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The Nightmare Matchup Paradox

We've already mentioned the fact that Iowa's game may largely hinge on the way Amari Spievey handles (or at least matches up with) DeMaryius Thomas.

What's interesting is that Thomas basically represents the single greatest fear for Spievey's pro aspirations. After all, though Amari's two years at Iowa are solidly successful resume builders and reason enough for a high draft pick, Spievey has now got a fly-running giant in front of him. Amari may be a lockdown corner within 15 yards of the LOS, but it has always seemed that he can be beaten deep; if anybody on Iowa's schedule this season can accomplish such a feat, it's Spievey.

Likewise, Tech's most highly rated pro prospect is Derrick Morgan. He's uniformly projected to be a top 8 pick in this draft, regardless of any minor problems that may arise between then and now. He's a likely future all-pro in the NFL. He can ball. He's legit.

And thus, the quandary arises.

After all, just as Spievey finds himself matched up against the type of receiver that has confounded him, Iowa OT Bryan Bulaga must face All-American Morgan. And a paradox ensues.

Indeed, if Iowa wants to win the bowl game and claim a BCS victory, it will have to be largely on the backs of Spievey and Bulaga. They both face GT's strongest players, and their success rate will fundamentally instruct their decisions for the 2010 season. Really, if Iowa's super juniors bring it as hard as we expect them to, they're gone for the NFL in a well-deserved nanosecond. They'd be demonstrably ready for the next level, even as Iowa's ship sinks. And so then Iowa sucks in 2010 as the Hawkeyes struggle in vain to replace their players who are ready for the next level.

Alternatively, despite the BXI showing, very few (or none!) are ready for the next level, and the bowl game will expose that. Good news if you wanted Bulaga, Calloway, and Spievey back, but bad news if you believed in their elite abilities beforehand.

So it's really a talon-dominant bitch of a celebration. It's a good feeling. Make the most of it.