10. Gullible. So it turns out Kirk Ferentz is quite the rube. In week one against Eastern Illinois the Hawkeyes had completely shut down the lowly Panthers. It should have come as no surprise that the hapless Panthers would resort to deception out of desperation to get something, anything going. They settled on a fake punt from their own 20 yard line, which led to their only score. Flash forward to this past Saturday. With Iowa proving to be unstoppable offensively in the second half and with Wisconsin's increasingly slim BCS hopes slowly crumbling with each Iowa score, Bret Beliema dialed up the exact same punt fake which led to an eventual Badger victory. Now coming into town is the Big Ten's ultimate grifter, Mark Dantonio. Last year in desperation he ran a hook and ladder play to perfection that almost snatched victory from the jaws of defeat for his Spartans. This past Saturday he hoodwinked Pat Fitzgerald on a fake punt play called "Mouse Trap" and rallied for an improbable 35-27 victory. Earlier in the season the daring Spartans coach called for a fake field goal to beat Notre Dame, in overtime. Expect Dantonio to employ a season's worth of trickery past Ferentz while the Iowa coach blindly whistles through this season's graveyard.
9. Heart of Lightness. When the going gets tough, the Hawkeyes have folded. It might be a lack of talent, although it is more likely a lack of heart. Meanwhile Michigan State is so full of heart their coach's literally failed from overexertion. Thankfully he's back to good health, while the Hawkeyes are on life support. Expect Iowa to require a defibrillator after Saturday's loss.
8. Diversity Training. Iowa's defense has become so vanilla, so homogeneous, and so offensive that the Hawkeyes could credibly adopt the Ole Miss discarded mascot, Colonel Reb. No blitzing, no deception, no resistance, no problem. Despite having several players who may get picked up in the first three rounds of the NFL draft after their collegiate careers have ended, the Hawkeyes have given up 59 points in their past two starts and the brunt of Iowa's schedule is still ahead of them. Expect MSU to take affirmative action this Saturday.
7. Many Happy Returns. Keshawn Martin is 11th nationally in total return yards. After Saturday he will most certainly be in the Top 10 after toying with the Iowa punt and kick coverage. Martin has scored on a punt return already this season and has been named Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week as well. Iowa, as we all know, cannot cover bad special teams players. I'm looking up the record for return yards in a single game as I write this...
6. Keeping Up With the Joneses. Yes, this catchphrase represents the measurement of one's success in relation to your mythical middle class neighbors--usually understood to be in socio-economic terms. In the Big Ten "keeping up with the Joneses" is a catchphrase that asks how your linebackers measure up with those of the Michigan State Spartans, as led by All-American Greg Jones. In this regard Iowa is indigent.
5. Emergency Lane. Iowa's inability to make extra points in crucial games may be due to a young kicker. The only problem with that assessment is redshirt sophomore Trent Mossbrucker had an extra point attempt blocked at Arizona. So while it's easy to blame the kicker for these blocks, it may be that Iowa just isn't coached up sufficiently on how to seal the inside with their extra point unit. It may be time to consider the Lane Kiffin approach and go for two-points following every touchdown, unless those points are totally irrelevant to the game. As Kiffin explained, "If you make it, you're ahead of things and in a two-score game right away." Yeah, what he said.
4. Special Teams Disorder. Iowa's special teams play is now classified by the National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities as a disorder. Special Teams Disorder (STD) can make it problematic for a player to perform his responsibility when not playing on his usual offensive or defensive unit. This failure is not indicative of intelligence level we are told. Rather, players with STD have trouble performing specific types of skills or completing task only when playing for Iowa's special teams. Some experts however have their doubts as to the cause and are researching whether Iowa players, in particular, are not just dumb. At this point, this is only a theory and research has yet to yield conclusive results. Expect much new data to be provided this Saturday.
3. Don't Believe the Hype! Bobby Petrino, Mark Richt, and Kirk Ferentz. These men, you might be surprised to learn, have something in common...they're all overrated. How so? To start with, each is paid a king's ransom by his respective school (over $3 million each), but for what? None have won or even sniffed a National Championship while the rest of the Top Ten highest paid college coaches all have at least one national title to their name. Ferentz though might be the exceptionally hyped standout in this group. Besides being overpaid, he somehow perpetually finds himself on the shortlist of every open NFL job. How does a coach with a lifetime winning percentage of 56% find himself is in such rarified air? Well, a real coaches coach is about to give Ferentz a wake-up call. [Reprised from last year.]
2. Who Are Those Guys? Edwin Baker, Le'Veon Bell and Larry Caper make up a brotherhood of running back inevitability. The Michigan State rushing attack is a lot like "those guys" in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, they just keep coming at you no matter what you do.
1. Adrian Clayborn. Need I say more?