Even with the week off there are still plenty of Hawkeye news stories to read and discuss. Here are a few:
Hawkeye fans got their first glimpse of freshman running back Jordan Canzeri last Saturday. Canzeri makes three true freshman running backs to burn their redshirt this season. Mike Hlas, of the Cedar Rapids Gazette, takes a look back at Jordan's high school highlight tape to get him through the bye week.
If you had Jordan Bernstine as your candidate for breakout player of the year this preseason you're right, at least through the first four games. Hawk Central's Pat Harty writes that Bernstine is "savoring every moment of the 2011 season."
We learned yesterday from coach Ferentz through the Big Ten teleconference that Nolan MacMillan is back practicing. Ferentz also said BJ Lowery is still a couple weeks away from returning. The staff had hoped to have Lowery back before Penn State. Here are some more notes from Ferentz.
Since we are in dreaded bye week hell I thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the observations, notes, and predictions I made throughout the Spring and Summer. Now, we are only four games into the season and the Hawkeyes are an evolving football team but I think it's safe to declare some of these things wrong. And maybe look a few things I got right too.
(Note, there is heavy use of "I" in this post and it's perhaps douchey. You've been warned)
Earlier today I posted the latest PSD's Twitter Top 25. Now it's time to look at this Saturday's biggest games.
9/29/2011 7:00 PM CST
#16 South Florida at Pittsburgh Spread: S Florida -3
The line for this opened at Pitt -3 and quickly swung to South Florida being the favorite. The Panthers are coming off two consecutive tough losses to Iowa and Notre Dame and look to record win number three at home against the Bulls. South Florida brings an offense that averages 45 points a game. The two have a common opponent in Notre Dame. South Florida won the season opener against the Irish while Pitt was only able to put 12 points on the board at home. Everything points to a South Florida win here but don't discount the kooky Thursday night game and the home dog.
10/1/2011 11:00 AM CST
Northwestern at #22 Illinois Spread: Illini -7.5
Last year this rivaly game was played in Wrigley Field under modified rules due to the outfield wall being too close to the field. This year the 4-0 Illini will host a Wildcat team that had extra time to prepare coming off a bye week and should have hero Dan Persa back at QB. The question will be how effective can Persa be and will he still be the mobile quarterback that shined in early 2010. The Illinois defense is tough and thus far only gives up an average of 57 yards rushing a game. It's opening weekend for the Big Ten and both of these teams would like to start the season off right with one in the win column.
10/1/11 11:00 AM CST
#19 Arkansas at #15 Texas A&M Spread: A&M -3
Here is a match-up of future conference foes. Texas A&M was accepted as the 13th member of the SEC just this week. Both teams are coming off their first loss of the season and the loser here could find themselves outside of the Top 25. Both teams average around 38 points a game so expect a shootout in College Station. The advantage goes to the Aggies who have the home field and have yet to leave Aggieland this season. Arkansas' only road trip was last week's loss to Alabama. Arkansas needs a win because Auburn looms next week.
10/1/2011 2:30 PM CST
Auburn at #10 South Carolina Spread: S Carolina -10.5
Speaking of the Auburn Tigers, they go on the road to take on the undefeated and #10 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina has been in or near the Top 10 all season but at times hasn't looked like a Top 10 team. Auburn's only loss was to Clemson which is looking better after Clemson's defeat of Florida State last week. The young Auburn defense is surrendering on average 226 yards a game and South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore may be the nation's best rusher. Look for Spurrier to give Lattimore the rock and score some points but don't discount Auburn hanging in the game if it becomes a shootout.
10/1/2011 2:30 PM CST
#14 Baylor at Kansas State Spread: Baylor -4.5
Kansas State is riding the momentum of a huge goal line stand in Miami last week to upset the Hurricanes at home. That could work both ways as the physical match-up with the Canes could leave K-State a little banged up. Baylor, on the other hand, had an easy win over Rice and should be ready to start the Big 12 season. Both teams are 3-0 and Baylor has rocketed up the Top 25 since the opening season win over TCU. The Wildcats are creeping closer to the Top 25 and a home dog victory could place the Cats in the Top 20.
10/1/2011 5:00 PM CST
#13 Clemson at #9 Virginia Tech Spread: V Tech -6.5
Clemson is the hottest team in the polls having gone from unranked to #13 in just two weeks. The Tigers have ended the nation's longest winning streak by defeating Auburn and followed it up by taking down Florida State. The caveat is that Auburn may have several more losses on that schedule and Florida State had to play a freshman quarterback. Virginia Tech, however, hasn't had a true test yet this season. The Hokies have hovered in and around the Top 10 since preseason but have defeated Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall. The Hokies are the home favorite and may see a tired Tigers team this Saturday. It's possible that this game is a preview of the ACC championship game, unless Georgia Tech has something to say about that.
10/1/2011 6:00 PM CST
#18 Texas at Iowa State Spread: Texas -10.5
The Longhorns suffered a loss to Iowa State for the first time last season in Austin. The road win for the Cyclones continued a trend of big upset road victories for Cyclone coach Paul Rhodes (the Cyclones knocked off Nebraska the season prior). Texas coach Mack Brown says this one is circled on the Longhorn calender. Iowa State's Jack Trice Stadium could be sold out for a third consecutive game this season, a school record. Vegas likes the Longhorns to avenge last season's loss. Both teams are coming off a bye week and had extra time to prepare.
10/1/2011 7:00 PM CST
#3 Alabama at #12 Florida Spread: Bama -4
A week after Alabama faced previously ranked #13 Arkansas they head to the swamp to take on the #12 Gators. Such is life in the SEC. Nick Saban's defense will look to stop Charlie Weis and his Florida offense. Statistically, both teams are similar with the exception being on the defensive side. Alabama is allowing only 184 total yards a game on average. Florida's has been pretty good too, allowing only 232 a game. A win in the swamp could catapult the Tide to the #1 ranking. LSU took that spot this week after a big prime time win.
10/1/2011 7:00 PM CST
#10 Nebraska at #5 Wisconsin Spread: Wisky - 9.5
It's the inaugural game for the Cornhuskers and what a match-up it is. The luck of the draw puts Nebraska in Madison to take on the best team in the Big Ten. Wisconsin has had a walk-through of an out-of-conference schedule. Perhaps a trick Bielema learned from Bill Snyder. Nebraska has gone on the road to face a previously 3-0 Wyoming team and hosted Washington and Fresno State at home. The Husker's D is allowing almost 350 yards a game on average. That could be a problem as Wisconsin has averaged 532 yards a game and 48 points on offense. Madtown will be just that and Nebraska is going to learn really quick what life in the Big Ten is all about.
The votes are in and we have the calculated poll following Week 4 in college football. Here is the link to how each person voted. Here are the notes for the latest poll:
For the first time this year there is a new #1 (LSU)
Oklahoma received 35 first place votes last week, only 15 this week following a win
Oklahoma State moves ahead of Boise State to #6
Nebraska is in the Top 10 for the second time this year, the first was week one
Oregon is the highest ranked one loss team (#11)
Clemson jumped from #20 to #13 after defeating Florida State
Florida State fell to #24 after their second loss in a row
Michigan moved ahead of Texas (from #21 to #17)
Arizona State rejoins the Top 25 as this weeks only previously unranked team
USC is the only team to drop from Week 3's poll, they still received 15 votes
North Dakota State received one vote after defeating Minnesota
There were 51 voters and 44 teams receiving votes, Week 1's poll had 52 voters and 66 teams receiving at least one vote
Others receiving votes:
Houston (82), Iowa State (59), Kansas State (35), Michigan State (35), Utah (17), Auburn (17), USC (15), Texas Tech (11), Ohio State (11), Penn State (7), Iowa (5), Tennessee (4), Washington (2), Notre Dame (1), Mississippi State (1), North Dakota State (1)
Let's discuss what went down last Saturday. First, how bout that opening drive? The Hawkeyes went down the field in a no-huddle shotgun and quickly it was 7-0. No way I thought we'd see something like that but, we did and now the future Big Ten opponents have something to plan against. They will also have to study Iowa's 3-4 defense that they put on the field to confuse and eventually stop ULM's opening drive.
I thought Iowa performed exactly how they should have against ULM. I mean, Louisiana-Monroe was making their third trip to take on a BCS foe, the two previous games were against ranked teams. Iowa was a 17 point favorite and handled ULM like an upper-tier Big Ten team should.
I like that Iowa was able to find some room in the running game, even against eight or nine defenders.
I liked that James Vandenberg was looking off safeties, staring down one direction and then throwing back another.
Is Marvin McNutt the best wide receiver in Iowa history?
I thought it was good to see Lebron Daniel play like he wanted his starting spot back.
I didn't look up the stats but it seemed as if finally, Iowa held a distinct advantage in starting field position. The kick coverage is improving, no thanks to Nico Law, Joe Audlehelm and Tom Donatell.
Usually, I have more thoughts and observations but I didn't set the Tivo for this one. So it goes.
Here are some links following Iowa's 45-17 win over ULM:
Fran McCaffery's 2012 recruiting class just got bigger. Anthony Clemmons, a point guard recruit from Lansing, Michigan, gave Iowa his verbal commitment last night. Clemmons is the fifth commit to Iowa for the 2012 class.
Scout.com rates Clemmons a two star recruit. He originally committed to Eastern Michigan but opened his recruiting back up. He also held offers from Northern Illinois and Detroit.
Clemmons was in Iowa City with his family this past weekend. He posted some pics from his visit via his Twitter account.