Ha ha...sad Iowa fans make me laugh. As a result, my plan is to be laughing quite a bit on Saturday. I wanted to keep with tradition and use a photo of Herky, but Getty Images didn't have anything good except for one of Herky as Captain America. And I will not disrespect the Stars & Stripes like that!
HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE
When and Where:
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA Smelly Place, Smelly Town, Smelly State
Radio: KFAN and the Gopher Radio Network (100.3 FM in the Twin Cities). You can also listen to the game via the IHeartRadio app for your mobile device.
Overall look at the day...
The weather for tailgating...
And here's how the hourly look for kickoff and beyond...
So, basically a FANTASTIC day for football. Can't wait!
All you need to know:
Wait, you need to know more? Sigh...fine! It was a MEH season for Iowa fans. 7-5 (4-4) with a ton of bipolar play. What do I mean? Well, they beat Michigan the week after they lost to the Gophers. They got the justNorthwestern monkey off their back but lost to Iowa State. And so on. The trophy case remained empty with a year end loss to Nebraska (they didn't play Wisconsin).
Iowa had a completely manageable non-con slate. They bungled it. Speaking of which...
Their B1G slate isn't horrid, but isn't great either given their play thus far. They have a way too early bye week just like the Gophers. They also play 2 of their most winnable games (Northwestern, Indiana) on the road. They get Nebraska at home, which means they'll have the opportunity to lose all 3 rivalry trophies they play for this season in front of their own fans. I'm sure that will make the fans VERY happy with Kirk.
The last time the Gophers had Floyd three seasons in a row? 1998-2000.
The last time MN won @ Kinnick was 1999.
This is Iowa's Homecoming.
This is the earliest in a calendar year the Gophers have every played Iowa in a season in the history of the rivalry.
Kirk Ferentz Captain Curt (14th season of conservative decision making). Overall record of 98-68 (57-47). The owner of one of the worst contracts in college FB, Iowa's dear leader has started of the season with a bang. When you've got the rubes calling for your head despite a $20 million dollar buyout you must be doing something right. On the plus side, he did patent this look:
It's no Blue Steel, but it seems to work well for him during critical situations (like watching your opponent recover yet another onside kick on the way to a victory).
Offensive Coordinator: Greg Davis (1st season). Yes, Greg "I put out giant buckets of fail despite having all the recruits you could ever want at Texas" Davis is running the show on offense. It's working just as wonderfully as you'd expect, and Iowa fans are already pining for Ken O'Keefe (which tells us all we need to know).
Defensive Coordinator: Phil Parker (1st season). Not related to previous DC Norm Parker. He too is having a stellar year.
No for real, that's what they do. Run that Mark Weisman.
Weisman AIRBHG's new chew toy has been extremely solid for Iowa. He'll be a good test for our run defense, especially the linebackers (I'm not sold on f the run D from the DL yet and I think Weisman will get to the next level a decent amount). They are only 70th in rushing offense, but that number seems to be skewed by the first 2 games. James Vandenburg, who was pretty good last season, is looking horrible this year (107th in passing efficiency). He has only 1 touchdown pass. It happened last week. No passing TD's until week 4? Um..........yea. Not surprisingly, the passing offense ranks 91st. The offensive line has been solid over the last weeks after letting JVB get dumped on his butt several times by the Northern Illinois pass rush. I'm guessing the Gophers don't have problems getting to him though.
Playing better up front than expected if what I read is to be believed. D-Line was supposed to be a weak spot for Iowa, but they are 30th in rushing D, which suggests the Iowa front must be doing something right. They are also 39th in passing D, but that may be due more to the play of their secondary, as they are only 94th in sacks (with 5). Passing efficiency D is middling, at 54th. Total defense (25th) and scoring defense (37th) are also looking pretty good given the 2-2 record. Two guys to keep an eye on would be LB Anthony Hitchens (1st in the B1G in tackles per game) and LB James Morris (3rd in the B1G in tackles per game). DB Tom Donatell is also 3rd in the B1G in INT's with 2.
By then numbers, not so good. 97th in net punting, 60th in PR yardage defense, and 90th in kick return yardage defense. So yea, seemingly some issue with coverage and the hidden yards. Their kicker Mike Meyers is tops in the conference and 3rd in the country in FG made with 9 (out of 10).
Iowa: AIRBHG may be sizing up to previous victims for more spite. Both Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon are listed as questionable for Saturday.
Minnesota: Brock Vereen is the newest and most worrisome name on the injury sheet. He's listed as questionable. MarQueis Gray, Tommy Olson, Foster Bush, and Martez Shabazz are all listed as out.
How Do The Gophers Stack Up?
I still don't know. The defense hasn't been tested by a running game like this one yet. I'm confident that our pass rush will be ok. I'm confident in our pass D versus JVB, though the potential absence of Vereen in addition to Shabazz worries me a little in terms of depth and what that might mean. Offensively, I think the opportunities to move the ball will be there and that it will come down to execution.
Completely Worthless Prediction:
Iowa may not be great this season but this is a rivalry game and it is on the road. I'm predicting a close one, call it Gophers 24-Iowa 21. Floyd stays home for the 3rd season in a row, the Gophers are 5-0 heading into the bye, and the sadness in Iowa City grows to unfathomable levels.