INPIYL2I: ESPN Hops On Iowa's Bandwagon

It's Not Plagiarism If You Link To It is BHGP's roundup of all the day's news, opinion, and slander of everything about Iowa and our universe. Send all tips to our email addresses linked at the left of this column.

Here we go, and not in the fun Bud Light campaign sort of way: Okay, first thing's first: despite Iowa being ranked behind Ohio State in about 80-90% of projections for the upcoming season, ESPN asked one reporter to rank the teams in their likelihood to actually survive until the BCS Championship Game, and this is what happened:

1. Iowa The nonconference schedule is manageable, with the toughie being a road game at Arizona. The Hawkeyes get Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State at home. With 14 starters returning, that is quite a nice trifecta.

Just to reiterate: that's an ESPN writer tabbing Iowa as the team with the best shot at the NCAA championship game. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING.

The focus on the schedule, however, seems a little misguided; after all, Iowa misses Illinois and Purdue, both of whom suck this season. Further, Iowa only lost by 42 the last time Ferentz went out to Arizona for a September road game, and there's nothing to suggest that Iowa has a talent advantage at any matchup between the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes except maybe Iowa's secondary and Ohio State's receivers--and even that's debatable.

Iowa could beat Ohio State en route to running the table, and it wouldn't be all that unreasonable. But it would be unreasonable, especially since the task of blocking Cameron Heyward is going to fall on Julian Vandervelde, Adam Gettis, and the winner of the center battle between Josh Koeppel and Ferentz. Or, in other words, two guys who couldn't hold onto starting spots on the offensive line last season and two short guys who are barely pushing 275. And that's just one matchup where OSU holds an advantage.

We realize that a team like Iowa, who registered some rather anemic numbers on offense but still decisively won a BCS game last season, is going to engender some very divergent opinions and predictions for this season. Brian Cook seems to think Ricky Stanzi will regress in fourth quarter situations, which is both unlikely but also more likely than you think (mainly because 95% of Iowa fans reading this are thinking "CAN'T HAPPEN CAN'T HAPPEN" right now). But at the same time, if there's a ton of room for improvement on offense--name a statistic, Iowa's offense sucked at it last season--and the defense looks to be every bit as strong as last season, well, shouldn't an 11-2 team be setting goals that start at another double-digit win season?

But isn't every disease he suffered automatically "Lou Gehrig's Disease," or are we missing the point?: News from the New York Times indicates some uncertainty that the disease that felled Lou Gehrig so quickly was actually amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease. The source of the uncertainty? Chronic Traumatic Encephelopathy, who you may remember from the brain of Chris Henry and most other dead football players, and the immediate symptoms of which Gehrig likely ignored several times during his record-setting streak of games played in baseball.

The reason we're mentioning this study here is the likely cause of Gehrig's (supposed) brain damage. While he took just a few shots to the head as a New York Yankee, he was also a very accomplished football player at Columbia, where he played--surprise!--running back, before WW2 when nobody really gave much of a shit about mental health.

While we won't paint this subject with the eye-rollingly blunt brush that Deadspin gave it, it's worth noting that even as soon as 60 years ago, concussion research was primitive at best, and Gehrig's swift descent toward death provides ample (but not conclusive) evidence against a diagnosis of ALS. And to make matters more complicated, if the story of Lou Gehrig is influenced by unusual brain injury--in an era without helmets--does that new information actually dissuade anybody from letting their children play sports? Should it? Serious questions.

SHORT SALEZ

The University of Iowa is tied for 72nd in the nation in the 2011 US News and World Report college rankings. That puts Iowa at 9th in the Big Ten and 29th among all public universities. None of these rankings are surprising, except when you consider that Iowa's bedfellows at no. 72 are California-Santa Cruz (Banana Slugs) and the Colorado School of Mines (Orediggers). You can probably make your own dirty joke from there.

Michigan's secondary took yet another hit yesterday when Troy Woolfolk suffered a severe ankle injury and, according to his father, will miss at least the next season with a dislocated ankle, a broken fibula, and ligament damage. To say his injury is awful is to understate the obvious, and to celebrate its occurrence is to engage in psychopathy. May he recover swiftly.

The Register is taking a poll of Iowa's best throwback helmets. We disagree with the popular choice, but that's just like, our opinion, man.

As if on cue, Scott Dochtermann puts an interview with Keenan Davis on YouTube. Thank you, Scott Dochtermann and Keenan Davis.

And finally, Vitamin Water and Gary Busey command you to remember the Alamo, butthorn!

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