We have favorites and we have loyalties, but if the Big Ten is going to climb out the national perception doldrums, we're going to have to do it together. That means that we have to all be pulling in the same direction. Here's what I want to see from each Big Ten team in their non-conference battles this week. These columns are really short this time of year...
Iowa (vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves)
By Sun Belt standards, Arkansas State is not a bad team. They should be far superior to the Florida International squad that Iowa rolled 42-0 last season. That was Iowa's first ever game against a Sun Belt school. While the Wolves are better, there should be no concerns about their record dropping to .500.
Iowa needs to use this game as a chance to tune up the offense and develop its offensive depth. It would be nice to see Ricky Stanzi complete his passes in the first quarter. That's on a receiving corps that has the dropsies all of the sudden as much as it is on Stanzi. I'd like to see a lead that enables James Vandenberg, the red-shirt Freshman backup, to take all of the 4th Quarter snaps. I'd like to see our defense hold the Wolves to single digits, but that's just for aesthetics.
This would be a good time to get the passing game fixed.
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What I Want
I want to see Iowa roll the Red Wolves by more than three touchdowns.
What I Expect
I believe in this Hawkeye team, so I expect to see them roll the Red Wolves by more than three touchdowns.
What We've Got So Far
The Big Ten is 24-9 (.727) out of conference. The league is 5-7 against BCS Conference teams (plus Notre Dame). Purdue's loss to Notre Dame guarantees that the Big Ten can finish with no better than a .500 record against the other BCS schools. The league has two losses to non-BCS teams (Northern Illinois over Purdue and Central Michigan over Michigan State).