— Jeff Keen (@jhawkeen) November 14, 2013
You have to like what Jordan Canzeri brings to the table in terms of athleticism and against Michigan's fast front, getting to the point of attack quickly will be a priority. I'll say 40 carries in the last two games, out of about 80 for the Hawkeyes. The running game has to be a point of emphasis, because it's Iowa's best shot of getting a W against the last two talented but vulnerable opponents.
@Adam_Jacobi Ball St really isn't better than Iowa, is it?— Dan Borwig (@DBorwig316) November 14, 2013
No. The thought behind Desmond Howard's statement was that Ball State was tied with NIU, who beat Iowa by 3 points. But at that point in the game when they played Iowa was beating NIU (the Hawkeyes led for most of the game grumble grumble grumble) so the fact that Ball State was tied didn't mean much.
Further, NIU beat Iowa by 3 points. NIU ended up beating Ball State by 21. So, what, was Ball State at the end of the third quarter way, way better than Ball State at the end of the game, or how does that work?
Also, ask any recruit in the country where he'd rather play. Most would say Iowa, and the others are Minnesota commits or something.
So no, by no halfway plausible metric is Ball State better than Iowa. Stand down, troops.
This is what I get for scheduling a Q&A the day after MACtion, isn't it?
Anyway, let's look at where Ball State is, quality-wise, in relation to the Big Ten, and first we should separate the Big Ten into the distinct tiers it's got.
BCS CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER
BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBER
ONE BIG WIN AWAY FROM THE TOP 25
I'll give NIU the win over Illinois and Purdue 90% of the time. That's really, really good, by the way. Against Iowa's tier... 60/40. In the tier above, a 1-in-2 chance. Past that... 1 in 10.
So that's 6 expected wins if it played a 12-game B1G schedule. We play 8 in the Big Ten—don't know if y'all knew that, just a little insider info for ya!—so that works down to 4 wins; you can round that one win either way and it'll sound about right.
No more MAC questions! Onward!
OK, here's the deal. Herky is not a bird; it's a human in a bird costume. It's just human goofs, everyone! I would go one step further and write a post on BHGP called "OPINION: I Don't Think Humans Should Eat Humans In Animal Costumes," but based on how y'all reacted to similar pieces about keeping animals out of football I expect my Twitter mentions would be nothing but cannibalism cuisine questions for the next four months straight. I pass.
I get this question—like, worded exactly like this—about twice a month. And from different people. Purdue gets a lifetime pass because of Neil Amstrong and the moon. It's bullcrap and Purdue belongs somewhere between the MAC and the NAIA, but you're not allowed to say that to them. They get upset. Anyway, they're horrendous at football and they should stop trying.
Oh god. Ohio State is wonderful and probably the only team in the Big Ten that can run with any sort of reliability on MSU, but I sincerely wonder how well Braxton Miller would be able to escape that bloodthirsty pass rush. Remember: Devin Gardner is really, really athletic and he rushed for [Texas with a negative sign] yards on the Spartans. Braxton has the edge on Gardner in athleticism, but not by that much, so a big day would not be in the offing.
If I had to put a line on it, I'd say... oh man, OSU -5? O/U of 45 points, and that's factoring in the probability that someone scores on defense. And I'd take OSU to win. The Buckeyes are too good top to bottom. But if MSU won it wouldn't surprise me.