While the man below might be an solid conversationalist and fascinating travel companion, the Iowa Hawkeyes of 2009 are no doubt the Big Ten's most mysterious and intriguing team.
I could go on for days why...
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos: Coach Ferentz is playing weird mind games with one of the one of the best wide receivers in Iowa history, listing him on the second string of a depth chart that doesn't matter. Except it does to DJK and all the confused Iowa fans. The worst part about this saga is that every article follows the same concept - DJK is second string, but that doesn't mean he isn't working hard, and plus the depth chart is meaningless, but the coaches want him to work hard, but DJK says he's been working hard, andddddd no one knows what the hell is going on. This could have been resolved if everyone involved wasn't talking coachspeak at every given opportunity..of if DJK would just admit to fathering a child with one of the coaches daughters, ala Sal Aunese and Bill McCartney at Colorado. What a mess. Dude catches clutch passes to beat a Top 5 team in 2008 and then gets demoted for reasons unknown.
- The Schedule from Hell: Iowa is probably a better team than Michigan State, but the Big Ten media didn't acknowledge that when picking MSU over Iowa. Their vote was a product of the vicious in-conference schedule that Iowa faces, a schedule which Law Buckeye called the Big Ten's hardest. But what a sexy, sexy schedule it is. Camp Randall,a vengeful all white Happy Valley crowd, Ohio Stadium...Classic stadiums and some of the Big Ten's best programs will make this a memorable year for Ricky Stanzi and BHGP.
- Stanzi: Drew Tate and Brad Banks put up big numbers and showed some clutch leadership. In a not quite full year, Stanzi showed some of the same panache as those two legends. The controversy over Stanzi's prospects has subsequently risen all season. So what if he has perfect mechanics? Matt Hinton thinks he's just viable, some no-name coach thinks Stanzi is Tom Brady, and the Doak Walker people think Ryan Mallett > Ricky Stanzi. This Ashton Kutcher lookalike, comeback leading, next solid-but-not-spectacular Iowa QB has generated more discussion than any other Big Ten QB not named Pryor.
- Anger-Fest '09, Iowa v. Minnesota: The only other Big Ten game that will approach this level of emotion will be the OSU-PSU match-up in Happy Valley. After Iowa pink socked Mini at the Dome last year, the Golden Gophers and their fan base will have to travel to Iowa City for revenge. Considering a) Iowa fans racked up criminal penalties for their sexual escapades in the Metrodome's bathrooms and b) the score was 55-0, I would say it won't take a lot to get the Gophers fired up. Of course the unfailing warmth and kindness of the Iowa fanbase has slightly muted the hatred between the two schools.