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

Saturday, August 4, 2007

So Who is Sir Robin? Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable

The Hawkeye Compulsion is now a member of Big Ten Bloggers, a group set up by Black Shoe Diaries, Around the Oval, and Maize 'n Brew to enhance intraconference blogging. The first installment of the Big Ten Bloggers roundtable comes courtesy of Badger Sports. Enjoy.

The press and the coaches will be predicting the Big Ten champ at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago on Wednesday. That's fine, but overdone. In lieu of boilerplate predictions of who will come out on top, which Big Ten team will be the most surprising? Remember, surprises can be good or bad; the underdog who comes out of nowhere to share the title is just as surprising as the favorite who winds up with five losses and no bowl bid.

I'll go ahead and say it: The Ohio State University, and it's not a good surprise. They lose a Heisman winner at quarterback, the most explosive receiver/returner in the conference, Antonio Effing Pittman, and more than half of their starting units on both sides of the football. Throw in games at Big Blue and PSU, and it feels like 2005 all over again. Well, except for the beatdown in Kinnick (Iowa doesn't have tOSU on the schedule this season). In case you forgot:

Imagine it's December, and the consensus in the media is that your team's season was "surprising." Is this a Good Thing or a Bad Thing? What would have to happen for you to consider your team's season surprising?

Oh, that's a very good thing. Iowa has been "surprising" since 2002. In 2002, they came from nowhere to gain a share of the Big Ten championship. In 2003, they lost the Heisman runner-up and still won 10 (and kicked the crap out of Florida in their own backyard). In 2004, they had literally no running game (anyone else remember Brownlee?) and STILL won a share of the Big Ten crown. One of the writers for CBS Sportsline had Iowa at #2 entering 2005 based solely on the fact that he was tired of being proven wrong.

It was at that point that "surprising" became a bad thing. Two disappointing seasons, culminating with last season's 2-6 mark in the conference, have diminished expectations yet again. Now "surprising" would be a 10-win season and a run at the title. That, my friends, is a very good thing.

A preseason player of the year will also be dubbed in Chicago. For your team to succeed, which player or unit is going to have to put forth a "player of the year" performance? What's the one position that would take your team to the next level if it performs above expectations?

The defensive line will make or break Iowa in 2007. Norm Parker's one-play playbook is predicated on the pass rush, especially with a thoroughly mediocre secondary. When we have it (Matt Roth, Aaron Kampman, etc.), we win. When we don't, we lose. It's been that simple for 7 years. With Mattison and Iwebema on the ends, and the enigmatic Mitch King in the middle, they certainly have the capability of doing just that.

Which Big Ten team's out-of-conference schedule would you most want to have this year? Why? Do you think your team will have out-of-conference losses this year?

We don't have Big Blue or OSU this year, so I want Michigan's schedule just so I can see Notre Dame and Oregon. Everyone else seems to be intent on scheduling the powerhouse programs of 1-AA and the various directions of Michigan. Not exactly a barnburner noncoference slate, and a real problem for those of us who are inclined to argue Big 10 supremacy.

Here's a chance to look like a complete genius in a few months: pick the biggest in-conference upset that will happen this season. Justify your prediction!

October 27, 2007. Minnesota catches Big Blue in a Grade A Trap Game (Michigan's next three are at MSU, at Wisconsin, and vs. the Sweater Vests). Yes, Minny will most likely suck this year. But they may have a little brown chance at the Little Brown Jug.

Say something nice about the Big Ten school whose name precedes yours alphabetically. Say something mean about the one that comes after.

Indiana gave us Myles Brand, who is known far and wide as a scholar and a gentleman. His visionary leadership gave us the NCAA you know today.

Michigan stole our school president, and then plunged her into a Supreme Court case over admissions. Also, Ann Arbor is a whore.

USC: great football program, or greatest football program? Also, how about that SEC? Damn, those guys are fast!

USC? Greatest program ever in the history of the world...of Warcraft. As for the SEC, Jim Delaney has already told us they are fast because their heads are lighter. I'm comfortable with that.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The first depth chart of the summer

There's a unique satisfaction that comes along with seeing the first depth chart of the summer. It's almost the exact opposite feeling of seeing the mall's first Christmas decorations in early October, which probably has a lot to do with Bing Crosby's involvement with each situation.

Most of these rankings are, of course, subject to immediate change. While we're probably not going to see Klinkenborg drop off the 2-deeps, he's only one of about five players with a starting job sewn up.

Pay special attention to walk-on Brett Greenwood, who has played exactly zero snaps in his college career, but still has an early lead on the free safety position. While it would be easy to draw a parallel between him and guys like Sean Considine or Derek Pagel--white walk-ons at free safety are easily confused, after all--his melanin-challenged predecessors didn't lock down starting roles until their senior years. Greenwood, meanwhile, held a second-string role on the 2-deeps last year without losing eligibility. While it might seem strange to use one of the road dress spots on a guy you were never planning on using, it's not as if backup safeties were even on Iowa's radar of major problems last year.

Another position battle of note is the WR role, where Trey Stross seems close to eclipsing Dominique Douglas and putting two white wide receivers in the starting lineup. Even more amazing? They're the speed guys.

Lastly, keep an eye on Kenny Iwebema and Adrian Clayborn (VHT!) at one of the end spots. Iwebema had a serious regression in performance last season; if he continues to underachieve, Clayborn could probably step in and improve the defensive line. Let's hope, however, that Iowa's 2007 season doesn't include a former first team All-Big 10 defensive lineman losing his spot to a redshirt freshman.

Now onto the good stuff. All links go to the official 2007 pages for the players, and the stars refer to the letters won by each young man.


SE 80 ** Andy Brodell 6-3 200 Jr
89 James Cleveland 6-1 195 #Fr.

LT 78 ** Dace Richardson 6-6 305 Jr.
60 Kyle Calloway 6-7 305 So.

LG 68 Andy Kuempel 6-7 295 So.
74 Dan Doering 6-7 300 So.

C 52 * Rafael Eubanks 6-3 285 So.
58 Rob Bruggeman 6-3 287 Jr.

RG 75 * Wesley Aeschliman 6-8 318 Jr.
61 Travis Meade 6-2 285 So.
or 63 Julian Vandervelde 6-3 295 #Fr.

71 * Seth Olsen 6-5 305 Jr.
72 * Tyler Blum 6-6 285 So.
or 76 ** Alex Kanellis 6-4 295 Jr.

TE 81 * Tony Moeaki 6-4 255 Jr.
83 ** Brandon Myers 6-4 250 Jr.

QB 6 * Jake Christensen 6-1 215 So.
8 Arvell Nelson 6-4 210 #Fr.
or 12 Ricky Stanzi 6-4 215 #Fr.

WR 88 * Dominique Douglas 6-1 190 So.
or 86 * Trey Stross 6-3 195 So.
84 Anthony Bowman 5-11 167 So.

RB 21 ** Albert Young 5-10 209 Sr.
or 28 *** Damian Sims 5-9 197 Sr.

FB 35 *** Tom Busch 5-11 235 Sr.
38 Jordan McLaughlin 6-0 230 Jr.

PK 39 * Austin Signor 6-4 230 So.
or 1 Daniel Murray 5-10 175 #Fr.


DE 92 ** Kenny Iwebema 6-4 267 Sr.
94 Adrian Clayborn 6-3 275 #Fr.

DT 53 ** Matt Kroul 6-3 277 Jr.
56 Rashad Dunn 6-3 285 Jr.

DT 47 ** Mitch King 6-3 264 Jr.
59 Anton Narinskiy 6-4 265 Jr.

DE 99 *** Bryan Mattison 6-3 272 Sr.
98 * Chad Geary 6-3 261 So.

OLB 49 * A.J. Edds 6-4 244 So.
42 Jeremiha Hunter 6-2 222 #Fr.

MLB 40 *** Mike Klinkenborg 6-2 240 Sr.
41 * Bryan Gattas 6-1 233 Sr.

WLB 44 ** Mike Humpal 6-3 242 Sr.
43 * Pat Angerer 6-1 230 So.

LC 19 *** Adam Shada 6-1 195 Sr.
16 * Drew Gardner 5-10 178 Sr.

SS 2 Harold Dalton 6-1 201 Jr.
or 14 *** Devan Moylan 5-10 201 Sr.

FS 30 Brett Greenwood 6-0 200 #Fr.
18 Lance Tillson 6-2 205 #Fr.

RC 13 *** Charles Godfrey 6-1 200 Jr.
29 ** Bradley Fletcher 6-2 200 Jr.

PT 5 Ryan Donahue 6-3 175 #Fr.

To borrow a well-turned phrase, it's not plagiarism if I link to it.