Saturday, September 23, 2006

One More Down, One Very Big One To Go. One.

On this day
Which began as execution day

And, sure enough, became

Execution day

--The New Pornographers

So, it's over. It was never really in doubt, though it was never really overwhelming, either (save for the last 8 minutes of the second quarter). Now, before the panic sets in, Iowa fans, remember these things:

1. Iowa doesn't blow out teams in September. In the last 4 years, here are the results of September games against BCS-conference opponents:

* '02 Iowa State - lost by 5
* '02 Penn State - won by 7
* '03 Iowa State - won by 19
* '03 Arizona State - won by 19
* '03 Michigan State - lost by 10
* '04 Iowa State - won by 7
* '04 Arizona State - lost by 37
* '04 Michigan - lost by 13
* '05 Iowa State - lost by 20
* '05 Ohio State - lost by 25
* '06 Syracuse - won by 7
* '06 Iowa State - won by 10
* '06 Illinois - won by 17

So, as you can see, this is one of the biggest September wins over a BCS-conference opponent in the Ferentz era. And it probably should be, as this is one of the most experienced teams that Kirk has fielded and they were playing the unquestionable worst team in the Big 10 and a coach who desperately needs a new brain.

2. Iowa doesn't blow out Big 10 teams. The list of 25-point wins in Big 10 play over the last 4+ years is remarkably short.

* '02 Michigan State (44-16)
* '02 Michigan (34-9)
* '02 Northwestern (62-10)
* '03 Illinois (41-10)
* '04 Ohio State (33-7)
* '05 Illinois (35-7)

All of those games except for '02 Michigan were at Kinnick. Only one occurred in the first two weeks of Big 10 play. Remember, those teams were a combined 38-12. A 17-point win is about standard for Iowa, regardless of the opponent.

3. Say what you will about this team, but they made it to the last week of September without a loss for the first time since 2003. And a win is a win.

4. Double D looks like he's replaced Eddie Hinkel as Drew Tate's go-to receiver (though Herb Grigsby was able to haul in a couple of passes today, as well). That's big. He desperately needed that security blanket receiver that he knows he can go to.

5. We got screwed repeatedly by the officials (to the point that Ferentz went all Bobby Knight on the line judge's ass IN THE FIRST QUARTER) and still got the win. Of course, that might have something to do with the freshman quarterback and the mildly retarded coach on the other team. Not even bribes can overcome a lack of talent and intelligent playcalling.

6. Iowa State is playing tough with Texas, but is doomed to failure (as I'm typing this, a Texas receiver went up and literally ripped the ball out of the hands of an ISU cornerback; they can score at will). I'm just looking forward to the picture of that Lames fan on some street corner in Austin. Anyway, if things get tough, just remember you could be an ISU fan. Hey, speaking of pictures...

Look, kids, it's Bevo the Bull! No, wait,
it's just an ISU sorority girl...

Now, the bad news is that this team still doesn't look ready for tOSU next week. The defense might be there, and the fans certainly are ready (Gameday will almost certainly be there, as Herbstreit will have to call the game that night), but I don't know if the offense is quite there yet. Which leads to my question of the day: Why is Damien Sims not starting? I like Al Young. He plays hard, he's a smart kid, and he's been through a whole hell of a lot of injuries and keeps bouncing back. But Sims just looks better right now. Shouldn't that mean something?

So, sharpen up your "Maurice Clarett in a used Datsun with a semi-automatic weapon and a shiv" jokes, folks. It's time to get ready for THE Ohio State University. Honestly, I can't wait. I just hope Jim Tressel punches a player.

UPDATE: Gameday will be at Kinnick next week. Fowler just confirmed it on Gameday Final. Gentlemen, start your inappropriate signage!

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