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Unlike people who are actual doers or thinkers, I find it’s best to go against my first impulse.
Saturday night, I thought I’d write this piece about how Iowa is set up to be alone atop the Big Ten West football race when Wisconsin comes to Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 22.
Indiana will beat Nebraska Saturday in Bloomington, I was going to say, while Wisconsin will fall to Ohio State in Madison and Iowa will defeat Purdue in West Lafayette.
That would have left Iowa at 3-1, Nebraska at 2-1, and Wisconsin at 1-2 next week. Which would be quite a difference from how things looked for the Hawkeyes after their home loss against Northwestern that started this month.
The realization that was a foolish approach came after I arrived home from Minneapolis late Saturday night, turned on my TV to unwind, and saw Washington State was on its way to winning at Stanford, 42-16.
That’s the same Stanford team that got blasted at Washington the week before, 44-6. Which isn’t the same Stanford team that overwhelmed Iowa at the Rose Bowl nine months ago.
Earlier in the day, Michigan State lost at home to BYU, 31-14. It was the Spartans’ third-straight defeat, the first coming to Wisconsin in East Lansing, 30-6. That isn’t the same MSU team that edged Iowa in the Big Ten title game 10 months ago.
Maybe the fact the Hawkeyes beat Minnesota Saturday and are clinging to a lifeboat at 4-2 is a bigger achievement than we realize.
Or maybe the fact Iowa is 4-2 after playing five FBS mediocrities and the king of all FCS (North Dakota State) isn’t something to make posters about.
It’s all in the eyes of the beholders.
If you’re looking big-picture, the fact the Hawkeyes won at Rutgers by just 14-7 two weeks ago and were outgained 383 yards to 355 might concern Iowa considering the Scarlet Knights’ next two results were losses of 58-0 at Ohio State and 78-0 to Michigan.
But seeing a big picture midway through a college football season is about as real as Ryan Lochte fighting a unicorn in the WWE.
Take Purdue. Please. The Boilermakers were deader than Billy Bush’s career on Oct. 1, losing 50-7 and getting outrushed by the bizarre total of 400 yards to 10.
Saturday, the Boilers were reborn. They rushed for 231 yards, and pulled out a 34-31 overtime win at Illinois. At 3-2, they have as many wins as Michigan State, Stanford, Oklahoma and LSU, and one more than Texas, Notre Dame, Oregon and USC.
So some dope was going to tell you how three Big Ten games will play out this Saturday that will put Iowa by itself in first-place of its division? I think not!
We don’t know what we’ll get from Iowa or Purdue Saturday other than a brand of football with which Alabama and Ohio State are not familiar.
No, the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers aren’t world-beaters. But they have one-game winning streaks, and they have winning records in this moment in time.
It isn’t exactly Chicago Cubs-type excitement. But what is? Seriously, a Cubs relief pitcher who replaced the injured starter hit a home run in a postseason game?
We live in interesting times.