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The Honey War Returns: Iowa vs. Missouri Insight Bowl LIVEOPENGAMETHREAD

So it turns out there's actually a football game tonight. I mean, you could be forgiven for forgetting that there's a real game, what with the fact we're not used to seeing Iowa playing in late-December games or if you were under the impression that we were actually fielding a drug team with a recreational football habit. But, no, they're playing a real football game -- with officials and scoreboards and TV commentators and everything -- this evening in Tempe, AZ -- just 110 miles from Iowa's last fun trip to the desert earlier this year!

This has been a brutally disappointing season, one that began with so much promise and ended with such a damp thud in Minneapolis -- and then things managed to get even worse once they stopped playing football as off-field shenanigans managed to take Iowa's all-time leading receiver and season-leading rusher out of the picture for this bowl game. So if you want to tune out on the season and just make a clean break, we understand -- click away now and you won't hurt our feelings. But it's still a meaningful game of college football -- the most glorious and exhilarating sport around. It's still the last game for this large and memorable senior class, and it would still be nice to send them out with a bang. It's still a chance to beat a border rival that has a colorful (albeit brief) history with Iowa. And, hell, it would just feel better to reflect on a bowl win and an 8-5 record over the next eight months than a fourth straight loss to end the season and a 7-6 record.

Anyway, I wrote a bunch more earlier tonight about reasons why Iowa might win for a preview post, but it was all about boring shit like the defense being healthy and the underdog factor -- and then it turns out Jacobi beat me to the punch by ten minutes and his was much funnier and much better, so yeah. I'll just skip to the part about my prediction. The optimist in me says Iowa uses the events of the past few months as motivation and plays its most inspired football since the Michigan State game and finds a way to win. The pessimist in me wonders how the offense scores without two of its most important weapons and has no faith in the defense getting that critical late-game stop after seeing them come up short time after time in the season's home stretch. I hope I'm wrong, but... MISSOURI 21, IOWA 13

This is your open thread to wax rhapsodic about the game or whatever's on your mind. The usual rules of open threads here apply -- no porn, no piracy, no spam, no slurs, etc. You know the drill - don't be a dumbass. Game's on ESPN at 9pm CST. Get your drink on and come on in -- it's the last chance for us to do this until September and that is a very long time from now.