What is Dispatches from Blogfrica? Pretty simple: I ask questions of an blogger for an opposing team; he (or she) answers. A truly revolutionary idea, no? Today: Gerald from Cowboys Ride For Free, SB Nation's fine blog for all things Oklahoma State.
1) I know among Iowa fans there's a lot of excitement for this event. Wrestling Oklahoma State is always a pretty big deal, given the longstanding rivalry between the programs, but making the dual the season kick-off event and holding it outdoors, in Kinnick Stadium has definitely pushed excitement through the roof. What's been the reaction like in Cowboy-land? Are OSU fans pretty excited to be a part of an event like this?
GERALD: Honestly, I'm a little disappointed in how the OSU fans are reacting toward it. It's not that they aren't excited, at least I think they all are. It's that none of us are really seeing it. I think with a football team being undefeated and it not being in Stillwater on the day of a game makes it harder. However, I do know a few die hard wrestling fans that are just extremely excited. OSU is far from the wrestling school it once was, but the people that are, are as crazy as ever.
2) Given the extemee novelty of this event -- wrestling outdoors! In November! -- I'm not sure either team has much of an advantage when it comes to the environment (or at least the elements) they'll be facing on Saturday. It's not like either team us exactly used to wrestling outside. Has there been any discussion from John Smith or the OSU wrestlers about how they're preparing for this unique situation?
GERALD: Well, from what I've seen, no. It's been hot all November (we've been able to wear shorts every day and not regret it), so unless he's putting our guys in a walk-in freezer, I'm not sure how he'll get them ready for the cold in Iowa. I do know they've been more focused on the amount of fans there. It's going to probably be the most amount of fans they have to wrestle in front of in a long time.
3) Oklahoma State took a definite step back this year but they're #1 in the nation this year in several rankings and they look like they'll be one of the teams to beat for the national championship come March. What are the expectations like this year for OSU?
GERALD: It's been 10 years since the last national title for this "wrestling dynasty." I think that with guys like Dieringer and coach Smith, there's really not a huge reason to say it won't happen this year. It'll be a lot of work but I know most of our fans expect it to happen.
4) True or false: Alex Dieringer is actually a Terminator sent from the future to destroy us all?
GERALD: Absolutely true. I've seen this guy walk into Joe's and eat five plates of cheese fries without even blinking. I've tried to watch one of his matches once but had something in my eye and blinked, before I knew it, he was already done and announced the winner.
5) What are the 2-3 most critical weights for this dual meet? Which swing matches does Oklahoma State absolutely need to win if they're going to leave Iowa City victorious?
GERALD: At 165 and 141 with Dieringer and Heil. I think these two matches will be the most important. If Iowa could find a way to get past them two, they could steal it away. If these two monstrosities that call themselves young adults do what they do best and win those matches, I think OSU could have as open a hallway to the win as possible. That being said, just because they win those two, doesn't mean they win the whole thing. Iowa is still a top wrestling program and that means they'll still know how to deal with adversity, especially at home.
6) OK, prediction time -- who ya got?
GERALD: I'll take Oklahoma State in a close match. They'll need a few major decisions but I think Smith may be the best coach on campus and I believe he can do it.
Thanks for being a good sport, Gerald, but I still hope your team gets mollywhopped tomorrow. You can check out the CRFF crew at Cowboys Ride For Free. You can also follow CRFF at @CowboysRFF. The Iowa-Oklahoma State dual meet is in Iowa City, IA on Saturday, November 14, and is scheduled to start at approximately 11:00 am CT, with TV (online stream) coverage from BTN2Go.