(BUMP. There may or may not be Official BHGP Presence -- i.e., me, PV, AJ, Jebus, HFMR, SMA, Horace, etc. -- here (I'm still trying to sort out my schedule), but I've met many of the Chicago-area BHGPers and they're good peeps and this should be a good time. jNW was last year, even with the game being such a farce. It's also a helluva deal for an away game and, hey, you can cross "attend a football game in West Lafayette" off your bucket list. What, that wasn't on there? For shame. Oh, and it's OUR MOST HATED RIVAL, for god's sake. -- RB)
Four weeks into the season and we think we're starting to figure out who the 2011 Iowa Hawkeyes are. We think this could be one of the more explosive passing offenses we've seen come out of Iowa City since, at the very least, 2004. We think we may have seen Kirk Ferentz turn a corner in his coaching philosophy. We think this defense is pretty average. Which also means we think this season could be an absolute white-knuckler, or in other words, a pretty typical Iowa Hawkeye football season (just dressed in different garb).
For those of us who have been able to watch other games around the conference we also have likely come to the conclusion that there's one really good team (who we aren't scheduled to play), a handful of pretty good teams and a shit-smeared tire fire at the bottom of the league (Hello, Minnesota. Hello, Indiana). By virtue of a winning record, OMHR is not technically part of that train-wreck (see what I did there) but any of us who have watched the Boilers this season have not seen a lot of progress on the field and, if anything, there's been regression on the sidelines.
(H/T, as always, to commenter The Final Gun.)
So what exactly am I getting at?
All of a sudden Iowa's schedule looks completely up for grabs. Arguably the two best-looking teams in the league are not on Iowa's schedule. The big, bad Huskers are looking like a slightly more-powerful, run-oriented version of ourselves; lots of points, defense? Not so much. This is all to say that heading into the penultimate contest of the year, Iowa could very well be looking at the season finale in Lincoln as the game deciding who represents the West (yeah, not doing that) in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game. Which makes the trip to the banks of the Wabash the week before all the more important. For those of you not convinced that a crappy Purdue team has what it takes to beat more-accomplished visitors at Ross-Ade, just ask the 2009 Ohio State Buckeyes (make sure you tell them the conversation is off the record, though).
This is just to emphasize how important it is that our Hawkeyes have a show of support on the road that week. If you've never been to West Lafayette (boy are you missing out...), it's perhaps the easiest road trip from Chicago in all the Big Ten (excluding NU, including UIUC). I've taken the step of reserving a block of tickets for the game at a discounted rate. Unfortunately, interest has only been so-so (20-ish so far) but it's been difficult to ascertain if that's a function of the season itself being such an unknown, the game being so far away in terms of distance and time or a combination of the three. While the game itself seems very far away, unfortunately for someone like myself who is attempting to coordinate any number of moving parts, it's all-too-close.
THIS WEEK I will be emailing the first email with the attached promo-code out to those of you who have already contacted me. If you want to go and haven't sent me an email, please do so NOW. My email, as seen in my profile, is email@example.com. Since the tickets will be available to anyone who has the code I will not be able to track purchases easily. I would ask that anyone who purchases a ticket shoots me a quick email with the number bought so I may more easily coordinate the other aspects of the weekend. What other features am I talking about?
- Party in Chicago for BHGPers either Friday or Saturday night, depending on overall consensus.
- Appropriately-sized tailgating spot in W. Lafayette for gameday
- Commemorative BHGP soccer jersey (they're sweet and under $20, more on this off-site)
- Transit from Chicago to the game (coach bus is only happening if we can get 40+ attendees).
For those of you who sent me emails long ago, sincerest apologies and grateful thanks for your patience. My life has been turned upside-down with a major shift in my job (a good one, don't worry) but now I'm getting my shit back together. Again, I cannot emphasize enough how much a timely response to this post will help me create the best-possible experience for everyone. I hope to see as many of you as possible at the game and Go Hawks!
PS: please, Chicago-area BHGPers, if any of you are willing to act as "hosts" for out-of-towners who otherwise wouldn't be able to make the trip, please send me an email indicating so. I myself hosted three of you for last year's jNW debacle and, unsurprisingly, everyone acted as a perfect gentleman.