You will get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

You Don't Have to Go Home, but You Can't Stay Here

Cue the mothafuckin' Jeffersons:

We're movin' on a new site. Come visit us at our dee-luxe apartment at Black Heart Gold Pants ( All the same Hawkeye fun, none of that unsettling blogspot aftertaste.

See ya there.


Monday, September 10, 2007

Damnable real world!

We've got a lot on our plates not only here at THC (oh boy, have we got lots to talk about, readers), but in the real world as well. So pardon our momentary lack of content while we take care of earning a living.

The upcoming week will feature brawls, defensive lunacy, exploding spaceships, liberal use of the "iowa state sucks so bad" tag, a wonderful change of scenery for us... and murder.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Wha Happened? Week 2

Iowa 35 - Syracuse 0

We will, of course, go over this game in much more detail tomorrow, but here's what you need to know: the Iowa defense is very good, and the Syracuse football team is not. The Flyin' Hawaiian, TE Tony Moeaki, gained more yards in three quarters than Syracuse did all game long. It's not time to start reserving your tickets to Pasadena yet, but the plain and simple fact is that Iowa hasn't played a game like that in years.

Illinois 21 - Western Illinois 0

The Illini looked sluggish to start the game, and The Juice only passed for 90 yards. More ominously, the Zooker spent the entire third quarter with a football helmet on. We're worried.

Indiana 37 - Western Michigan 27

This score is somewhat deceptive; Indiana built a 27-point lead early in the 3rd quarter, and after the Broncos' two-point conversion failed with 8:48 remaining, they didn't threaten again until it was far too late. Indiana probably won't be playing on January 1 this season, but considering their schedule and how lame the lower echelon of the Big 10 looks, it's awfully hard to rule out four or five wins in the conference.

#19 Oregon 39 - Michigan 7

Everybody knew giving Oregon seven points was fucking ridiculous, but nobody but the most irrationally pessimistic could have predicted an ass-kicking like this. Michigan fans were booing before the first half was over, Chad Henne was injured and may not play next week, and Mike Hart is losing his mind. Then there was Lloyd's baffling postgame speech, where he said that even if he loses his job (read: is fired) he won't be kept down. Uh, okay? That wasn't really what anyone was interested in, but okay.

Michigan State 28 - Bowling Green 17

The Spartans won this slapfight because oh wait nobody cares.

Minnesota 41 - Miami University 35

Minnesota and Miami both fought desperately to wrest defeat from the jaws of victory, but with the advent of overtime, there can only be one loser. Both teams missed easy field goals in the second overtime before Amir Pinnix put the misery out of its, uh, misery. One bonus of the highlights is the laughably underpopulated Metrodome. Was that place even half-full?

Northwestern 36 - Nevada 31

Nevada blew a 24-10 lead, got it back late to go up 31-27, then let Northwestern drive 80 yards in about a minute, culminating in a 13-yard score with just 21 seconds to go. It was tremendously exciting football between two bad teams. No word on whether any posts were "laked."

#10 Ohio State 20 - Akron 2

The Buckeyes also sputtered against a non-BCS team (jeez, Big 10), but as soon as they kicked the field goal to go up 3-2, this game was over. Akron was Syracusian on offense; they punted 14 times and only managed three first downs. Ohio State's defense remains scary-good.

#12 Penn State 31 - Notre Dame 10

Joe Paterno remained terrifying, but the real story was the Notre Dame offense's continued ineptitude on offense, as the only Irish touchdown came from an interception return. This is particularly baffling, because as we all know, Chuck Weis is the greatest offensive mind in college football history. Imagine how much worse this loss would have been if Tyrone Willingham were still around! He's probably pissing everyone off in

Washington 24 - #17 Boise State 10


Purdue 52 - Eastern Illinois 6

Curtis Painter threw six TD's on 49 passes against Eastern Illinois. Was that really necessary, Tiller?

#7 Wisconsin 20 - UNLV 13

The Badgers have never really been effective against a spread offense, so this score isn't too much of a surprise. I don't think anyone in Camp Randall is contemplating pressing the panic button yet, and they should be right back on track next week against the Citadel. Then after that... Iowa.

Northern Iowa 24 - Iowa State 13

Oh dear. Iowa State's listless performance against UNI pushed the members of Iowa's non-conference slate to 0-8, and 0-12 is easily possible after next week; only NIU has a reasonable shot at winning. The Cyclone defense forced no turnovers and only six incompletions on 29 attempts. It is reasonable to assume that Iowa State will be the worst of Iowa's four non-conference opponents. After last week, that seems stunning, but come on. They were down 24-6 until midway through the fourth quarter.

South Florida 26 - Auburn 23

This game has absolutely nothing to do with the Big 10, but any time a member of the Hayden Fry coaching tree (Jim Leavitt) wins a game this big, it makes our black hearts and gold pants swell with pride.


Every once in awhile, something falls into your lap. You can't believe your luck and don't know what to do with it. I say you because that never happens to me. I always know what to do and now this is happenin'. We were talking Big East football, at EDSBS a couple months ago, and my partner, OPS, said something so ridiculous, I had to confirm that he wasn't sniffing glue (which is why it took me 45 minutes to reply to him). Anyway, here's his comment, followed by mine:

"Cuse is probably going to cause some fits this year as well. They were 4-8 last year, but they only lost 3 games by more than 3 scores, and Greg Robinson is taking the right approach to rebuilding the program. Their non-conference isn’t cupcakey enough to predict a bowl bid, but considering how many of the tough teams come to the Carrier Dome, they could ruin a few Big East title shots."

-- Comment by OPS, football "expert" — June 26, 2007 @ 9:52 am

"I don’t know when, but there will be a day when I will remind you of this, and you will be shamed, if you aren’t already.
Mark my words."

-- Comment by JHC, bulletproof mother fucker — June 26, 2007 @ 10:39 am

So, my question is, how's that Greg Robinson love goin' now, lawya?

Saturday, September 8, 2007


Syracuse travels to Iowa today for what I like to call a "resume game" for Greg Robinson. He knows he can't win, he's waiting to be fired at his current job, and he's just looking for a soft place to fall. You watch him when he greets Coach Ferentz at the end of the game, that's not a playsheet he's surreptitiously handing him, it's a resume. Hang on, first, let me tell you how Greg Robinson got here.

Greg Robinson: Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That was the tag on G Rob for 20 years. He was a career assistant, primarily with the Denver Broncos, where he was the defensive coordinator when they won Super Bowls in both '97 & '98. He was a well respected coach but never got a head coaching job. His name was bandied about for countless jobs and he'd interview, but the team would "go in another direction". It was a mystery (to some). Finally, in 2005, he found someone to ch-ch-choose him. Greg Robinson and Syracuse said "I do" and he was finally a head coach.

He was the guy expected to bring their program back to prominence. They were thinking Heismans, bowl games, and conference titles. Things were looking grand! But tragedy struck this happy couple in their very first year of marriage. They were a bad fit, and moreover, Robinson was a shitty head coach. They won 1 game in his first season, coming off consecutive 5 win seasons under the much maligned Paul Pasqualoni. The natives were instantly restless but anxious to see what Robinson could do with "his boys" in the program. In 2006, after a narrow loss to Iowa in 2 OTs, they ripped off 3 wins in a row. It'd been a bumpy road but they were a happy couple again. They were thinking about a bowl game and maybe, just maybe, a conference title. But alas, they lost their next 5 games and things went to hell in a handbasket. In 2 seasons, Robinson had managed to have more losing seasons (yeah, 2) than Pasqualoni did in his 14 years as HC.

After a rough offseason where he shook a lot of hands, kissed a lot of babies, and told a lot of lies, G Rob had people convinced this was the year. There was talk of wreaking havoc in the Big East. They opened at home against the curiously ineffective Ty Willingham and the Washington Huskies. It was time for the Orange to put the squeeze on someone else for a change (I'm sorry). They came out of the gates like a drunken sailor, throwing enthusiastic punches around, flailing wildly, with none of them connecting. The Huskies beat the shit out of them on both sides of the ball. Syracuse managed to average 0.3 YPC on the ground against 2006's last ranked defense in the Pac 10 (also in that conference: Stanford). What's worse, on the defensive side of the ball, Robinson's forte!, they managed to make Jake Locker (no way is that a real name) look like Vince Young. If Beano Cook was alive he'd proclaim him a lock for 4 Heismans. It was one of those career/program defining games, partially because it was the opener on national television, but mostly because it was time for Robinson to deliver on all of his promises at once. He failed, let the whole family down (again), and this marriage is over. The worst part is, everyone knows it, and they're resigned to wait until someone finally puts in the paperwork to end it. Some people just aren't cut out to be a head coach (I'm looking at you, Dan McCarney). They don't have the pomposity, mental acuity, or sheer ego to stare certain failure in the face, and grin, that it takes to be a head coach in Division I football. Some guys are coordinators for life and G Rob is one of them.

The good news is, now the Orange have to travel to Iowa City and face the most ferocious defensive line they'll see all year. I'm predicting pain. Andrew Robinson will be huddled in the fetal position in the corner of the locker room at the half. They'll have to use promises of candy and a pony to get him out for the second half. Throughout the game, he'll pick himself up off the turf after another sack in 3rd & long, he'll go to the sideline looking for help and he'll see that blank look on G Rob's face that will tell him, "you're all alone out there, kid. Good luck." The whole game G Rob will have a faraway look on his face as he's mentally rehearsing what he'll say to Coach Fernentz in their 3 second post game handshake and just how he'll slip his resume to him.

So what's the one thing we need to do this week to win? Not a damn thing. Syracuse is one of the worst teams in college football. They don't pass well, run well, and they don't even tackle. We can go out there, run the same play all day and win. Nothing fancy, nothing cute, nothing creative. Syracuse is the drunk in the bar you don't bother with. You just let them do their thing and they'll fall down on their own. No reason to get your hands dirty with this one, Hawkeyes. Take your 30 points, try for a shutout, and we can all laugh at G Rob's resume after the game.

One more thing, it's a night game and we all know what that means. The tailgates still start at 6am, but instead of filing into Kinnick at 10:30, you drink for an extra 8 hours. I know, it's awesome, and I'm sorry I'm missing this one. However, I still ask that you follow JHC's 3 simple rules for being an Iowa fan:

1) Don't boo.
2) Don't chuck bottles at people (even if it's a dude wearing orange sweatbands).
3) If you drink, don't drive.

Make us proud out there.

Friday, September 7, 2007

There's a game on Saturday?

Think about the Syracuse football program. Do it. DO AS I SAY! Now, consider the names that come to mind: Donovan McNabb, Marvin Harrison, Troy Nunes, Larry Csonka, Jim Brown, etc. Their post-WW2 history is dripping with big names--big names that haven't been there for a long, long time. Now, without looking, name one current all-conference Syracuse player. Hell, name one current Syracuse player. You can't do it, can you?

Indeed, in the context of the past 60 years, the most remarkable thing about the Syracuse franchise might be how little they represent today.

They inherited the region's attention from fading programs in Annapolis and West Point in the early '50s. Aside from Pittsburgh borrowing the mantle for a decade starting in the late 70's--and perhaps a couple burps from Boston College and Rutgers--Syracuse has been the unquestioned king of college football in New England for as long as your grandfather's had pubes.

And yet, no matter what level of success they attained, they've never outshined New England's pigskin drug of choice: the NFL. It seems counterintuitive, but the attention given to college football in ESPN's neck of the woods is scant--especially considering the inordinate attention heaped upon nearby franchises in MLB and the NFL. Mock if you must, but imagine the anguish of so many years playing second fiddle to anything, much less the NFL. Let's be real. Iowa's been worse as a regional alpha dog over the last 25 years than Syracuse has been as a second fiddle. And yet here we find ourselves in 2007 with Iowa a prohibitive favorite.

So now Syracuse finds itself no closer to its big brother, decades of stellar play discarded like so many piss jugs on the highway. Indeed, their most remarkable youtube clips are The Stand and this clip. Watch for the instant replays, which take the following play from "ill-advised 13-foot leap" to "likely attempted murder."

So six decades and one tailback's soiled pants notwithstanding, what's there to expect from tomorrow's game? If it gives you any indication, TNIAAM has this to say:
How Fucked Are We?: Very. Last year was The Stand. Lost in that nail-biting finish was the fact that Iowa fully expected to cakewalk in that game. They remember that. And they are at home this year. In front of a sold-out crowd. And they smell blood. And urine.
Most revenge isn't spread-based, but then again, most opponents aren't late-aughts Syracuse. And with a look at the matchups tomorrow, it seems clear that Iowa will coast to victory.


Iowa OL vs. Syracuse DL

The Orange defensive line was miserable last Saturday, never so much as threatening Jake Locker (not a real name) or his partner in crime, Louis Rankin. On the whole, Washington rushed for over 300 yards on 41 carries, which is a sure sign that the Cuse defensive line is worthless.

Iowa, meanwhile, was solid on the line last week. LT Dace Richardson is practicing, but not expected to start (if play at all) tomorrow. No matter; LT Kyle Calloway (seen here in action) stoned big-shot DE Larry English to the tune of one tackle on the day. Expect the Hawkeyes to enjoy another easy day in the trenches tomorrow.

Iowa WR/TE vs. Syracuse DB

Catch the fucking ball, would you guys? Advantage: Syracuse, if only because the Hawkeyes will be doing the Orangemen's job for them.

Iowa RB vs. Syracuse LB

Albert Young and Damian Sims may not replicate last week's triple-double (or double-triple? whatever. they both had over 100 yards), but they should continue to rack up yards with impunity. Meanwhile, there is simply nothing good you can say about Syracuse's linebackers, who will be opponents in name only tomorrow.

Iowa QB vs. Syracuse D

Jake Christensen's numbers were rather lackluster against NIU (12-29, 133, 1 TD), but about half of the incompletions came from drops, so it's not as if he was lousy last week. Still, he seemed out of rhythm in the first half, often throwing passes unnecessarily hard. That, plain and simple, cannot continue. If it does, Iowa is in trouble.

Syracuse's pass defense allowed only 142 yards to Jake Locker, but that was only on 19 passes (which is in and of itself a mystery; WHY ARE YOU PASSING AT ALL?! Look at their front 7!). Jake Christensen should find himself in a similar role Saturday, tossing short- to medium-length passes whenever he senses the wide receivers getting bored. How do you folks feel about 13-21, 160 yards, and a touchdown? Good enough? Good.


Syracuse OL vs. Iowa DL

Washington registered seven sacks on hapless QB Andrew Robinson last week, though the number jumps to 11 if you count the teabagging that the starting four gave him. Worse yet, they allowed the Orange to tally eight yards of rushing on the day. Eight. Realistically, the Iowa defensive line should be able to reduce Robinson to the Grape Stomping Lady by the middle of the third quarter.

Syracuse WR/TE vs. Iowa DB

I'm still not sold on the secondary as yet, but they played with a spark that we, y'know, might have wanted to see last year too. Obviously, Godfrey will not continue to collect two interceptions a game, but his play was stellar throughout the course of the contest against NIU, and it's reasonable to think he'll continue to keep that up.

Syracuse's receivers are ho-hum, with Taj Smith an underwhelming first option. Another advantage for Iowa.

Syracuse RB vs. Iowa LB

Curtis Brinkley (son of Christie and Billy Joel) is the Orangemen's starting tailback, and while he is a solid receiving option out of the backfield, he was smothered in the backfield, tallying just four yards on six carries. Fellow tailback Derrell Smith barely fared better, with a whopping 19 yards on five totes against garbage-time defenders. The Iowa rush defense should allow similarly anemic numbers Saturday.

Syracuse QB vs. Iowa D

Poor Andrew Robinson. He had a pretty decent day on Saturday, going 20-32 for 199 yards and a score. But that offensive line against this Iowa front four? He may want to ask his trainers to reinforce his pads with steel. There is no area of play on offense where it looks as if Syracuse will have an advantage, and Iowa's defense will be typically strong. Is a shutout in the offing? Maybe. You certainly can't rule it out, can you?


Let's make one thing clear: If Austin Signor keeps leaving four easy points off the board, it will come back to haunt Iowa, and he will not be kicking for much longer. That said, he earned his spot as the starting kicker over the course of practice, so he's probably going to be better than the NIU game on the whole. If he isn't, he'll be yanked. Simple as that.

Between that, the shank job that Ryan Donahue pulled in the first quarter of the Syracuse game, and the generally baffling play of the coverage teams, I can't say Iowa's at an advantage here.


Greg Robinson's sheer ineptitude is going to come back to haunt me in about 48 hours.

You'll see.

Iowa wins easy. 37-7 or something similar.

IT'S GO TIME! (part 2)

So, the Zooker read my gambling post (below this one) and was a little miffed he didn't get mentioned. He's been calling me at least once a week since the Big 10 Media Conference. I finally gave him my AIM so he'd lay off on the drunk dials. The following is the unedited chat log from our conversation at 3:30 this morning:

3:34 AM

ZookHook: what up, brah???

3:35 AM

ZookHook: YO!! I see yer lite. I know ur in there. Answer meow or im callin yah!

3:36 AM

JHC: Hey.

ZookHook: awwww you shoulda been thurr tonite! IT WAS EPIOC!!
you wereeent sleepin were yah?/

JHC: I was. Shouldn't you be... preparing? I mean, you had a rough game last week...

ZookHook: pfffffffftttttt. We tottally beat em. Forget the scorez they know who won! Fuck yeah! Team America!! You kow whut movie thatz from?

3:37 AM

JHC: Yeah. Seriously, you guys gonna win this week?

ZookHook: Who we play?

JHC: Dude. Seriously. You have a game in 36 hours. Do you really not know who you're playing?

ZookHook: Fuck off! I know... itz in Champagne?

JHC:'s Champaign, Z.

ZookHook: "it's Champaign, Z!! I'm Big Boy!! Lissen to my facts!!! I know ALL!!!11

3:38 AM

JHC: Fuck it. I'm going to bed, asshole. Have fun.

ZookHook: NO!!! Dont hangup! Zooker cant sleeep> We still hitting the town when I come to the IC on ROCtoBeR 11?

JHC: You play Iowa on the 13th, Z.

ZookHook: Yeah yeah butt i wuz plannig to cum up a couple dayz early soz we could go out. Didjoo tell OPS I'm crashin wit himm>?

JHC: Z. For the last time, you cannot come up early to party. You have a game to prepare for and Iowa's fucking good this year. I really think you need to take this seriously.

ZookHook: gawwdd... yur killin mah buzz... arrrr you outtaa that shampppooo i sentcha?? I ogt lotz more

JHC: It's the pills, isn't it?

ZookHook: bigg tyme

JHC: You realize they're expecting you to go to a bowl game this year, right? Those recruits didn't come cheap.

ZookHook: fuck... i know... hey, joo ever ask coaach Fairrentz if he wuz hirin?

JHC: It's Ferentz, and, no. He wouldn't hire you, Z. No way.

3:42 AM

3:43 AM

3:44 AM

JHC: uhhhhh.... Z? You pass out again?

ZookHook: aaaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhh fuckkkk! My here!! WHERM I AT?

JHC: At your desk, I presume?

JHC: By the way, you play Western Illinois this week.

ZookHook: Seriesly? Whaz the line?

JHC: They're I-AA so there is no line.

ZookHook: Zookers goindown, broseph...

JHC: Good luck Saturday.

ZookHook: gggaaaaaahhhhh....