Iowa's Schedule, Worst to Best: No. 9 Ohio State
Strong opponent, not so great a matchup
I'm on vacation, but the Hlog is not. Through the power of time-stamping, while I'm gone this blog will publish a ranking of Iowa's 12 football games in 2013 in terms of being interesting.
To see the teams that have already been ranked, click here and scroll. I will offer a money-back guarantee that neither No. 10, 11 or 12 will be as capable a team as my No. 9. Which is ...
How can this be, Mike? It's Ohio State, the preseason No. 2 team in America according to the coaches' poll. The team that tore through the Big Ten without a scratch last year in Urban Meyer's first season as coach there.
As Hamlet said in his soliloquy, ay, there's the rub. (Find me some Shakespeare on Deadspin. Not happening.)
If I am wrong, and the Iowa-Ohio State game is more entertaining than I rank it, this is going to be a good and maybe wondrous season for the Hawkeyes. Or a surprisingly mundane year for the Buckeyes.
But Iowa's history with OSU is a dismal one, particularly in Ohio Stadium. The Hawkeyes last win in Columbus was in 1991, and Iowa has just two triumphs there in the last half-century. The Hawkeyes have won just one of their last 13 meetings with Ohio State, period.
Now, the last Iowa-OSU game in Columbus was a dilly. That was in 2009, when the Hawkeyes fell 27-24 in overtime in the game that decided the Big Ten's Rose Bowl berth. The following season, OSU escaped with a 20-17 win in Iowa City. And they haven't met since.
Much has happened with the Buckeyes since then. The NCAA investigated. Jim Tressel got fired. OSU went 6-7 in 2011. Meyer was hired. The Buckeyes went unbeaten last year. And now they look ready to own the league.
The Horseshoe will be no place for a first-year starting quarterback to lead an underdog to triumph. The Golden Nugget in Las Vegas has made Iowa a 23-point underdog. That's a lot of points. That doesn't make this one of Iowa's eight most-appealing games of 2013.
But I could be wrong. Am I?