10. Classic Rock. In December of 1989 Canadian super group Rush released their deeply complex transitional rock album Presto, Neil Young released Rockin in the Free World and Norm Parker had ten toes. Parker and Michigan State faced off against the Univ. of Hawai'i in the Aloha Bowl on December 25th of that year and Parker's team won, decisively. As it so happens, a young Paul Johnson was the offensive coordinator for the Rainbow Warriors. Today hardcore Rush fans will tell you Presto holds little significance in the Rush discography, Neil Young will sardonically admit he now rocks in a far less free world, and Parker's down to eight toes. By the end of Tuesday night it will be clear that Parker's success against Johnson's option attack that Christmas Day over 20 years ago, was fly by night.
9. Real Man Of Genius. One could argue that if Georgia Tech's Coach Paul Johnson didn't cut his hair regularly, his likeness to Einstein would be more than just cerebral. With Mike Leach out of coaching, Paul Johnson is now the undisputed offensive genius of college football. On Tuesday night expect Johnson to perform the football equivalent of splitting the atom, which will result in the Iowa defense doing this around the end of the first quarter.
8. Fashion Statement. Much has been made of the contrasting styles of Iowa and Georgia Tech. On the one hand you have Georgia Tech's offense, which is so masterly that even Alabam's Ken Stabler was an effective runner in it, and Oklahoma's Joe Washington a capable passer (:50 mark). While on other end of the you have Iowa's blue jeans defense which seldom shifts, blitzes, or subs. When attending the big event, given the choice between the edgy yellow jacket or the overalls, choose the yellow jacket.
7. No Joshing Around. Josh Nesbitt don't play that. It would be easy to take an option quarterback lightly. In an age where option attacks are reserved for service academies and a couple of MAC/WAC or CRACK schools, Josh Nesbitt is no clown, he's Georgia Tech's dual threat quarterback. He has rushed for more yards than Robinson or Wegher this season and he has thrown for 77% of Stanzi's total passing yards, but with half as many completions. On Tuesday expect Nesbitt to to whack Iowa upside the head.
6. Dual Threat. When your team's fight song doubles as a serious drinking song you know you're on to something. Sure the Iowa fight song mentions a gun, but it is only in passing and just doesn't take it nearly far enough to compete. This isn't even a contest, the Yellow Jackets have the superior fight song and if the team's play reflects their respective fight song lyrics then this will be over by halftime.
5. Tradition. John Heisman, for whom the Heisman trophy is named, and Bobby Dodd, for whom the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award is named, both were at Georgia Tech. The school has two official nicknames, the "Yellow Jackets" and the "Ramblin' Wreck", and two mascots, a 1930 Ford Model A Sports Coupe called, ironically enough, The "Ramblin' Wreck" and the yellow jacket "Buzz." Georgia Tech's first four bowl game appearances, the Rose Bowl, Orange Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and Sugar Bowl, marked the first time a team had competed in all four of the Major Bowl Games. And this is only a sampling of the deep, rich gold that is Georgia Tech football tradition. Cynics will remind everyone that Georgia Tech lacks its own Heisman Trophy winner, but look for all that history and pomp to be just too much for little ‘ol Iowa to overcome--and expect Adrian Clayborn to be most affected.
4. Oh, Rickety You're So Fine. Ricky Stanzi's play this season has too often resembled Jerry's date in the famed Seinfeld "The Strike" episode, good-looking one minute and so ugly the next. Given that Stanzi is coming off ankle surgery and has been asked to sit out practice at least twice in the past week, Hawkeye fans have every right to wonder which Ricky will show up in Miami. Expect both to be in full flower after such a long lay-off and with him playing at less than 100%. All of which of course begs the question: How bad will the bad Ricky be? Expect the worst and hope for the best.
3. Fruits and Flowers. Iowa's bowl history suggests that any bowl not named after a restaurant, credit card, star or an American mythology is trouble. The worst of it coming in bowl games named after fruits and flowers. After a 2-0 start in the Rose Bowl, Iowa's record since has been one of embarrassment, and their Peach and Orange Bowl records only add to the dysfunction. It's hard to explain why bowls named after agricultural products would perplex a school from a farming state, perhaps it is crop envy. Expect this game to be a little fruity before the rot kicks in.
2. Smarter. It's fair to say that any school that includes a student's favorite chemical element on their nametag at freshman orientation skews toward the brainy. Technopoly, as the student body affectionately calls their university, refuses to confer art degrees, as in Bachelor of Arts degrees. The football team is, as always, smarter than the general student population. To play at Technopoly a player must be able to decipher their offensive and defensive schemes without the aid of playbooks (yeah, Johnson eschews playbooks). No coaching is done hands-on, it is all done on-line...more efficient, says Johnson. Besides coaching themselves, players like to to get amped up before games by listening to Strauss' Vienna Blood while watching Smash Lab reruns. Expect them to use subliminal messaging at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and to assert total mind control over the referees. There really is no chance for Iowa as Technopoly's Mark Hamill Computer Science Department ran a simulation of the game over 69 sexatillian times, and in all but one simulation...Iowa is fucked.
1. Norm Parker. Need I say more?
* as the cliché goes, I consider this game the beginning of next season.