Good news, no one: I’m back from a conscious decoupling between myself and Iowa sports and am just as miserable as always.
Here’s what I learned while totally and completely unplugging from the greater Iowa Sports Discourse. Nothing! Not a goddam thing. We’re still getting Brian Ferentz Apology Tours as he gladly spends the day motherfucking former players while off-the-record-but-actually-on-the-record. Phil Parker got a raise but is still underpaid. Brian didn’t get a raise and is still overpaid.
And Jack McCaffery is gonna be the answer, guys, just wait ‘til he gets here, I promise.
While preparing for the latest version of the The Pants Party, I was inspired to write a separate piece that does a better job of articulating Iowa’s most important games this upcoming season. I implore you to listen to the companion pod linked above, but one commenter has already... commented that my voice is too sleepy*, so for a fun experiment in sadism, I recommend trying us at 2X speed!
*During my time off this spring I briefly saw a woman who accused me of possessing something called “vocal fry,” which when googled, the Kardashians comes up. She is no longer with us.
So to get back in true blogging form, here’s my first listicle of the szn. Please send non-constructive criticism to the support team at Bumble.
12. @ Rutgers 9/24
This should surprise no one. While pondering this list, I asked myself “what would the least consequential loss be” and arrived at Rutgers. There are more contenders for least important game than most important, which probably isn’t a good thing, if you ask me.
11. Northwestern 10/29
I’m starting to think Northwestern is creeping into Maryland/Rutgers territory and I am here for it.
10. Nevada 9/17
This game is incredibly important to me as a person, because I am still unsure if it’s “Ne-va-duh,” or “Ne-vahh-duh” with a long “ahhh” in the middle. And that’s the only value I see in this contest.
9. Illinois 10/8
I tried to not predict wins and losses for this, but I think Illinois is in the very early stages of turning a corner and you bet your ass its gonna hit that drift against these Iowa Hawkeyes and use that scalp as Bert starts his FamILLy.
8. @ Ohio State 10/22
Ohio State isn’t higher up because they beat everyone! I can picture it now, Iowa is absolutely LIMPING to Columbus after back-to-back losses to Michigan and Illinois, and just pantses the Buckeyes in a game that couldn’t be more meaningless when it comes to Iowa’s postseason aspirations.
7. Nebraska 11/25
It’s funny because this was probably Iowa’s second-most important win last year. This game is especially interesting because IF Scott Frost makes it the entire season, this will likely be last call, lights on for he and this program—and that’s usually when Husker fans have their only chance at scoring.
6. Iowa State 9/10
This game is technically even less important for Iowa than the matchup against Rutgers, which happens to be the only school I think about less than Iowa State.
5. @ Minnesota 11/19
Minnesota in November? Ha! If you’ve spent any amount of Time Online recently, you’ll see PJ Fleck is seeing some attrition in the form of screenshotted notes app posts on Twitter, which isn’t unlike we’ve seen from former Iowa players in years past. Let me tell you, being a few years behind Kirk Ferentz in anything college football coaching-related is not a place you want to be.
4. South Dakota State 9/3
The Jackrabbits are this high for a couple reasons:
1) SDSU went 11-4 last year before falling to Montana State in the semifinals.
B. The majority of the crowd at Kinnick will think Iowa is playing NDSU until about midway through the second quarter.
iii. We’re gonna know exactly who Iowa is by the conclusion of this game. A stingy defense with a shaky quarterback captaining a ship sailing the winds of an uninspired offense? Who woulda thought?!
3. Michigan 10/1
This is fun because it’s pretty early in the season, making it Iowa’s first real test of the year. It might also be Kirk’s last chance to be Jim Harbaugh again as the Wolverines aren’t on Iowa’s schedule for at least the next two years.
2. @ Purdue 11/5
If Iowa doesn’t beat Purdue this year, then Jeff Brohm gets to be our next coach. Those aren’t the rules, but I’d DEMAND that be the case. Hand him a blank check. Rename anything and everything that has the Ferentz name on it. Make him our king.
1. Wisconsin 11/12
Anyone who wants to pretend Wisconsin doesn’t deserve to be No. 1 here is a wholly unserious person. The Badgers are the hill Iowa has to climb in order to get another bite at the Michigan or Ohio State apple in Indy. Two wins in the last 10 meetings is about the same as Brohm-level consternation, but even worse because Madison is situated on a nice lake, making it a perfectly fine town to live in.
I’ll venmo you $4 if you tell me where and how my rankings on the podcast differed than the ones posed in print.