10. Sandstorm. Ball State is in town and their timing could not be worse for us or better for them. After two near perfect games Iowa was hit by an unnatural desert disaster that led Kirk Ferentz, in his post-game comments, to essentially declare a state of emergency and a suspension of all normal football functions...like, say...practicing anything other than special teams and run blocking. Expect the Hawkeyes' emergency preparedness plans to resemble those of Hurricane Katrina--come a bit too late and be mostly ineffective.
9. Ball of Confusion. That's what the Iowa offensive line is today. Hey. Hey. It's been a long time since Iowa's offensive line looked as inept as it did against Arizona. The upside this week? It will have only been a week this time.
8. Back Pain. After an offseason of anxiety about how Iowa might handle an overstocked backfield the Hawkeye's are suddenly living a scene out of Groundhog Day...that is, if Wes Craven had directed it. First it was Brandon Wegher's mysterious disappearance. On Saturday Iowa lost Jewel Hampton to his second ACL injury, now he's out for the season. Paki O'Meara is out for Ball State with a concussion, and super deep depth chart running back Jason White is also out with an ACL injury. Iowa running back misfortune and misery has such broad reach at this point that even Jeff Brinson is out for the season with an ACL injury. Expect to see guys you've never heard of get carries this Saturday...which is to say, you'll learn why you have never heard of these guys before.
7. Vintage Clothing. For the Ball State game Iowa will wear 1960s throwback uniforms. Given that most historians describe the 1960s as a turbulent period of relentless and unpredictable change, filled with crisis and upheaval these uniforms couldn't be more appropriate. Expect the Hawkeyes to take this throwback thing a bit to literally and embark on a 21-year program decline, starting with Saturday's outcome.
6. Defensive Behavior. It used to be Iowa's football identity was as a tough defensive team that rarely, if ever broke down under pressure. Now Iowa's identity is as a defensive team that can't handle criticism or judgmenst about its noticeable vulnerabilities. Expect Ball State to have Iowa playing with their legs crossed and arms folded while avoiding eye contact as the Hawkeyes are made to look like a team with an inferiority complex.
5. Sell By Date. Iowa's secondary was supposed to be among the best in the nation. But in Tucson on Saturday they rotted in the sun. Expect them to go bad yet again, say midway through the National Anthem.
4. Having a Ball. Ball State running back MiQuale Lewis has 15 100-yard rushing games in his career and, in 2008 he rushed for 1,736 yards. Uh, not even Shonn Greene racked up 15 100-yard games in his college career and last year Iowa's entire team rushed for 1,485 yards. So expect Lewis to cut loose, live it up in Iowa's secondary and paint Kinnick Cardinal red on Saturday.
3. Parrish The Thought. Arizona head coach Mike Stoops may often be thought of as an Iowa "guy" but it's really more accurate to say he's professionally a product of Kansas State. It was at KSU where he really cut his coaching teeth and that stint set him on the path that led to last Saturday. Well, don't look now but Stan Parrish coached at Kansas State as well; was their head coach in fact. Add to that little nugget that Parrish also coached at Michigan back when the Wolverines were routinely dominating Iowa and that he coached up Brad Johnson during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl run and you can see that Stan will be The Man this Saturday.
2. Ball and Chain. Iowa's kickoff coverage has become the heavy metal ball manacled to Iowa's hopes and dreams. On Saturday expect Iowa to accept their sentence of mediocrity and serve out their term without any resistance.
1. Adrian Clayborn. Need I Say More?