Friday, September 04, 2009

Iowa Preview 2009

(This is a little slipshod, but at least it's up before kickoff. --ed.)

I've been a little heavy on the ND coverage this summer ... mostly due to the incredible talent amassed on the roster and the impatience to see it on the field. To balance out the coverage, here's the way-overdue look at Iowa's 2009 season.

Yeah, this is a little annoying if you look at it too long, but it IS pretty cool.

The three issues I'll be watching this year:
  • Is Stanzi still the Manzi?
  • Who will run the ball?
  • Can we win on the road?
Even though the T-shirt has been banned by the university, I believe the answer to the first question is yes. Stanzi is a year older, has proven he can perform in high-pressure games, and can win on the road.

However, like Drew Tate in 2004, he'll be forced to be the Manzi due to the gaping hole at running back. Shonn Greene took his game pro. No problem there, as Jewel Hampton showed he can handle the featured back role. But his season-ending injury gives us a total of 21 career yards in the form of Paki O'Meara, plus a dinged-up redshirt freshman, a healthy redshirt freshman, and a true freshman.

The Gazette's Morehouse points out this curious fact:
NUMBERS GAME — When Wegher officially un-redshirts, the Hawkeyes will have four sophomore running backs in 2010 — Hampton, Brinson, Wegher and Robinson.

A good problem to have next year--a crappy problem this year.

And the third piece of the puzzle, driven by the first two: Can we steal any road wins? On paper, two are winnable: Iowa State and Wisconsin. Heck, even Michigan State is plausible, if they can't settle on a quarterback and can't find someone to fill Javon Ringer's shoes (suddenly our perceived edge over MSU, reliable depth at RB, is gone). But Ohio State and Penn State are near-losses, despite our recent success vs. JoePa.

As usual, we should dominate the Cyclones. But who will replace Andy Brodell? And why do we need this to beat Iowa State?

Bwahh hah hah. If we need a fourth-quarter kick return to beat Inconsolable, we should all hang our heads low (and my window will look like the windows behind Dave Letterman).

Look at NU's horseshit schedule. Based on winning percentage, it is the 111th hardest (10th easiest). According to Phil, only Rutgers has an easier sked among major conference teams.

Date.......Opponent..........2008 Record
9/5/09.....Towson............3-9 (1-7)
09/12/09...Eastern Michigan..3-9(2-6))
10/3/09....@ Purdue..........4-8(2-6)
10/10/09...Miami (OH)........2-10 (1-7)
10/17/09...@ Michigan State..9-4(6-2)
10/31/09...Penn State........11-2(7-1)
11/14/09...@ Illinois........5-7(3-5)

I have no idea why these guys keep beating us. It's not like they get tested in the preseason games.

Wrapup random links:

* For complete, exhaustive, occasionally profane coverage, check out BHGP and their "Assume the Position" series.

* At least I know Iowa will (or could) win the national championship.

* Steele talks about how close Iowa came last year. Good teams can shut the door in the fourth quarter. That will be even more important on the road.

Hawk fans know how to score at the Metrodome.

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