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Welcome to the Hater's Ball. Joining us for the preview today are Silky Johnson and Buc Nasty, two worthy competitors to the "Player Hater of the Year" crown. Silky was the winner, of course, after phoning in a bomb threat to the Special Olympics.

Iowa's opponent this week, Iowa State, is one we all know well. They are the doormat. They are the foot fungus. In the "Uranus" joke we enjoyed as 8-year-olds, they are the "Klingons." They show us that "suck" is not only a verb, but a way of life.

Buc Nasty, anything to add before we turn things over to the reigning champion?

They should take those helmets and beat whoever designed them uniforms to death.

Wonderful. Let's get started.

(read more...)


Iowa OL vs. Iowa State DL

It's still up in the air whether Iowa has a good offensive line, or they've just been facing lousy opposition. After tomorrow, that question will remain unanswered. Rashawn Parker is a decent rush end, but he's no Larry English, who was smothered by LT Kyle Calloway. Iowa will continue their dominance in the trenches.

IOWA WR/TE vs. Iowa State DB

Kirk Ferentz was being very polite when he described what ISU does on defense as "not the whole ball of wax at this point," in reference to the Chizik scheme he ran at Texas. What he meant to say was, "My God, UNI completed nearly 80% of their passes," then he meant to cackle maniacally.

The bad news for Iowa, as reported by Jebus a couple hours ago, is that Stross is still out with a bum wheel. The good news is that Jebus himself could strap on a leather helmet from the 40's and a #46 faux-jersey-shirt from 2000, and still rack up about seven catches for 86 yards and a score. Iowa, of course, is at an advantage.

Silky Johnson: The Iowa State cheerleaders wear underwear with dick holes in them.

Iowa RB vs. Iowa State LB

No decent coach will look at Iowa's offense and say, "let's make them run to beat us." All of the inexperience lies in the passing game, so you'll likely see defenses set up to stop the run first like last week (though, presumably, with less hilarious ineptitude). In this case, fat bastard nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin (chance of pseudonym: 63%) will try to occupy as many offensive linemen as possible in order to free up middle linebacker Alvin Bowen, who might be the only member of the Iowa State defense that can legally be described as "good at tackle football."

Nonetheless, UNI tailback Corey Lewis, who (and it bears repeating) is a tailback at Northern Iowa, rushed for 130 yards on only 19 carries last week. The week prior, Kent State's primary tailback, Eugene Jarvis, racked up 113 yards on 25 carries, officially cementing ISU as "literally awful against the run."

Meanwhile, Albert Young and Damian Sims have been running for over 5.5 yards per carry while facing 8 in the box on a consistent basis. They'll either combine for over 200 yards or so completely occupy the defense that Christensen can continue to throw easy passes that turn into long touchdowns. ISU just plain can't stop them straight up.

Iowa QB vs. Iowa State D

Silky Johnson: What can I say about the Iowa State defense that hasn't already been said about Afghanistan. It's bombed out and depleted.

And that is all you need to know.


Iowa State OL vs. Iowa DL

ISU's offensive line is best described with this, uh, offensive line: "a diverse array of mark-ass marks, trick-ass marks, punk bitches, skig-skag skanks and scallywags, ho's, heifers, heehaws, and hoolihoos."

On the opposite side of the quality spectrum, Iowa's front four are starting to look awfully similar to that line that routinely collapsed opposing offensive lines at the end of 2005. That's probably because it's that exact same line, except older. It will take a serious regression of performance for Iowa not to dominate this side of the line as well.

Iowa State WR/TE vs. Iowa DB

Iowa's defensive backs put together another strong performance against Syracuse, as poor Andrew Robinson completed just two passes during the entire first half (neither, of course, went for a first down).

As for ISU, Todd Blythe only has seven catches on the year. That probably won't keep up, but... ye gods.

Silky Johnson: Now if you'll excuse me, I have to put water in Todd's momma's dish.

Iowa State RB vs. Iowa LB

Juco transfer J.J. Bass is being heralded as the Clones' savior in the backfield, even though he didn't even rush for three yards a pop against the UNI defense. I really don't know if there's anything worth adding.

Meanwhile, Mike Humpal is a maniac in zone coverage, and Edds and Klinkenborg are ferocious in pursuit and tackling. While none have the sheer athleticism of Hodge or Greenway, this might be the best-disciplined unit of linebackers Iowa's seen in the Ferentz era. They may even hold the biggest matchup advantage of the game. They're that good.

Iowa State QB vs. Iowa D

Honestly, the 2007 Bret Meyer is foreign to me. I remember a pesky dual-threat quarterback who dinked his way down the field with 10-yard outs to his heart's delight, and mixed in a healthy dose of read options. Unless Chizik has completely scrapped that offense (which, with a senior QB, is insanity), Meyer still knows how to move the ball on the Iowa defense.

That said... this defense is not werewolf-with-a-chainsaw-for-a-dick dominant, but they're pretty damned close. They're doing what good defenses do to bad offenses: completely shut them down. Look, anyone can pat themselves on the back for winning 56-13 against Wofford or some shit, but if your kids are giving up three first downs per drive then picking up a fumble, that's far more troubling than a steady diet of three-and-outs, like Iowa force-fed to the Oranges.

Logic dictates that Meyer and Blythe are simply too talented to be completely shut down again. But offenses don't fix themselves in a week--not when the level of defense goes from UNI to Iowa. It just doesn't happen. In the most generous scenario for ISU, this matchup is a push. Realistically? Iowa dominates again.

Silky Johnson: Bret Meyer looks like Ricky Davis before he got paid.


Good news: Andy Brodell is a solid return artist, and he'd probably do well on kickoffs too. The kickoff coverage has been smothering.

Bad news: Everything else about special teams so far. While nothing's particularly disastrous--it's not as if teams are taking kicks to the house--the special teams dominance from 3-5 years ago seems more a relic than an aspect of this program. That is not good, and it may cost Iowa a game or two this season.

I'm not retarded privy enough to get access to THE CLONE ZONE, so I have no idea what their special teams play looks like. Regardless, unless Iowa State treats Special Teams like the Special Olympics and only enters people in wheelchairs, it's damned near impossible to give Iowa the edge.


In the BDSM world of college athletics, Gene Chizik is clearly a submissive (in case you were curious, his safe word is "prevent") and a cutter. He must want the metaphorical stiletto of an in-state ass-kicking applied to his program's exposed genitals, because it happened last week and it's about to happen again.

And if that's okay with him, then we can probably assume that he's so filled with self-loathing that he doesn't mind dragging a razor against his wrists every now and then. Roll your eyes if you want, Cyclone fans, but if you expect someone to take this job, you know damned well that he'll either be inept or emo. Maybe even both.

Kirk Ferentz has stared the vaunted Chizik defense in the face, and he did not blink. Iowa came damned close to winning the Alamo Bowl, and that was against a defense that was A) far more talented and B) far better versed in the Chizik system than ISU is. Now he faces a far less potent offense, and he boasts a far more effective defense.

There's really no conceivable way Iowa loses unless both units lose their minds; the offense would have to start putting the football on the ground, and the defense would have to stop reading and start chasing. All this while ISU gains confidence and discipline. It's just not going to happen. Iowa should win by a margin like 38-10, and we should be terrified if Iowa doesn't cover while they only give 17.5.

Silky Johnson: Last of all, I'd like to thank God Almighty for giving Iowa so much and Iowa State so little.

Seriously, Iowa State sucks so bad.