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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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Toe to Toe: Iowa Vs. Penn State in College Football’s Top 25 3

Posted on October 01, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa vs. Penn State in Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

Hawkeye fans sense there is something not quite copacetic about the upcoming game with the Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday night in Kinnick Stadium before a sellout crowd.

The truth is that being favored over the Lions just does not seem to sit well with the Iowa faithful. It makes fans a bit uneasy. Being the underdog for all these years seemed to suit the team better—giving them something to strive for.

That is not to say that Iowa fans do not appreciate how hard the Hawkeyes have worked to make into the upper echelons of college football—but as fans, we grew used to being the perennial underdogs to the Big Boys in the Big Ten.

Maybe, like the media, we always hesitate to give the Iowa football team the nod, that ultimate vote of confidence—expecting them to suffer that giant step back instead of marching forward into the winner’s circle.

Saturday’s game should prove something once and for all because Iowa has practically owned Penn State since the year 2000, losing only once to the Nittany Lions. What has made the difference on many occasions as the game came down to the wire, has been the play of the Iowa special teams.

As they are in any football game, special teams will be important in this contest,—because when the clock ticks down in the fourth quarter, it is special teams and their turnovers pro and con that can make the difference.

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Iowa vs. Penn State: The Best Rivalry in Big Ten College Football, Part 2 13

Posted on September 30, 2010 by JA Allen

Part 2

Iowa vs. Penn State 2002.

2002: Iowa 42, Penn State 35 (1 OT)

The Date: 9/22/2002. The Place: Beaver Stadium. The Coaches: Kirk Ferentz vs. Joe Paterno.

Once again, the Nittany Lions seemed to underestimate the Hawkeyes in the fan-friendly environs of Beaver Stadium.

The Nittany Lions were such gregarious hosts that they spotted the lower-ranked, unanimously anointed underdog Hawkeyes three touchdowns.

As the game progressed, coach Joe Paterno suffered that sinking feeling once again. It appeared that his team had forgotten how to execute simple pass patterns, and how to run between tacklers.

Penn State turned the ball over twice in the first 22 minutes––giving the Hawkeyes two touchdowns and the Nittany Lions their worst first-quarter performance in almost a decade.

At halftime, Penn State was down, 26-7.

Then, all at once, the Nittany Lions sprung to life with a little over seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. They were down, 35-13, at that point.

Penn State stormed back, scoring 22 points to force the game into overtime.

Big Lion tailback Larry Johnson got things rolling when he nabbed a screen pass from quarterback Zack Mills, rambling 36 yards for a touchdown.

Some real heroics and gutsy play sealed the comeback for the Nittany Lions, who tied it up to the chagrin of the Iowa team and their fans.

The Hawkeyes had figured—somewhat prematurely—that they had done enough to win this game in Happy Valley.

Now, there was more to do in overtime. But the Hawkeyes did it.

Under fire, Iowa quarterback Brad Banks threw a six-yard completion to C.J. Jones to take the Hawkeyes up 42-35. This time Penn State could not answer the call, and the game ended.

Once again, the underrated Hawkeyes defeated Penn State in Beaver Stadium.

Iowa had outstanding play on the afternoon by running back Fred Russell, who amassed 142 hard-earned rushing yards, and by vaunted tight end Dallas Clark, who caught four passes for 88 yards and seemed to own the center of the field.

As Joe Paterno chased officials off the field, complaining about certain calls, the curtain fell on another heart-stopper between Penn State and Iowa.

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Iowa Hawkeyes Football: Top 10 Keys to Defeating Eastern Illinois 5

Posted on September 01, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa opens the season at home against Eastern Illinois.

As you watch the University of Iowa’s football team take the field Saturday at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City against the Eastern Illinois Panthers, you need to gauge the Hawkeye’s success by looking at the following factors:

(1) The State of Mind of Quarterback Ricky Stanzi

Last year in their opener against Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes trailed 10-3 at halftime.  The coaching staff sweated bullets.  These Northern Iowa Panthers were not patsies.

In the third quarter Northern Iowa extended their lead 13-3.  Stanzi’s back was against the proverbial wall when he marched the offense 70 yards in six plays to score, reducing Northern Iowa’s lead to three.

The reinvigorated offense under Stanzi’s leadership took charge in the fourth quarter.  Tony Moeaki caught a six yard pass to change the score in favor of Iowa for the first time 17-13.  With 13 minutes left on the clock, all Iowa had to do was hang on for a win.

But Iowa never did things the easy way––at least not in 2009.

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Hawkeye Football Success Story: A Dozen Years of Kirk Ferentz and Staff 3

Posted on August 10, 2010 by JA Allen

Kirk Ferentz and Ken O'Keefe survey action on the field.

No doubt about it—you get more hype, more scrutiny, and media exposure playing for Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, or Notre Dame in football then you do playing for the University of Iowa.

That is because Ohio State, Texas, Alabama, and Notre Dame have reputations of being esteemed, premier football programs, fielding the best teams with the best athletes year after year.

The most talented players ready to enter college desire to play for top-flight football programs because it means a chance to excel, playing with or against the very best in the country.  It also means a higher likelihood of being drafted by the NFL and signing lucrative pro contracts.

In the past decade of college football, however, the Iowa Hawkeyes finished No. 8 in 2002, 2003, and 2004, No. 20 in 2008, and No. 7 in 2009 in both the Associate Press and USA Today polls.

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University of Iowa Defense Will Dominate in 2010 0

Posted on July 29, 2010 by JA Allen

Iowa Football begins in September, until then fans only speculate about how good the Hawks will be in 2010.

Are you ready for some Hawkeye football?  It is not for the faint of heart or fair-weather fans.  You are either a rock or you are not.  There is no fence riding or “boohooing.”  You gotta wear a snarl and be ready for a blow to the gut––as disappointment can hit at any moment.

What you must understand from the outset is that Iowa is all about defense.  While lack of “Big D” can undermine most college football programs, defense remains the heart and soul of the University of Iowa’s recent favorable football fortunes.

Just look at last year. You had to have a strong heart and nerves of steel to weather the tsunami peaks and valleys that characterized an Iowa victory in 2009.  The Hawkeyes eked by week after week, securing four wins by three points or less. Herald the defense!

Penn State's offense was smothered by a swarming Iowa defense in 2009 in Happy Valley.

The Hawkeyes also came back in the second half in their games against Penn State and Wisconsin to secure wins.

Another heart-stopper came on the last minute touchdown pass to steal the game away at Michigan State as time expired.

Finally, what about holding on until Iowa scored four touchdowns in the last quarter to suffocate the Hoosier’s hopes for an upset?

Sedatives du jour became the cocktail before each Iowa kickoff.

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      Bulldog Turner

      Bulldog Turner

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      Though Hardin-Simmons College in Abilene, Texas was not known as a football power, legendary head coach George Halas could find great players anywhere and chose Clyde “Bulldog” Turner with the seventh pick in the 1940 NFL Draft.

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