I'm filling in for Adam this week. My apologies for the delay. Also, expect less horse insults. Let's play the feud.
do we need a spark from one of our rotating minor characters on offense to win? (yes) who will it be? powell, shump, canzeri, duzey? #BHGPQA
— Jake B (@keepitupguys) November 21, 2013
Well, you answered your first question by yourself there, Sailor. And you're right: Iowa is going to need something from one of those guys the internet loves to fawn over. It's going to be absurdly cold Saturday, and the ground game could decide it all. I'm not sure we can call Canzeri a 'minor character' anymore, after 11 yards per carry against Wisconsin and 100+ yards against Purdue. I don't think Powell's skill set works with what Iowa has to do in this game, and the same goes for Shump. How about Henry Krieger-Coble, who caught a touchdown pass in this game last year and then was never heard from again? Let's bring that back, so long as we can leave the other 59 minutes of that game behind.
We could probably use a spark on the other side of the ball, as well. Brady Hoke isn't one to shy away from MANBALLIN', and Al Borges lives for stuff like this. Fitz Toussaint is essentially benched, though, and Iowa's run defense has done a nice job against conventional ground attacks, so Hoke might turn to Devin Gardner to run the rock more often than usual. That could mean a big day for another minor character: Mike Hardy, who could get four tackles just on contain.
Who steps up for Iowa when Sherif leaves? We don't seem to have a physical specimen close to his Greek god monstrosity-ness #BHGPQA
— Captain Hawkeye (@DanielHatz) November 21, 2013
Fortunately, I don't think we're going to have to worry about this until 2015. Scherff has certainly been a beast this season, and his run blocking alone has kept Iowa in four games. But he projects as a right tackle or guard in the pros, and while those are perfectly valid positions -- just ask Marshal Yanda, Eric Steinbach, and Robert Gallery -- they don't usually carry the sort of top 5 draft pick money that could tempt a junior to leave early. As I understand it, Scherff comes from a modest family that doesn't need the money, he's been through an injury and came out stronger on the other side, and his team looks pretty good next year.
With that said, the next Iowa left tackle/fetish object is probably redshirt freshman Ryan Ward, who came to Iowa with four-star recruiting rankings, U.S. Army All-American credentials, and a slew of good offers. Ward was a topic of conversation among the coaches throughout last season, despite the fact that Iowa hadn't played a true freshman on the offensive line since Bryan Bulaga. The guys at 247 Sports like Ward so much that they're floating the possibility of Scherff moving to guard for his senior season, both to show he can play the interior position and to allow Ward to start. I don't agree with that -- Ferentz moves guys from guard to tackle, and only the injury-addled Dace Richardson has moved inside in recent history -- but I don't think we'll see a massive step backward if and when he does take over.
Speaking of 2014...
There is certainly plenty to drool over. Given the recent struggles of Iowa State and Pitt, Iowa's toughest non-conference game could be Ball State (although, remember, Kirk Ferentz has won every game in a full September slate just once, 2009). The conference road trips -- Purdue, Maryland, Minnesota, and Illinois -- look extremely manageable, depending on what Minnesota does for an encore. And with Ohio State, Penn State Michigan State, and Michigan off the schedule, there's a decent chance that Iowa will be favored in every game until Wisconsin comes to town on November 22.
With that said, let's not get too hung up on the schedule. There was a BHGP editorial meeting in August 2009 where we kicked around the idea of a post dismissing the 2009 season as a possible failure due to a brutal schedule, and advocating that 2010 would be awesome. We all know how smart that was. The team has to play the schedule, but it's the team that really matters. The fact that Iowa returns essentially its entire offense and defensive line should be at least as exciting as the prospect of not playing Ohio State.
This is a conundrum. Consider my conun drummed.
The problem, of course, is that Carver Hawkeye Arena is not really near anything, and the last thing you want to do is lose your parking spot between events and be forced to pay for parking twice. It's going to be absurdly cold Friday night, so anything that involves spending more than about 15 minutes outdoors is out. Also, the two-hour turnaround time doesn't leave room for a quick trip downtown. This is a tough one indeed.
I'd suggest wings at the Vine or pizza and onion rings at the Wig & Pen. And don't even bother with beer. It's far too cold outside for cold beverages, and you need to generate some artificial body warmth for that trip back up the hill to the basketball game, so I'd say wings and whiskey is your ticket. There are places where they go together.
#BHGPQA How bad would Johnny Football crush us into paste if we went 2-0 and the cosmos decreed an A&M bowl matchup. Also, Jacobi = Alien?
— Jay Godbey (@j_godbey) November 21, 2013
I'm going to ignore the first part of the question, except to say this: If you thought that Johnny Football was the Neo to Nick Saban's Matrix, imagine what he would do in Kirk Ferentz's. Actually, don't do that. It...I...I feel cold. So cold.
As for the question of whether Jacobi is an alien, that all depends on the origin if centaurs. If centaurs are a half-man, half-horse hybrid created here on earth, then, by virtue of simple logic, Jacobi would not be an alien. If, however, centaurs derived from a previous alien visit, then Adam...
You know what? I've said too much. I'll just leave it at that.