10. Young Testament. Down goes the evil Ohio State. In Big Ten football lore, he who slays the dragon is given in marriage to the king's daughter. She is not the prize of a trivial tournament or a capricious game. She is a symbol of ultimate worth: the kingdom (as it were). The safety and continuity of the kingdom are connected with her. Once held, ultimate power and glory is confirmed. Translation: The men of Madison are getting some nice trim and will use our fair city to rub it in.
9. Mad Men. Anyone who's ever been to Madison knows exactly why Wisconsin is a fixture in Playboy's annual Top Party Schools edition. It usually looks something like this: portly youth of dairy farmers roaming State Street sucking down Leinenkugels and masticating moldy cheddar cheese cubes from a day old happy hour crudités platter. But hey, as every Wisconsinite knows, mixing beer and cheese almost always ends with a coed naked in your dorm room...although this is usually followed by a coed naked in your bathroom, sheepishly informing you that you're now out of toilet paper. This Saturday expect Madison to party like its 1999...and 2000, and 2001, and 2006, and 2007. [...this is a repeat from the 2009 list but I so enjoyed it I'm rerunning it.]
8. Closing Costs. Iowa's inability to close out a Big Ten opponent after building sizeable leads is a source of concern for some. Iowa had the Penn State game firmly in hand after a devastatingly dominant first quarter, only to shut down its own offense, which allowed Penn State back into the game. Iowa needed a late interception to fully salt the game away. The same thing happened again last weekend: big lead, offense goes vanilla, Michigan gets back in the game, interception needed to salt game away. Well, Wisconsin has proven to be a solid starter in all their games thus far. They were leading Michigan State in the second quarter and last week they opened with a KO return for a TD. Youch.
7. BS Standings. Wisconsin is rated higher (#13) than Iowa (#15) in the first BCS standings. Ergo, they are better. There is no better tool of examination in existence. So there.
6. You Bret Ya! The dirty little secret of Bret Bielema's so-called "Two Point Card" is that it was, like nearly every coaching card in college football, based on Dick Vermeil's conversion chart created in the early 1970s when he was offensive coordinator under Tommy Prothro at UCLA. On Vermeil's chart there are suggestions when leading by a little as 1-point and as many as 20-points. However, the chart ends there. Expect Bielema to have his team in such a comfort zone on Saturday that the chart never sees the light of day.
5. Gophergure. In 1909 William T. Purdy composed what John Phillip Sousa would later regard as "the finest of college marching songs." Over the years it has become basis for more than 2,500 college and high school fight songs. Such musical gold is "On Wisconsin" that Paul McCartney owns the international rights. The irony, and reason for concern, is that it was originally written to be the University of Minnesota fight song. There is something spooky in all this.
4. Say Watt!?! Wisconsin defensive end J.J. Watt took it upon himself to personally end Terrelle Pryor's already doubtful run to the Heisman Trophy. Watt made the whole notion academic though by sacking Pryor twice, he also had three tackles for a loss and was disruptive all night in helping to limit Pryor to 56 yards rushing and 156 yards passing. Ricky Stanzi's escapabilty and movement in the pocket, in comparison to Pryor's, is along the lines of comparing Betty White to Shaun White. Expect Watt to ensure that Stanzi's recent Big Ten Offensive POW award is the end of the Iowa QB's season accolades.
3. MLB. The playoffs are in full bloom and as much as I know you loved seeing the Yankees thoroughly dominated by Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers that is not the MLB of which I am interested. Jeff Tarpinian is still not listed on the Two Deeps and that dude is a tackling machine. Without him expect Wisconsin and their vaunted rushing attack to gorge Iowa's soft middle...much like Cliff Lee did the strike zone last night. Hey, I pulled it all together!
2. Sack Lunch. Entering the season Iowa's defensive line was widely considered among the best in the nation. Many pundits went so far as to call it the finest. Much of the expected success focused on Preseason All American Adrian Clayborn. Well, so far Clayborn is ranked 20th in sacks...in the Big Ten, and is not even listed nationally. In fact, Iowa's highest ranked player in terms of sacks is Mike Daniels, and his health is in question for Saturday. Expect Scott Tolzien to spread a blanket, pop the cork on a nice Beaujolais and feast on French bread and Reblochon while deciding to whom he should complete his passes.
1. Micah Hyde. Need I say more?