that they’ve needed to do thus far this year. I just think that Spurrier and his staff have been here before and will have a better game-plan ready to go.
Cocks + the points.
#4 Kansas State @ #13 West Virginia
6:00 PM / FOX / Line: West Virginia by 2 ½
That was a tough road trip for West Virginia last weekend. Now its Kansas State’s turn to take a weird trip, and I think West ‘by god’ Virginia will be ready to roll. Mini shoot-out that West Virginia wins.
West ‘by god’ Virginia covers.
ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Jeffrey the Greek!