10. Saccharin. Substitution for the delicious taste of sugar may seem like an idiotic idea, unless you're a fat shit. But in football, substitution is integral and welcomed unless you're Iowa's defense. The Hawks have been unable to develop a reliable substitution pattern anywhere other than on the defensive line and even that has not yielded great results as Iowa's overreliance on what amounts to 12 players has led to several fourth quarter exhausted meltdowns by the Hawkeyes. Expect Ohio State to enjoy the sweet taste of whupass throughout this game.
9. Stress Test. A year ago Iowa welcomed tension and anxiety as they trailed in numerous 4th quarters only to emerge the victor. This year Iowa has been the football equivalent of a nervous breakdown having given up small and large leads alike with only minutes left in regulation. Given Ohio State's 4th quarter success this season, expect them to leave the Hawkeyes breathing into a paper bag during Saturday's latest public meltdown.
8. Darkness On The Edge of Town. Ricky Stanzi was born and raised in Ohio where every high school football player dreams of one day becoming an Ohio State Buckeye. So common is this fantasy that merely being recruited by Ohio State can be the high point of a player's career. Alas, Ricky Stanzi was unnoticed by the Buckeyes and one can only imagine his level of motivation to finally underscore their reckless oversight. It has been a long wait. In Stanzi's first two years of eligibility the Hawkeyes did not play the Sweater Vests. Last year Stanzi was injured and unable to take the field. So this year will be Ricky Stanzi's first and last opportunity to play the Buckeyes. On Saturday, expect Stanzi to thank his lucky stars he never had to do so before.
7. Nightmare. Ohio State is 45-14-4 all-time against Iowa. So thoroughly dominant have the Buckeyes been against Iowa that since Martin Luther King delivered his "I Have A Dream Speech" the Buckeyes have lost to Iowa a grand total of 3 times. Given the way the Hawkeyes have been playing if they think they are going win this game, they're hallucinating.
6. Leading Man. Jim Tressel has never won the Big Ten Coach of the Year Award. It is well known that Ohio State has a massive recruiting advantage over every other Big Ten team, and this has led to a diminished view of Tressel's responsibility for their success. But it would be hard to imagine Tressel not running the table with the immense talent the Hawkeyes possesses. In a fantasy football world there may be only one player on Ohio State's roster that -- position for position -- is obviously worthy of a heads up trade with the Hawkeyes. Add on that Tressel is a much better Tresselball coach than Ferentz, and you have a mismatch on the sidelines on Saturday.
5. The Eyes Have It. Buckeyes v. Hawkeyes? In the Rochambeau of nicknames, I'll take a nut with documented medicinal powers over an imaginary bird, all day long. [Rerun of sorts from last year.]
4. Great Dane. Iowa has proven they are sketchy at stopping anyone's passing game in crunch time, and along comes Dane Sanzenbacher - whose last name is Danish for "another touchdown catch."
3. Pick Your Poison. After establishing himself as a mistake-free quarterback for nine straight games Ricky Stanzi reverted to old habits by throwing an awful and ultimately game-changing interception against Northwestern on Saturday. Old habits do, it seems, die hard. Now comes to town the NCAA leading defense in interceptions. And that's not even the bad news. Ohio State is ranked 3rd in pass efficiency defense. So obviously the Iowa game plan has to be to establish the run, right? Well the Buckeyes are 5th nationally in rush defense. Hmmm...maybe Iowa can score on a kickoff return, like last year? Good news! There are likely to be many, many opportunities to do so.
2. Mr. T. Terrelle Pryor's record as Ohio State's starting QB is 28-5 and, more importantly, he's 1-0 versus Iowa. He remains astonishingly big and fast--he's roughly the size that Iowa offensive guard Nolan MacMillan was when he arrived on campus and faster than every Iowa WR with the possible exception of Paul Chaney, Jr. He's not only massive and speedy but he's got a hot hand as of late. Over the past two games Pryor has led Ohio State to as many points in their two 4th quarters as Iowa has scored in all eight of theirs. It goes without saying that I pity the fool that tries to stop Ohio State's man-child on Saturday.
1. Kirk Ferentz. Need I say more?