Pathetic

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Iowa is unquestionably the worst fourth quarter team in the country. That is all.

Hawkeye Recruit Roundup: Week 13

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I am posting this from my iPod Touch so hopefully it turns out okay. My laptop is currently out of commission so this is my best option right now. Anyway, on to the recruits.

Riley McMinn
Playoffs, Semifinals: W Metamora 17 - Rochester 50 | (13-0)
Rochester was rolling on offense on Saturday. Their running back had over 200 yards rushing and 5 TDs. The quarterback added 255 yards through the air. Unlike last week, this game was not a close, nail-biting game. It was an absolute thrashing of a good team in the semifinals of the playoffs. McMinn played his part in the scoring too, tackling the opposing quarterback in the end zone for a safety in the 3rd quarter. Rochester will play for the title this Friday in the Memorial Stadium.

Next Game: vs. Alleman - 11/26 (Playoffs, Illinois Class 4A Championship)

Cole Fisher
Playoffs, Nebraska Class A Championship: W Millard South 20 - Millard North 28 | (11-2)
Millard North trail 7-20 at halftime, but started the second half on fire. The Mustangs scored on all three of its 3rd quarter possessions. They held on to their lead in the 4th quarter and beat their rivals to win the Nebraska Class A Championship. Fisher has the games leading tackler finishes with 12 total tackles (7 solo, 5 assisted).

Season Over

Torrey Campbell
Playoffs, Regional Quarterfinal L South Fort Myers 33 - Barron Collier 2 | (8-4)
Barron Collier was completely shutdown by SFM's defense only gaining 140 yards of offense and didn't put up a single offensive score. It was a disappointing loss for the Cougars who are now eliminated from the playoffs. Campbell had 4 rushes for 22 yards.

Season Over
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Iowa vs. Ohio State: Animated Drive Chart

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Despite the lack of yards and points, I thought Iowa actually moved the ball quite well on one of the best defenses in the country. Iowa had 4 "scoring" drives (3 actual scores and a missed field goal), 2 that were of length and reversed the field position, and 3 bad drives...2 of which came back-to-back in the fourth quarter.

FULL SCREEN VERSION

Same Story, Different Week

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There is not really much to say about how Iowa lost. It was exactly the same fashion that they lost against Arizona, Wisconsin, and Northwestern. The defense gave up a touchdown long touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and Iowa's two minute offense was ineffective in responding. Also throw in the sloppy special teams with a missed field goal, a kickoff out of bounds, and all around bad kickoff coverage. I thought this would be the game that Iowa would overcome at least one of those issues. It was not.

This season has been disappointing and frustrating. Iowa is tantalizing close to greatness, but instead is a middle of the pack 8-4 team (maybe I shouldn't assume a win over Minnesota, but I am) likely headed to a middle of the pack bowl game. This was definitely not the way the seniors wanted to go out.

Anyway, enough with the gloom. I don't think I need to go over how Iowa lost to Ohio State. It's the same as the other 3 losses. Instead, I'm going to try focus on the positives...at least a little bit.
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Iowa vs. Ohio State: Game Day

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The need to know
What: Iowa vs. Ohio State
Where: Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City
When: 2:30 PM
TV: ABC

Important Notes
BLACKOUT: It wasn't very well advertised, because it was kind of a last minute thing, but the athletic department is calling for a Blackout today. So if you haven't left for the game yet, throw on your black Iowa hoody or something.

Senior Day: It's the last home game of the season and thus Senior Day. This year's senior class is rather large with 26 players taking the field in Kinnick for the last time. This class has been through many ups and down. Many of them were around from the dismal 2006 and 2007 season, but also played large roles in the amazing streak to end 2008 and start 2009. This season has definitely been slightly disappointing, but these Hawkeyes deserve a huge ovation today. Here are all the seniors in alphabetical order: Christian Ballard, Paul Chaney, Jr., Adrian Clayborn, Ryan Donahue, Ben Evans, Brett Greenwood, Justin Greiner, Kyle Haganman, Jeremiha Hunter, Troy Johnson, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Karl Klug, Josh Koeppel, Nick Kuchel, Brett Morse, Daniel Murray, Don Nordmann, Paki O'Meara, Ross Petersen, Allen Reisner, Colin Sandeman, Andrew Schulze, Ricky Stanzi, Jeff Tarpinian, Lance Tillison, and Julian Vandervelde.

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Iowa vs. Ohio State: Statistics

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There's no write up accompanying the stats today. Sorry. It's pretty clear though, who has been the more impressive team at least statistically this year. Iowa is going to need to use home field advantage, senior day, motivation from last weeks loss, anything to try to get an edge over a team that has been performing at a high level.

Iowa Offense vs. Ohio State Defense

CategoryIowa O: StatIowa O: RankOhio St. D: StatOhio St. D: RankAdvantage
Rushing Yards153.26086.95++
Passing Yards252.735151.16++
Passing Efficiency164.4594.743-
Sacks1.7441.686+
Total Yards405.9462382++
Scoring30.843165++
Turnovers71266-
3rd Down Conversion46.032528.574++
Red Zone %0.87270.7114-
Overall Advantage: Big Advantage to Ohio State

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Hawkeye Recruit Roundup: Week 12

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It has been a busy week for me and I'm just getting the week 12 recruit roundup posted on the same day that many of these kids are playing their week 13 games. Oh well. It was a tough week for a couple of commits too as Melvin Gordon and Jordan Walsh's teams both were eliminated from the playoffs. However, we do have our first player in a championship game. Cole Fisher will be playing for the Nebraska Class A Title next Monday.

Riley McMinn
Playoffs, 2nd Round: W Notre Dame 21 - Rochester 23 | (12-0)
Rochester's defense stepped up in a big way forcing 5 turnovers including an interception that was returned for what turned out to be the game winning score. McMinn played a part in the big interception. The kid who made the interception, Mike Gunter, said "I think Riley (McMinn) got a hand on it and swatted it. I was like, 'Is he seriously going to throw it?' And he actually did." The Rockets with the win move to 12-0 and the year and move on to the semifinals.

Next Game: vs. Metamora - 11/20 (Playoffs, Semifinals)

Cole Fisher
Playoffs, Semifinals: W Burke 7 - Millard North 10 | (10-2)
Millard North scored on a 76-yard double reverse to go up by 3 with a little over a minute left in the game, then finished off Burke with an interception on the ensuing drive. The win puts Millard North into the title game for a rematch against rival school Millard South, who they beat back in September 21-16.

Next Game: vs. Millard South - 11/22 (Playoffs, Nebraska Class A Championship)

Jordan Walsh
Playoffs, Quarterfinals: L Wheaton-Warrenville South 40 - Glenbard West 20 | (10-2)
Glenbard West hung close, but was playing from behind the whole game. Three times in the game the Hilltoppers were within one score from taking the lead, but then had a rough 4th quarter which spelled the end of their season.

Season Over
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Q&A With The Buckeye Batlle Cry

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The fine folks at The Buckeye Battle Cry contacted me to do a Q&A with them this week in preparation for the game tomorrow. You can find my answers to some of their Iowa questions as part of their across the web series. Big thanks goes to Mali for sending me their question and to James for answering mine.

Q: Ohio State was ranked #2 in the preseason but lost to Wisconsin and has since been out of the spotlight a little without a realistic shot at the Nation Title. But the Buckeyes have otherwise been completely dominant and are now sitting at 9-1, just 2 games away from another Big Ten (Co-)Championship and a BCS Bowl berth. First, why do you think OSU is kind of under the radar right now? And second, has this season been at all a disappointment for Ohio State fans?

A: A lot of attention is being paid to who will make the championship game, and with all of the Cam Newton stuff going on at Auburn, there are plenty of other things for the national media to focus on at the moment.

The championship situation will continue to be the headliner this college football season, whether it be through the Auburn fiasco or a mid-major making it to the title game. I hope that at some point Ohio State and the rest of the top Big Ten teams get some attention. It will be an exciting bowl season with some great match ups, but with everything else that is going on, it is understandable that Ohio State and the Big Ten are not in the spot light at the moment.

As far as the season being a disappointment or not, I would hate to speculate about that with three games left to play. I will say that at the beginning of the year Ohio State fans knew that playing at Wisconsin and at Iowa would be the toughest tests of the season. If Ohio State were to drop both of those games, that would be disappointing.

Q: Obligatory TP question: The Rose Bowl last year seemed to be a turning point for Terrelle Pryor. His numbers this year have been considerably better, particularly his completion percent. Can you pinpoint what has changed that has made him a better quarterback?

A: I think just going from a sophomore quarterback to a junior quarterback and that extra year of experience is one of the biggest changes and sources of improvement.

Terrelle Pryor has so much hype surrounding him that it is easy to forget that he was only a true sophomore last season. I think it is natural for a young quarterback to struggle at times reading defenses and making smart decisions throwing the ball, even one with as much talent as Pryor.

At the same time, Pryor's mechanics are noticeably better this year. His release point is higher and his footwork in the pocket is better. I think it is all part of growing up and maturing as a quarterback. Any other quarterback would experience the same growth and improvement from year to year, just not under as much scrutiny as Pryor has endured.
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BlogPoll: Week 11

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I am starting to move teams around a little more freely. Head-to-head has moved down in importance a little bit as there is more data to look to process. Most teams have played around 10 games at this point, so it's a little easier to separate teams from one another.

At the top, the big shake up is that I dropped Oregon behind Boise State and TCU. I looked closely at the three team's respective strength of schedule and they are all about equal. So instead of giving Oregon the benefit of the doubt for playing in a BCS conference, I looked more at how impressively the teams have been playing and Boise State came out on top.

Michigan State got a big jump, mainly because I was holding them back behind Iowa and no longer needed to do so. Despite beating Wisconsin, they are at the bottom of the 3 Big Ten teams.

There's a lot of the same the whole way down the ballot. One thing I will mention though is Iowa at 18. That feels pretty high, I know. Saturday evening I felt like dropping the Hawkeyes completely from my ballot. I have them now as the top ranked 3-loss team. When I ran through my metrics that I use to help with my ballot, Iowa came out as a top 15 team. They have played like a top 10 team a large majority of the time this year...it's just that the other part of the time has been achingly bad. So, it was a tough call. If I had used just my metrics, Iowa would have been sitting at #12, which was way too high so I dropped them to 18.

The Wastelands of Mediocrity

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In 2006 I was in grad school at UNI. It was one of those programs where all the classes are at night, so people working full-time could attend. But, about every other month or so, as a part of the program, there were these dreaded Saturday classes. Some were all day events, while others were just a half day. The only redeeming quality of these classes were the free (and by free I mean paid for out of my tuition money) breakfasts. An arrangement of delicious pastries, biscotti, and coffee set out to enjoy while learning about decision making models or something like that.

One fall Saturday was particularly difficult to be in class all morning when Iowa was slated for the early 11:00 game. Some context first…Iowa was ranked number 15 and had finished the first half of the season 5-1. There was a thrilling goal-line stand against Syracuse, a couple of thrashings of some lesser talented team, and a tough loss to Ohio State. Expectations were still high for the Hawkeyes as Iowa had a star senior quarterback that was supposed to lead the team to success. So, needless to say I was excited to watch my Hawkeyes play a lowly Indiana team and become bowl eligible.

Class of course went until noon meaning I would miss at least the first quarter and possibly more. Some tried to follow the game while in class on their phone, but in 2006 the smartest of phones was barely capable of showing more than the score. At the time class was over the score was announced and Iowa was up 21-7. I rushed to my car, turned on the radio, and listened to the game on my short drive home. My wife was home watching something like, but not necessarily, Drumline, but let me switch over to the game as soon as I got home. I don’t think I need to describe the horror that I watched the next two and a half hours as one James Hardy humiliated Iowa’s secondary.

Season over. Worst loss in the history of Iowa football. Fire every coach ever. Iowa had been a team climbing the hill from mediocrity to excellence and was nearing the apex after 4 great seasons, then suddenly took a huge tumble. And they didn’t stop with a loss to the Hoosiers. They tumbled and tumbled and tumbled back down to the wastelands of 6-6 mediocrity; a place they would stay until Daniel Murray made a 31-yard field goal to beat an undefeated Penn State on November 8, 2008 and Iowa started to re-ascend.

It’s amazing how one game, one moment, can define a program for years. One loss to Indiana can send a team on a 9-game conference losing streak.

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Iowa at Northwestern: Game Day

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The need to know
What: Iowa at Indiana
Where: Ryan Field, Evanston
When: 11:00 AM
TV: ESPN

Iowa injury report
Iowa has been a little dinged up lately, but I think this week they are a little healthier than last. Adam Robinson will play after missing last week with a concussion. Jeff Tarpinian should be back on full-time duty and could start at OLB. Right guard is kind of a question mark, but Adam Gettis and Nolan MacMillan are close to playing, though Koeppel did a nice job there last week. I think the only two players definitely out are Tyler Nielsen and Jewel Hampton

UPDATE: Sandeman is apparently out today...no word yet on the reason. Chaney will be the punt returner. I imagine Keenan Davis will have an expanded role as the third receiver.

Keys to the game
Red zone: The main reason Iowa was in such a tight game with Indiana last weekend was that the Hawkeye's red zone offense was terrible. Iowa needs to better today, and should with Robinson back. We don't need to see any fade routes from Stanzi. I'd like for Iowa to pound the ball with Robinson and then maybe try a play-action pass to a TE. Let's keep it smart and simple.

Red zone defense is also going to be important. Northwestern is going to move the ball on Iowa's defense. Their quick passing game is set up perfectly to generate yards between the 20s on Iowa's bend-but-don't-break style. Keeping Northwestern to field goal attempts will be a big win for the defense. Especially because the Wildcat kicker is just 12/18 on the year and has really struggled on longer FG attempts.
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Iowa at Northwestern: Statistics

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Iowa Offense vs. Northwestern Defense

CategoryIowa O: StatIowa O: RankNorthwestern D: StatNorthwestern D: RankAdvantage
Rushing Yards15950141.4446-
Passing Yards250.7835247.33100+
Passing Efficiency172.873122.5347+
Sacks1.56421.5686+
Total Yards409.7842388.7875
Scoring32.33342042-
Turnovers621741
3rd Down Conversion501434.6819-
Red Zone %0.86330.8578+

Northwestern's defense is aggressive but not good. The aggressiveness lends it self to big plays for both teams. It has allowed Northwestern's linebackers to be very good against the run, but left the secondary weak and susceptible to play-action and screen passes. Iowa should be able to move the ball on the Wildcats, so the keys will be to not turn the ball over (which has been the problem the last two years) and to convert in the redzone (which was the problem last week).

Overall Advantage: Iowa (assuming Northwestern doesn't injury the star player for the third year in a row)
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Hawkeye Recruit Roundup: Week 11

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Austin Blythe
Playoffs, Quarterfinals: L Williamsburg 0 - Solon 19 | (10-2)
Williamsburg only lost twice this year...both times were to Solon. This loss was more painful than the first as it ended the Raiders season. Solon completely shut down Williamsburg's offense as the Raiders gained on 169 yards, had just 5 first downs, and didn't score a single point. Blythe was quoted speaking about Solon: "There's no shame losing to these guys. They are good, and I'll be rooting for them."

Season Over

Riley McMinn
Playoffs, 2nd Round: W Effingham 2 - Rochester 53 | (11-0)
I hardly seemed like a playoff game as Rochester rolled up 32 points in the first quarter and finished the first half with a 53-0 lead. Rochester's runningback had a record 6 rushing TDs. The entire second half was played with a running clock and Effingham's only points were scored on a safety very late in the game. No mentions of McMinn were found.

Next Game: vs. Notre Dame - 11/12 (Playoffs, Quarterfinals)

Cole Fisher
Playoffs, 2nd Round: W Lincoln Northeast 0 - Millard North 24 | (9-2)
Millard North for the second week in a row started off slowly. The Mustangs only had 38 yards of offense in the first half, but led 3-0. The start of the 3rd quarter saw a quick shift however as Millard North had a 72 yard TD run followed by a punt return of a touchdown that expanded their lead to 17. The Mustangs added another score and won 24-0. No mentions of Fisher were found.

Next Game: vs. Burke - 11/13 (Playoffs, Semifinals)

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BlogPoll: Week 10

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The picture is becoming more clear at the top. Auburn, Oregon, Boise State, and TCU all took care of business this week and solidified their places in the top 4. The big questions are: Oregon or Auburn? and Boise State or TCU? Auburn has the best resume and is thus still ahead of Oregon. Many people are moving TCU ahead of Boise State, but when I broke down their respective strengths of schedule, they were about even. At this point Boise State has been a little bit more dominant in their victories, thus still get the nod.

Things in the middle are a little tough to figure out. OK State, LSU, Arkansas, and Stanford all received big bumps this week for beating ranked teams. I think every team in the middle pack that won, I moved up (even Iowa who did not win impressively at all).

A lot of losers this week fell to other ranked teams, so didn't take too much of a hit, except for Utah, who was overrated due to their previously undefeated record. Missouri and Oklahoma take pretty good falls too and I probably would have dropped the Sooners if there had been any deserving teams. Arizona is probably too high, but I have them ahead of Iowa for now and didn't punish them too much for getting beat by Stanford. South Carolina, like, Oklahoma is still hanging around because there aren't too many teams making good cases to be the 21-25 range.

The last 5 slots were very hard to fill and for the first week there are 3-loss teams ranked. I have been trying to keep out Virginia Tech because that loss to James Madison was really bad, but they have one 7 games in a row and were the only 2-loss BCS team not ranked. Florida and Pitt sneak in despite not being very good. And UCF, who has been tearing through C-USA makes its debut.

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