Mr. Pessimist: HEY THERE, DUMBASS. HOW'S THE KOOL-AID TASTING THESE DAYS?
Mr. Optimist: Delicious. How many coaches do you want fired this week?
Mr. Pessimist: ALL OF THEM
Mr. Optimist: Of course you do
Mr. Pessimist: SHUT YOUR FACE-HOLE, YOU KOOL-AID DRINKING ENABLER.
Mr. Optimist: Charming. Alright, let's just get this over with: BHGP asked us to preview this week's Iowa-Michigan game.
Mr. Pessimist: OH GOD, THE PAIN, THE PAIN, THE HORRIBLE GODFORSAKEN PAIN.
Mr. Optimist: Oh, come on, you drama queen. Iowa's not that bad.
Mr. Pessimist: NOT THAT BAD? THEY JUST LOST TO MINNE-FUCKING-SOTA! THE SAME MINNESOTA TEAM THAT PEOPLE WERE THINKING MIGHT BE THE WORST BIG TEN TEAM IN HISTORY JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO!
Mr. Optimist: Well, that was a little hyperbolic, don't you think? And obviously why you don't judge an entire season on one or two games.
Mr. Pessimist: THEY WERE A FUCKING HORRORSHOW AND NO AMOUNT OF KOOL-AID CAN DENY THAT
Mr. Optimist: No, you're right --
Mr. Pessimist: HA!
Mr. Optimist: That was an inexcusable loss. But it was also flukey in a way, since --
Mr. Pessimist: FLUKEY? THEY'VE LOST MULTIPLE GAMES THAT SAME WAY THE LAST FEW YEARS: LATE DEFENSIVE COLLAPSES, RUNNING QUARTERBACKS, SPECIAL TEAMS MELTDOWNS...
Mr. Optimist: Hey, let me finish, okay? That's all true to some extent, but there were also some odd flukes in that game. Iowa scored on 26/27 red zone possessions... yet went just 3/6 against Minnesota? Mike Meyer had gone 12/14 on field goals before that game... but went 0/2 against Minnesota? Including missing a chip shot from 20-some yards?
Mr. Pessimist: HE WAS NEVER AS GOOD AS HIS STATS SAID HE WAS! HIS MECHANICS WERE IFFY AND HE WAS DUE TO REGRESS TO THE MEAN!
Mr. Optimist: Okay, be that as it may, I don't think it suddenly means he's going to start bricking field goals every week.
Mr. Pessimist: I GODDAMN HOPE NOT OR I WILL DEMAND THAT HIS SCHOLARSHIP BE CUT.
Mr. Optimist: You're such a charmer. I'm just saying, yeah, there was bad stuff that happened last week that was all too familiar to past Iowa games... but there was also some really weird, kind of random crap that happened in that game. That probably isn't going to happen in other games, too.
Mr. Pessimist: IT MIGHT. GUESS WHO HAS THE BEST RED ZONE DEFENSE STATS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY? /starts humming "Hail to the Victors"
Mr. Optimist: You're right. They've been very good about getting timely turnovers or stops in the red zone this year. They've also been much better at home than on the road at getting those stops. Opponents have scored on 7 of 9 red zone trips in Michigan's road games, compared to 8 of 17 red zone trips in Michigan's home games.
Mr. Pessimist: DOESN'T MATTER. MICHIGAN IS SO GOOD THAT THEY WON'T NEED IOWA TO MAKE A BUNCH OF FUCK-UPS TO WHUP THAT ASS UP AND DOWN THE TURF TOMORROW.
Mr. Optimist: How good is Michigan?
Mr. Pessimist: BETTER THAN FUCKING IOWA, THAT'S FOR SURE.
Mr. Optimist: Yeah, probably. But good teams don't always win -- especially on the road. See, um, last week's Iowa game.
Mr. Pessimist: ...
Mr. Optimist: Do you know how many times Michigan has left the state of Michigan this year?
Mr. Pessimist: NO, BUT I BET YOU DO
Mr. Optimist: Once! One time! And that was a trip to Northwestern, where they probably had at least half the fans anyway. They were down 10 points at halftime in that one, too.
Mr. Pessimist: AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED?
Mr. Optimist: Er, Michigan held Northwestern scoreless in the second half and won going away.
Mr. Pessimist: UH HUH. YOU KNOW WHO ELSE IS GOOD AT PISSING GAMES AWAY IN THE FOURTH QUARTER?
Mr. Optimist: Yeah, yeah. But still: they've only faced one truly hostile road environment all season -- at Michigan State -- where they looked like crap (Denard in particular) and lost.
Mr. Pessimist: MICHIGAN STATE ALSO HAS SOMETHING CALLED A "DEFENSE." PERHAPS YOU'VE HEARD OF IT? IOWA USED TO HAVE A PRETTY GOOD ONE.
Mr. Optimist: I know. We're going to get to the defense in a little bit. I'm just saying: Michigan hasn't been the same Michigan this year outside of Ann Arbor. And Kinnick can still get pretty rowdy.
Mr. Pessimist: PFFT. KINNICK WILL BE QUIET AS SUNDAY MASS AFTER DENARD WALTZES UP AND DOWN THE FIELD A FEW TIMES ON SATURDAY.
Mr. Optimist: Maybe, but not if the offense can get things going. Iowa's averaging 39 ppg at home this year.
Mr. Pessimist: MICHIGAN HAS THE 5TH BEST SCORING DEFENSE IN THE COUNTRY, BRO. ONLY GIVING UP 14.6 PPG.
Mr. Optimist: They've given up 26 ppg in their two road games, though. Look, for whatever reason Iowa has been a night and day different team at home versus on the road this year. It's nuts. I mean, look at Vandenberg's home-road splits:
HOME: 95/147 1365 yards 14 TD 2 INT
AWAY: 49/86 553 yards 3 TD 2 INT
He's averaging almost 100 fewer yards per game on the road and almost two fewer touchdown passes. If Iowa could play all their games at home, he'd probably run away with All-Big Ten honors.
Mr. Pessimist: MICHIGAN HAS A GOOD PASS DEFENSE -- 26TH IN THE COUNTRY.
Mr. Optimist: And just sixth in the Big Ten. Again: home-away splits matter, too. On the road, they've allowed 40 more ypg than at home, a higher QB rating, and a higher completion percentage.
Mr. Pessimist: THE FREAKISHLY ACCURATE DAN PERSA IS RESPONSIBLE FOR A LOT OF THAT. KIRKY COUSINS DIDN'T LOOK SO HOT AGAINST THEIR PASS DEFENSE.
Mr. Optimist: He was also trying to throw the ball into a wind tunnel.
Mr. Pessimist: EXCUSES ARE LIKE--
Mr. Optimist: Yeah, yeah. Anyway, Iowa could have success running the ball on Michigan too.
Mr. Pessimist: THEIR RUN DEFENSE IS... OKAY, ACTUALLY IT'S NOT AWESOME.
Mr. Optimist: Ha! Yeah, they're 51st in the nation and 5th in the Big Ten. It's not even just a home-road thing, either. Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan both went for 4.5 ypc or better against them in Ann Arbor. Michigan State ran up and down on them on the road, too: 213 yards on 39 carries, 5.5 ypc.
Mr. Pessimist: YEAH, WELL, DOESN'T IOWA KIND OF SUCK AT RUNNING THE BALL THIS YEAR?
Mr. Optimist: Well, sort of. But two points there: one, while we were below average as a team, we did have one great individual runner: Marcus Coker. And two, we've been a lot better the last few weeks. 150+ yards in three straight games, six touchdowns, at least 4.8 ypc in every game.
Mr. Pessimist: YEAH, AGAINST THE THREE WORST RUSH DEFENSES IN THE LEAGUE.
Mr. Optimist: True, but even a blind man could tell that Marcus Coker is running much better now than he was earlier in the year. It's not like Iowa State and Tennessee Tech had lockdown run defenses, either, and he wasn't abusing them like he has the last few weeks. He's running hard, he's running with confidence, and he's running decisively. Have you seen how many defensive backs he's trucked the last few weeks? And as far as the team goes, it sounds like we're going to have our best back-up running back, Mika'il McCall, available for the game this week. So the coaches might actually be comfortable giving meaningful carries to someone other than Coker.
Mr. Pessimist: DOESN'T MATTER 'CAUSE O'KEEFE WON'T GIVE HIM CARRIES LATE IN THE GAME.
Mr. Optimist: ...
Mr. Pessimist: HA! GOTCHA!
Mr. Optimist: Look, you'll get no argument from me: that playcalling at the end of the game last week was idiotic. Hopefully Kenny's back on his meds this week.
Mr. Pessimist: YEAH, SURE, SMART GUY. WHAT ABOUT THE DEFENSE, HUH?
Mr. Optimist: ...
Mr. Pessimist: HA! GOTCHA AGAIN!
Mr. Optimist: They played better for three quarters last week...
Mr. Pessimist: OH DON'T EVEN COME IN HERE WITH THAT WEAK SHIT. MINNESOTA'S OFFENSE IS A GODDAMN DISASTER ZONE AND THE IOWA D STILL FOLDED UP LIKE A THAI LADYBOY IN THE FOURTH QUARTER LAST WEEK. THEY'RE PUTRID.
Mr. Optimist: Denard's thrown 11 interceptions this year and he loves to embrace the "heave it and hope" approach to passing the ball. Iowa could come down with some of those jump balls.
Mr. Pessimist: IOWA's 8TH IN THE LEAGUE IN FORCING INTERCEPTIONS. THEY'VE ONLY GRABBED SIX ALL YEAR. THERE'S NO TYLER MF'ING SASH BACK THERE TO SAVE OUR BACON THIS YEAR.
Mr. Optimist: ... okay, even I can't sugarcoat the play of the defense. Good Iowa defenses gave up 28 points to Michigan the last few years. It would be the miracle of miracles if they managed to shut down Michigan's offense this week.
Mr. Pessimist: YEP, WHICH IS WHY WE'RE FUCKED.
Mr. Optimist: Look, this game is on the offense. If the Iowa offense that we've seen at most home games this year shows up -- as well as the Michigan defense that's shown up on the road most of the year -- we've got a puncher's shot.
Mr. Pessimist: YOU'RE HOPELESS, KOOL-AID MAN. MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT DENARD IS GONNA DO TO US. MICHIGAN 45, IOWA 21
Mr. Optimist: You need a new insult, guy. And LL Cool J? Seriously? I'm gonna go IOWA 38, MICHIGAN 35.