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Welcome to the preseason Hlist. These are power rankings for those who believe absolute power corrupts absolutely.
1. Michigan State: No one’s pick to repeat as Big Ten champs. But to paraphrase Nature Boy Ric Flair, to be the team you’ve got to beat the team. Whooo!
2. Ohio State: Linebacker Joey Bosa, the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NFL draft out of Ohio State, signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday. “The Chargers have decided to manipulate facts and negotiate in the media,” Bosa’s agent had recently said. That must have been an effective strategy.
3. Iowa: Ninety-seven percent of Americans say the Hawkeyes will open their season with a win over Miami (Ohio). The other 3 percent are picking the Green Party candidate.
4. Michigan: The Wolverines open at home against Hawaii, which lost 51-31 to California in Australia on Friday. Hawaii’s travel agent should find another line of work.
5. Chicago Cubs: Not in this or any other life had you ever seen the Cubs sitting at 82-47 after the last weekend of August.
6. Nebraska: Had a losing record last season, but life still went on between Omaha and Ogallala. Though just how we were supposed to tell, no one knows.
7. Wisconsin: CBSsports.com says the Badgers have the nation’s toughest schedule. And only one SEC team is on it!
8. Minnesota: Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner has spunk. Lou Grant, a television news producer on Twin Cities-based “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” once had this exchange with associate producer Mary Richards:
Lou: You know what? You’ve got spunk.
Mary: Well, yes …
Lou: I hate spunk.
9. Northwestern: Began last season by beating Stanford, 16-6. Centuries from now, that will remain an unsolved mystery.
10. Penn State: Went 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 the last three seasons. Penn State football is in danger of appearing in a Sports Illustrated “Where Are They Now” issue.
11. Indiana: Finished 6-7 last season after losing a bowl. Which isn’t nearly as weird as Minnesota and Nebraska finishing 6-7 after winning bowls.
12. Illinois. Has a head coach (Lovie Smith) who coached a Chicago Bears team to the Super Bowl with Rex Grossman as its quarterback. Really.
13. Maryland/Rutgers: Have head coaches who … no, I don’t know who they are, either.
14. End of Summer: The only holiday that’s sadder than Labor Day is National Vanilla Milkshake Day.
15. Purdue: This seems odd: The new marketing slogan for Boilermaker football is “Come support athletes that didn’t vandalize that gas station bathroom in Rio.”
HEY, LET’S PUT ON A SHOW!
Wisconsin plays LSU Saturday at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field. All Lambeau Leaps will come with a 15-yard penalty. Not for excessive celebration, but for ripping off the Packers’ shtick.
Oh, and LSU fans are coming. In RVs. Lots of them.
LOOK AWAY, WE’RE HIDEOUS
Howard at Maryland
Murray State at Illinois
Eastern Kentucky at Purdue
If you buy a ticket to these games, you also get a bowl of soup.
Iowa opened as a 32-point favorite over Miami (Ohio) when a line for that game was first posted at the South Point casino in Las Vegas on May 18. The Hawkeyes were favored there by just 27½ on Monday morning. What do the bettors know, and when did they know it?
BIG TEN NAME OF THE WEEK
Olive Sagapolu, Wisconsin sophomore nose tackle. The starter is 6-foot-2, 340 pounds. That’s a big olive.
BRETT GREENWOOD SCHOLARSHIP FUND
This came my way Monday, with a link to a video you can watch here:
The Brett Greenwood Scholarship will go to a deserving student-athlete who best exhibits Brett’s determination and strong will. The Iowa Football Club is matching the first $25,000 in gifts to support this scholarship.
“Together we will provide financial support every year to a student-athlete who follows in Brett’s footsteps with courage and determination,” said Bill Happel (1986 B.B.A.), an Iowa Football Club board member and UI football letterwinner. “But, we need the help of loyal and generous Hawkeyes to make it happen.”
Visit GreenwoodFund.org for more information.
Greenwood, a former Iowa defensive back, suddenly collapsed during a workout and suffered significant brain trauma in 2011. Since then he has spent thousands of hours in rehabilitation.