For a couple of days I’ve been thinking of just what in the hell I can write about the upcoming Iowa game. The title of this post says it all—the nondescript nature of this game has left me flapping in the breeze. (And the breeze is a noxious gaseous cloud.) I’ve written enough about A-Mo and our coaching suckage. Alas, Iowa sucks just about as badly. So, between these two Big Ten cellar dwellers, what can I write that would be worth reading? Not much.
One thing I definitely cannot do is say much about what The Alan Greenspan of Coaching said at his press conference Tuesday. Paterno’s non-responses were classically obfuscatory. He sneered at the press, essentially telling the reporters to go to hell without mouthing the actual words, as has been his press conference pattern increasingly over the past decade. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure. We will see no significant changes.
Stick to the facts, you say. OK, here are the sad facts. The Penn State Nittany Lions (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) meet the Iowa Hawkeyes (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) on Saturday at 3:30 PM at Beaver Stadium. The Hawkeyes bring a defensive unit ranked #9 in the Division Formerly Known as I-A (PSU’s defense is ranked 7th in the division). On the other side of the ball, neither team has any semblance of a functional offense, with Iowa and Penn State ranked 92 and 60, respectively, in total offense. Where Iowa excels is in taking care of the ball. They are presently the Big Ten leader in turnover margin. I guess if you have nothing but three-and-outs, you don’t have much of an opportunity to turn the ball over. In contrast to Iowa, this is an area in which the Nittany Lions suck big time, ranking 7th in the conference. Where Penn State excels is in punting the football, the one category in which the Nittany Lions actually lead the conference. Finally, although both teams are officially unranked, in College Football News‘ overall ranking of 119 teams in TDFKAI-A, Penn State is ranked #49 versus Iowa’s #59. Oh, boy—this is a must watch game!
Throw out the first three games for PSU and the defense really doesn’t hold up to that #7 ranking. Neither does the offense keep even its crappy, middle-of-the-pack #60 ranking, given that the Nittany Lions scored a meager 29 points in the past two games against Michigan and Illinois. Iowa hasn’t exactly been tearing the place up, having beaten only Northern Illinois and Syracuse, while losing close ones to Iowa State (they suck) and Wisconsin (they don’t), and being blown out by Indiana. Indiana!
Iowa was looked upon as a contender for the Big Ten title at the beginning of the year, particularly because they don’t have to play either Michigan or Ohio State this year. Well, any semblance of a contending team went out the window in the loss to Indiana. Now, they occupy the Big Ten cellar with Northwestern, Minnesota, and (gulp!) Penn State. And Iowa’s injuries keep mounting. Things are not looking good for the Hawkeyes.
The gamblers have installed Penn State as the early nine point favorites. Home field is usually good for three points in itself. The over/under is one of the lowest I’ve ever encountered: 38. (This is the expected number of points scored by both teams.) So, given those two numbers, Las Vegas is predicting a 24-14 outcome or thereabouts.
Frankly, I don’t know if either team can score a touchdown at this stage. That sucks, doesn’t it? You know, looking ahead in the schedule, the only remaining game we can count on winning is Temple. However, with no changes, our low-octane offense will continue to stink up the place. Our curmudgeonly old head coach will work hard to maintain the status quo of mediocrity.
So, that brings us to the Official Turkey Poop Prediction! Hmm, let’s see…no offense…no offense…No Offense! Remember this game? Of course you do. It was that great 2004 6-4 loss to Iowa. What are the prospects of a similarly boring game this year? Significantly high—it’s just that there’ll be a couple of minor changes. I don’t think two safeties in a game is a very common occurrence at any level of football so I don’t expect that we can replicate the “4” number. However, we know that both offenses suck. Iowa’s just takes care of the ball much better than PSU does. So it will be a low scoring game and Jeremy Boone will get lots of opportunities to win the so-called battle of field position. I was going to predict a 6-4 win for PSU, but I’m sitting here talking myself out of it. I’ll go with PSU 9, Iowa 6. So, please, give me a hard time about it if I’m wrong!
This should be an exciting one. So take plenty of valium before the game to calm yourself down. This Turkey intends to get pretty mellow while watching it. I can hardly wait!