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5 Football Seasons More Disappointing than 2010 for the Iowa Hawkeyes… 3

Posted on December 10, 2010 by JA Allen

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

An Iowa Hawkeye Holiday Tale...

George Bailey felt bitterly disappointed at the hand life dealt to him through chronically forgetful Uncle Billy and mean-spirited Mr. Potter.

The proprietor of Bailey’s Savings and Loan ruefully regretted his life, wishing he’d never been born. It took a wayward angel to show George that he’d really had a wonderful life.

Once again it is the holiday season. That means that it is time to watch the overly sentimental film It’s A Wonderful Life directed by Frank Capra, starring Jimmy Stewart and Iowa native Donna Reed––as well as view an explosion of “bowl” games.

As some of us weep over the saccharine holiday tale, we recognize that now is the time for being thankful for family and friends.

For Iowa Hawkeye fans, it means being thankful for an Iowa team that gave us some thrilling moments in 2010, even if the whole season was not everything we had had hoped for.

As coach Kirk Ferentz pointed out once Iowa’s preseason ranking came out in August of 2010––It is not where you start but where you end that is important.

Iowa began the season ranked No. 9 in the 2010 AP Football Poll, and they ended the season unranked––except on the disappointment meter.

What happened?

There are any number of reasons that singularly or in concert contributed to the letdown Iowa suffered at the end of the season. No one will ever answer that question to the complete satisfaction of fans who dreamed of ultimate glory.

But take consolation in this. Iowa, 7-5, is going to play in a very prestigious Insight Bowl against a ranked opponent where the Hawkeyes have the ability to make a statement and regain some dignity lost during the 2010 season.

More importantly, remember, there were five seasons with greater disappointment for Iowa fans…

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Week 12 of Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast… 1

Posted on November 16, 2010 by JA Allen

Zultan buries his dreams of a Big 10 Championship for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

With as much dignity as he could muster, Zultan gathered up the sad remains of his shattered major award.

Later that night, alone in the backyard, the Great One buried it next to the garage.

Now I could never be sure, but I thought that I heard the sound of “Taps” being played, gently.*

The shattered prize being a Big Ten Championship for Zultan’s Iowa Hawkeyes, of course…

It was quite a Saturday for the Big Ten. Iowa and Illinois fell as Wisconsin stomped the life out of Indiana, crushing bones, sinew and dignity in the process.

Hard to haul yourself off the field and onto the next game after that whopping of 83-20. The Badgers deserve the big Axe for that one…

Northwestern’s 21-17 win over Iowa was just as devastating for the Hawkeyes and their fans, watching another promising season sink out of sight like the sun on the horizon after a long day. The Wildcats continue to have Iowa’s number year after year…

Illinois could not locate the game they left on the field in Ann Arbor as Minnesota came back to win in the closing seconds…

What about Minnesota!  The Gophers struck their own blow for the dignity of their team, their school and most especially for their seniors. As hard as it had to be on Illinois to lose that one, you must be happy for the Gophers to finally win a game in the Big Ten.

Zultan’s guest prognosticator in Week 11, Ryan Sparrow went 7-3 for the week, sadly missing on Iowa, Illinois and Arizona.  Those seven souls who managed to predict these upsets are listed at the end of the article with accompanying accolades.

Click here to outguess this week’s last guest seer of the season, Craig Bancroft, who issues the following predictions…

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Week 11 of Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast… 19

Posted on November 09, 2010 by JA Allen

Last week was not a good week to be a college football prognosticator.

Nine of the BSC Top 25 lost in Week 10.

In addition, two top ranked teams, Iowa and Nebraska were one play away from losing, but hung on to win against lower ranked teams who played more effective football for the better part of the game.

The reality of college football hit home last Saturday, underscoring that parity means there are no easy wins for any program, ranked or not.

No football team is guaranteed a win on any given Saturday. That is what makes college football so exciting to fans, players and the media.

It is also why the legion of sage soothsayers wear turbans––bald from pulling out their hair week after week.

This week offers another slate of critical clashes as another guest prognosticator Ryan Sparrow steps up to the plate to take a whack at Zultan’s appointed task––picking winners in Week 11.  Last week’s prognosticator Phillip Murphy suffered from near-miss syndrome which sent fifteen of you to the head of the class.  The list as well as the accompanying accolades are included at the conclusion of this article.

Be sure to click here to make your picks for Week 11––your opportunity to enjoy praise and prizes if you outguess the Mighty Zultan’s stand-in.  With less than a month remaining in the regular season, the chances for glory grow dimmer.  Take a chance now and join in the fun.

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Michigan State Tops the Big Ten Football Power Rankings in Week 9 0

Posted on October 29, 2010 by JA Allen

Last year Iowa stunned Michigan State with a last second victory.

Heading into Week 9 there are four fairly equal teams topping the Big Ten Conference: Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Iowa.

Wisconsin has already passed its biggest tests, getting by Ohio State and Iowa, while losing to Michigan State.

The Badgers only conceivable pitfall could come at Michigan if they forget to play to their full potential.

Michigan State has defeated Wisconsin and faces Iowa this weekend in their last big test. If they win against the Hawkeyes, the rest of their season seems secure.

With a win on Saturday, it is likely Michigan State would capture the Big Ten Conference title outright–– especially since the Spartans do not play Ohio State this season.

Iowa must win this Saturday to remain in the hunt for the Big Ten title.  They have already lost to Wisconsin and cannot afford a loss against Michigan State or later to Ohio State on November 20 .

Both these big-stake games for Iowa will be played at home in Kinnick Stadium.

Ohio State lost to Wisconsin and now must win out including against Iowa on the road on November 20. Formerly ranked No. 1 in the BCS, Ohio State suffered the fate of all teams who have so far been ranked No. 1.

1. Michigan State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten):

Michigan State heads into Iowa City ranked No. 1 in the Big 10.

Michigan State has ridden the wave so far to stay ahead of the rest of the teams in Big Ten Conference.

The Spartans began their campaign by daring to beat Notre Dame causing their coach to have a heart-attack.

Next as underdogs they beat back Wisconsin in Week 5, and followed that up by hanging on to beat Michigan in Week 6.

They have survived week by week to retain their undefeated status––they need one more big win to retain the inside track to the Big Ten title.

The Spartans will play Iowa on the road in Iowa City this Saturday for all the marbles.

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Week 9 of Zultan’s Fearless College Football Forecast… 1

Posted on October 26, 2010 by JA Allen

Zultan - Football Prognosticator Extraordinaire

Zultan suffered an almost  mortal blow this past weekend as he was stampeded by a herd of pesky badgers in Iowa, spending the rest of the weekend picking turf out of his teeth.

To add to his misfortunes, the BCS No. 1 ranked team, the Oklahoma Sooners, also lost.

Luckily, for Iowa, they do not have to worry about that kiss of death––being ranked No. 1 by the BCS Mad Hacker.  I feel for Auburn – well, sort of, but not really.  They are doomed but at least we know that heading into action for Week 9.

When asked last week, 46 of you volunteered to stand in Zultan’s shoes to predict winners starting In Week 10 (next week).  Zultan was touched that so many were willing to take the bullet for the mighty one.  More on that at the end of this article.

In order to test the waters , Zultan has invited a substitute soothsayer to make selections this week. The question is – will the guest prognosticator sent by the football gods be able to discern Zultan’s subtleties in picking winners?

He offers a clue to his identity:

“I am the first great 21st Century Seer, Michel Auguste Dupin. The masses who know of my mental acuity and follow my intricate machinations simply refer to me by my initials; they style me MAD. I think it rather fits, for if you pick against me, surely you must be insane!”

Zultan will allow MAD to make his picks without interruption or ridicule by the Mighty One, although the temptations will be there, rest assured.  The Mad Ones selections will stand as if Zultan made them himself.

Click here to make your picks for Week 9 and see if you can send the “lean and hungry” Mad One back to the bleachers by surpassing him in picking winners.

Only ten of you by-passed Zultan in Week 8 by going 9-1.  These very astute people along with the season-long leaders in outguessing the Mighty One will be listed at the end of this article.

As written by MAD:

Big Ten Game 1: Purdue Boilermakers at Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois has improved their standing significantly since the start of the season.

Purdue (4-3, 2-1) was in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time last week, getting thumped 49-0 by a hungry Ohio State team at the Horseshoe, a week after the Bucks suffered a stunning upset at the hands of Wisconsin.

Plus, in 2009 the Boilers upended the Buckeyes at home, 26-18. Classic double-whammy––saw this beat down coming from miles away.

While it’s easy to explain Ohio State’s motivations behind the pounding the ‘Makers took last weekend, 49-0 is 49-0. That doesn’t bode well as the Illini (4-3, 2-2) prepare to welcome Purdue to Champaign on Saturday. Illinois defended their house last week to the tune of a 43-13 rout of Indiana.

It’s tough to get worked up about this match up. Beyond the Big Ten rivalry, there is no real enmity here. And it’s not like we’re talking about a pair of traditional football powers.

If you’re a fan of either program and I’ve offended you, in the words of heavy metal band Suicidal Tendencies, “Maybe you need to be offended.” I’m just calling ’em like I see ’em.

In a match up between mediocre teams, momentum and home field advantage are frequently the deciding factors. Each favors the home-standing Illini.

Pick: Illinois

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Four Reasons Iowa’s Football Team Will Defeat the Wisconsin Badgers in Week 8 2

Posted on October 20, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa won at Wisconsin in 2009.

When Iowa meets Wisconsin on Saturday fans will witness two highly skilled Big Ten teams with almost identical mindsets, the same coaching philosophy, and similar styles of play.

The two teams meet on the playing field in Iowa City at a crucial juncture in the season. The outcome of this game will shape their football fortunes for 2010––in the Big Ten and, perhaps, upon the more prominent BCS national stage.

This year both teams remain in contention for the Big Ten title, each with one loss––although Iowa has not lost to a Big Ten opponent. The Badgers fell to Michigan State in Week 5 in East Lansing.

This is a must-win game for both teams heading into the heart of the Big Ten season.

Although Iowa and Wisconsin are very similar, their differences will be revealed on Saturday as Iowa tries to capitalize on the advantages the Hawkeyes hold over their worthy rivals.

Iowa’s success will materialize from the following:

Key 1: Iowa’s Defensive Line Rules Wisconsin’s Offensive Line.

Iowa's Adrian Clayborn is not easily contained.

For the Badgers to win against Iowa, Wisconsin must flatten Iowa’s front four on defense.

That means overpowering DE Adrian Clayborn,  DE Broderick Binns, DT Christian Ballard and DT Karl Klug.

Keeping Iowa’s awesome foursome down long enough so that Wisconsin’s power running backs John Clay and  James White can work their magic on the scoreboard will fall squarely on the shoulders of the Badger offensive line.

Wisconsin must establish the running game to have any hope of winning this football game on the road in Iowa City.

But Iowa ranks No. 1 in the Big Ten in rushing defense. They may, in fact, have the top overall defense in the country.

This will prove to be the ultimate test for the Badger’s big boys up front on the offensive line––senior left guard John Moffitt, senior left tackle Gabe Carimi, sophomore center Peter Konz, junior right guard Kevin Zeitler and sophomore right tackle Ricky Wagner as they try to blaze a path for their vaunted running backs.
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