Saturday, September 10, 2016

Game Day: Prime Time Game at Kinnick, as Iowa Hawkeyes host the Iowa State Cyclones for the Cy-Hawk Game!

Can Iowa carry the trophy off for the second straight game?
The series has favored by ISU in 3 of the last five games, including past two
in Iowa City, as Cy-Hawk Game kicks off today at 6:30 p.m.
Iowa City, IA -- In 1977, the Hawkeye State welcomed the return of the Cy-Hawk Game, as the Iowa Hawkeyes outlasted the Iowa State Cyclones 12-10 at Kinnick Stadium. Today's game is the 40th meeting, since the series resumed, as the Hawkeyes and Cyclones kickoff at 6:30 p.m. at Kinnick Stadium, as the Big Ten Network will the Cy-Hawk Game.

Photo published for Iowa announces a new contract and raise for Kirk Ferentz keeping him through 2026 - FootballScoop
This is the 18th game for Kirk Ferentz, as head coach for Iowa, leading the
Hawkeyes in the Cy-Hawk Game. AD Gary Barta extended Ferentz through
the 2026 season this week, but the Cyclones have been a thorn for Ferentz.
There has been dominance by Iowa in the Cy-Hawk Series, with a 15 game win streak from 1983 to 1997. Iowa State has owned both three and five game win streak winning streaks, since the series resumed. In the past 17 games, since Kirk Ferentz was hired as Iowa's head coach in 1999, Iowa State leads the series 9 to 8. Iowa (1-0) comes into today's match at #10 nationally, while ISU (0-1) is unranked ...

Iowa State (0-1) against #10 Iowa (1-0), in this Big 12 vs. Big Ten match up!
The Hawkeyes haven't carried the trophy off the field at Kinnick Stadium, since Iowa's 35-7 win in 2010. Iowa State has won two straight at Kinnick, including a 9-6 game in 2012, where there was little offense.

Iowa carried the trophy off last year, but the Hawkeyes haven't in Iowa City,
since 2010, so there is a desire to keep it here for another year.
Iowa hosted the first four games in the renewal, with a 2-2 record.

It would be easy to pick an Iowa B1G win, since Iowa State factors to be in rebuilding mode in 2016, with a young offensive line and concerns in the line back corp. It is also Year 1 of the Matt Campbell era, who replaced Paul Rhoads after a 3-9 season.

The renewal of the series was tied 1-1, when Hayden Fry arrived in Iowa City.
Fry won his first Cy-Hawk Game in 1979, in Iowa City, 30-14. The Hawkeyes
would love to pull off another win in the series, as they lead 39-19 overall.
Fry's first win at Iowa was against Iowa State, back in 1979.
But, in rivalry games, the Cyclones have won in this series, with teams not succeeding in the W-L column before. Look back at 1982 or 1998 against Hayden Fry teams, then 2007 or 2014 against Kirk Ferentz teams ... three of those four games came in Iowa City.

Since the series renewed in 1977, Iowa has won 25, lost 14. The Hawkeyes own a better percentage in Ames, but Iowa is 13-8 at Kinnick. Iowa is 39-19 overall in the series, so Iowa is going for its 40th win overall in the 40th renewal game, since 1977.

Does Kirk Ferentz get to .500 against Iowa State today in the Cy-Hawk Series?

Photo published for One series against Iowa State turned Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard from a guy to 'the guy'
In many ways, this play at Iowa State, may have set the tone for Iowa QB 16
C.J. Beathard and the 2015 Hawkeyes, as Beathard avoided a safety in
the first half, with Iowa's back against the wall.
At quarterback, Iowa returns senior C.J. Beathard, while ISU will turn to junior Joel Lanning, after he took over for Sam B. Richardson during the 2015 season. Iowa is coming off a 12-2 season, and Beathard is 14-2 as Iowa's starting quarterback, including the 31-17 win in Ames. Both Beathard and Lanning have shown success both in the passing game and using their feet. Beathard edges Lanning though  in experience and decision making.

Iowa QB 16 C.J. Beathard broke out of the end zone last year and lead the
Hawkeyes to a B1G win over Iowa State to put Iowa 2-0 on way to a record
12-0 regular season in 2015. The Hawkeyes are looking for a repeat in 2016 ...
In the loss against UNI last Saturday night, Iowa State had three costly turnovers against the Panthers, in the 25-20 loss. The last time ISU lost in the season opener (2013), the Cyclones followed up with a 27-21 loss in Ames, the following week.

Today's kickoff is 6:30 p.m., but the Cyclones spoiled the Hawkeyes back in 2002, with 36-31, as the lights turned on at Kinnick.

The Hawkeyes need to step up today at Kinnick. The Cyclones will be seeking its first win in the Matt Campbell era, while Kirk Ferentz looks to get to .500. He was 7-2 as an offensive line coach under Fry from 1981 to 1982. Iowa lost the first two, but found momentum, as they began the historic 15 game winning streak, which Ferentz was part of seven of those 15 years, as OL coach.

The offensive lines have some rework with both units today. Iowa State is going through an overhaul with five new starters. ISU opened fall camp, with the loss of junior Jake Campos, the only returning starter. After the 45-21 win last week over Miami-OH, the Hawkeyes will ask sophomore center Lucas LeGrand to make his first career start, as reports are coming out of Iowa City that sophomore center James Daniels is injured. So, who gets the most production today?

Both head coaches believe in strong play at the line of scrimmage. This will be a key to today's game, as will turnovers, special teams and explosive plays.

The old saying says, teams improve most between Game 1 and Game 2 of a season.

Photo published for Hawkeye football analysis: Keep an eye on these 4 areas
Iowa's defense will keep a close eye on ISU sophomore RB 2 Mike Warren today.
At running back, the Cyclones return a thousand yard back, in sophomore RB Mike Warren. The Hawkeyes are deep at RB, with senior LeShun Daniels, junior Akrum Wadley, who ran for 121 yards in the season opener; but don't forget true freshman Toks Akinribade and junior Derrick Mitchell. The Cyclones are younger at running back, then Iowa, with true freshman David Montgomery. The offensive line for ISU didn't get the running game going in the opener. Iowa will likely unveil a new center today, but the Hawkeyes will seek to be balanced, but you know, with the experience at running back, it will be an important part of the game for Iowa.

In 2014, Iowa State PK 1 Cole Netton last second FG lead the Cyclones to a
20-17 over Iowa in Iowa City.
Iowa needs to find separation typically against ISU. In 2014, the Cyclones hung around and pulled out a 20-17 win with a last second field goal by PK Cole Netten, who is now a senior. ISU has experience at placekicker and returns junior punter Colin Downing. Iowa has a true freshman at PK, as Keith Duncan debuted last Saturday, along with graduate transfer Ron Coluzzi, out of Central Michigan, who will handle the Hawkeyes' punting and kickoff duties today.

Special teams can be very important in rivalry games. A miscue, a block, an explosive return ... Iowa and Iowa State will look for an advantage there, as well.

Iowa State returns junior WR Allen Lazard, former UNI track runner, junior WR Trever Ryen, senior WR Dondre Daley and 6-6 redshirt WR Hakeem Butler, who all will need to be watched closely in Iowa back 7, who will face a bigger test today. Iowa gave up 410 yards of offense to Miami-OH last week. The Cyclones have a new TE and will look to get the passing game going today.  

The 4th quarter TD reception by Iowa WR 83 Riley McCarren changed the
game in the Hawkeyes favor last year.
The Hawkeyes return three key upperclassmen in the passing game, with seniors TE George Kittle, WRs Matt VandeBerg and Riley McCarren, who have all contributed in the Cy-Hawk Game previously. Sophomore WR Jerminic Smith will be making his debut in the series, as will hopefully WR Jay Scheel, who missed the season opener, due to injury. Sophomore walk on WR Ronald Nash is an in-state player making his first Cy-Hawk game, as well for Iowa. Explosive plays will be an important part of today's game.

Iowa State won back to back games in Iowa City, 9-6 in 2012, then 20-17,
in 2014. Iowa won last in Iowa City, back in 2010, 35-7, as senior QB Ricky
Stanzi lead Iowa to back to back wins over ISU. Iowa returns senior
QB C.J. Beathard, who lead the Hawkeyes to a 31-17 win in Ames, last year.
An important area to watch, will be the front seven of both teams. Though, there has been some talk about ISU's new 4-2-5 defense, you may see more 4-3 look, against Iowa? We shall see. Iowa is known for a 4-3 base, but the Hawkeyes will use six defensive backs and maybe a Raider/Radar package in the pass rush on passing downs.

ISU senior NG 97 Demond Tucker anchors the Cyclones line of scrimmage.
Who wins the line of scrimmage game, will likely determine heavily the outcome of today's game. ISU senior NG Demond Tucker is the anchor of the Cyclones front line, while Iowa is lead by senior DT Jaleel Johnson, junior DT Nathan Bazata, with senior DT Faith Ekakitite. Iowa will not be 100% on the edge, since sophomore DE Parker Hesse is slowed with a hamstring, but the Full Nelson debuted in the season opener with sophomore Matt Nelson and redshirt freshman Anthony Nelson, no relation, at the defensive end positions for the Hawkeyes. ISU true freshman LEO JaQuan Bailey recorded his first sack against UNI in his debut last week.

Iowa is strong at linebacker, lead by junior MLB Josey Jewell, while ISU is lean there. Jewell was disqualified last week, after the first series, due to a head to head penalty, so many are interested to see, if the Iowa defense plays better this week, with its captain back? Iowa juniors Ben Niemann and Bo Bower are at the OLB and WLB positions and have both experienced Cy-Hawk games, as well. They lead Iowa in the season opener in tackles. ISU sophomore WLB Reggan Northrup lead the Cyclones with 13 tackles, one sack, in the season opener against UNI. Senior MLB Kane Seeley had a sack against UNI, as well. Don't be surprised to see ISU bring the blitz against Iowa in disrupting either the run or the pass against the Hawkeyes today.

The strength of both defenses are the secondaries for both Iowa and Iowa State. Iowa returns and is lead by senior all-American CB Desmond King, along with senior CB Greg Mabin, junior SS Mike Taylor and the only new starter is sophomore FS Brandon Snyder, who played special teams last year. The Cyclones feature junior LS Kamari Cotton-Moya and sophomore RC Brain Peavy, who lead ISU in tackles last year. Generally, who don't want your CB leading your team in tackles. Cotton-Moya is the only that leads the secondary.

Photo published for Football: Notes from Campbell's Monday press conference
Iowa State coach Matt Campbell is 0-1, after a 25-20 loss against UNI.
The chess match begins at 6:30 p.m. Iowa's offensive coordinator Greg Davis and defensive coordinator Phil Parker, both were elevated to those positions in 2012. They are 2-2 against Iowa State as coordinators. Parker has been Iowa's secondary coach, since 1999, with one year off, during his first season as a coordinator, so he knows the series well, 

It is Kirk Ferentz's 27th Cy-Hawk Game, while it is ISU coach Matt Campbell's first one. His offensive coordinator Tom Manning, is also an OL coach. While his defensive coordinator Jon Hancock, who also coaches safeties, both came with Campbell from Toledo.

Iowa State @ #10 Iowa, 6:30 p.m. from Kinnick Stadium

Keys to the Game:
  1. Line of scrimmage
  2. Explosive Plays
  3. Turnovers and miscues
  4. Running Game
  5. In game, adjustments 
While this looks like a game Iowa could be a blowout, it is a rivalry game and look at Iowa's recent track record ...

  • #10 Iowa 30
  • Iowa State 28
We see Iowa winning, but we see the Cyclones taking this one down the wire, maybe after an early lead by Iowa. In 2002, Iowa won the first half, but ISU came back, upset Iowa ...

Friday, September 9, 2016

Game Day Saturday: Week 2 of the 2016 College Football season brings us the Cy-Hawk Game in Iowa City

Saturday, September 10th 

  • Boston College at UMass 11:00 am on NESN / SNY / (CSNC / CSBA) / espn3 / ASN  - the Eagles lost a close ACC opener in Dublin on Saturday, as they travel to meet the Minutemen carrying a 19-2 record, since 1966 against them ... upset alert?
  • Central Michigan at Oklahoma State 11:00 am on FS1 - the game was semi-close in Michigan last year, in the season opener, but the Cowboys should take down the Chippewas at home ...
  • Cincinnati at Purdue 11:00 am on BTN - the Boilermakers are 1-0, now turning to the FBS side of the 2016 schedule, against the Bearcats out of the AAC ... this game was an ugly loss for Darrell Hazel in his Purdue debut, so can the Boilermakers get some payback in '16?
  • Howard at Rutgers 11:00 am on BTN - two 0-1 teams after the Bison got shot down at Maryland, so the Scarlet Knights can expect a nice rebound after the opening week loss @ Washington!
  • Indiana State at Minnesota 11:00 am on ESPN News - the Golden Gophers took out the Oregon State Beavers in Week 1, so Sycamores are today's red meat in Week 2 ... 
  • Lamar at Houston 11:00 am on CSNC+ / espn3 / ASN - the Cougars open on home field after taking care of business against OU in NRG Stadium in season opener, as the Cardinals are 0-6 against FBS ...
  • Nicholls State at Georgia 11:00 am on SECN - the Bulldogs kickoff coach Kirby Smart's home opener with the FCS Colonels, who went down 95-0 last year against two FBS opponents ...
  • North Carolina State at East Carolina 11:00 am on ESPNU - the Pirates took down the Wolfpack in 2010, in the last visit to ECU, so coach Dave Doeren needs to pull this one out ... 
  • Penn State at Pittsburgh 11:00 am on ESPN / WatchESPN / espn3 Skycam - haven't played each other, since 2000, so the Nittany Lions-Panthers renewal should be one of the better match ups in Week 2 ... Go Panthers!
  • Prairie View at Texas A&M 11:00 am on SECN alternate - the Aggies are 10-0 in this series and the Panthers just missed the FCS playoffs last season ...
  • Rice at Army 11:00 am on CBSSN / CBSSN - the Black Knights won in Week 1 @ Temple, so Army needs pick it up at home, with a 1-4-1 record against the Owls in the past ...
  • UCF at Michigan 11:00 am on ABC / espn3 - the Scott Frost era began, after a 0-12 season in 2015 for the Knights, but a road trip to Ann Arbor isn't likely to be pretty, as they kickoff the FBS slate in 2016 ...
  • Wyoming at Nebraska 11:00 am on ESPN2 - the Cornhuskers are 7-0 in this series, though the 2013 season opener went down to the wire, so 2nd year Mike Riley team is expected to simply take care of business in this one!
  • Charleston Southern at Florida State 11:30 am on ESPN Extra/ FSN Affiliates- with 14 players suspended for the Buccaneers, this will be an ugly and early one in Tallahassee for the Seminoles ...
  • Troy at Clemson 11:30 am on ESPN Extra / ACC Network - the Trojans in 2011 lead at the half against the Tigers in previous meeting, only to lose 43-19 in the season opener ...
  • Utah State at USC 1:00 pm on PAC-12 Network - the Aggies in 2013 lost a close one 17-14 in coach Matt Wells first season, so the Trojans need to take care of business, after a 52-6 disaster against Bama in Arlington to kickoff 2016 ...
  • Youngstown State at West Virginia 1:00 pm on RSPI - Bo Pelini lost last year in his debut season with the Penguins @ Pitt, so fitting the Panthers' old rivals, the Mountaineers, are his next FBS showdown, where coach Dan Holgorsen is 6-0 against FCS foes ...
  • Ohio U at Kansas 1:30 pm on FSN Affiliates - the Bobcats are coming off a 0-1 start, as former Huskers coach Frank Solich heads back to Lawrence against his old Big 12 foe, the Jayhawks, who opened with an FCS win over RI ...
  • Akron at Wisconsin 2:30 pm on BTN - the Badgers got off to a great start with a win in Lambeau over LSU, so Wisconsin now looks to get to 3-0 in the series against the Zips ...
  • Eastern Washington at North Dakota State 2:30 pm ESPN Extra / espn3 / NBC ND (cable) 
  • Illinois State at Northwestern 2:30 pm on BTN - last year the Redbirds opened with Hawkeyes in a 31-14 loss, so how will the Wildcats rebound coming off the opening game 22-21 loss vs. Western Michigan?
  • Kentucky at Florida 2:30 pm on CBS - the Wildcats fell late in season opener against Southern Miss, while the Gators took care of business against UMass, as Stoops' Wildcats head to Gainsville for the SEC East opener ...  
  • Nevada at Notre Dame 2:30 pm on NBC - the Wolf Pack won a 30-27 game over Cal Poly, as the Fighting Irish fell down in Austin in OT, so this one could get ugly quick, as Notre Dame readies for a rivalry game in Week 3 ...
  • North Dakota at Bowling Green 2:30 pm on ALT / NESN Plus / espn3 / ASN (cable) - wow, what did the Falcons do at Ohio State last week? The Fighting Hawks won @ Wyoming last year ... 
  • Old Dominion at Appalachian State 2:30 pm on CSMA+ / CSBA / espn3 / ASN  - C-USA vs. Sun Belt showdown as Monarchs turn to FBS slate, while Mountaineers are coming off OT loss @ Tennessee ... can't afford a letdown game with Miami-FL next weekend!
  • SMU at Baylor 2:30 pm on FS1 - it is the sixth meeting in this rivalry, since the SWC days!
  • UConn at Navy 2:30 pm on CBSSN - time to kickoff AAC play in this inter-division match up, that went 28-16 for the Midshipment last year ... the Huskies are 1-7 in this season, so tough game today for Bob Diaco's team!
  • Tulsa at Ohio State 2:30 pm on ABC / espn3 - the Golden Hurricane and Buckeyes have never meet, but road games at Power 5 opponents haven't been good for Tulsa ...
  • Wake Forest at Duke 2:30 pm on ESPNU - after closing ACC play the past two seasons, the Demon Deacons and Blue Devils open conference play in this inter-division showdown ...
  • Western Kentucky at #1 Alabama 2:30 pm ESPN2 - coach Jeff Brohm is entering Year 3 and the Hilltoppers finished #24 and 12-2 last seaosn, including a bowl win over USF, but the Crimson Tide won 35-0 in 2012 ...
  • Ball State at Indiana 3:00 pm on ESPN News - IU is coming off a bowl season and a road win to open 2016, so doesn't want to take lightly a meeting against a little brother in-state school out of the MAC, as the Cardinals arrive in Bloomington ...
  • Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt 3:00 pm on SECN alternate - the Blue Raiders seek to be the next C-USA programs working to earn a win on the road in the SEC? Won last time @ Vandy!
  • Wofford at Ole Miss 3:00 pm on SECN - the Rebels rebound against the Terriers, but huge SEC opener at home in Week 3 against #1 ...
  • Idaho at Washington 4:00 pm PAC-12 Network - the Huskies may be the dark horse in some peoples minds to win the Pac 12, but they may be the favorite, as Chris Petersen leads in Year 3 in Seattle ...
  • Montana at Northern Iowa 4:00 pm on ESPN Extra / espn3 / PSN (cable) - the Panthers beat ISU 25-20 in Ames, as the Grizzles come to town, as UNI seeks a strong September start in '16 ...
  • Idaho State at Colorado 4:30 pm PAC-12 Network / PAC-12 - the Buffalos took care of business in the Colorado rivalry in Denver, now the home opener in Boulder against the Bengals ...
  • Morgan State at Marshall 5:00 pm on beIN Sports / beIN Video / Facebook Video - We are ... hosts the Bears to kickoff the 2016 season, as the Thundering Herd didn't open in Week 1 ...
  • Arkansas at TCU 6:00 pm ESPN / WatchESPN / espn3 Skycam - time for Being Bret Bielema to pull off a solid September Power 5 road win!
  • Louisiana Monroe at Oklahoma 6:00 pm on PPV -
  • Northern Illinois at South Florida 6:00 pm CBSSN / CBSSN Video 
  • South Carolina at Mississippi State 6:00 pm ESPN2 / WatchESPN 
  • UTEP at Texas 6:00 pm LHN / WatchESPN 
  • Arkansas State at Auburn 6:30 pm SECN / WatchESPN 
  • BYU at Utah 6:30 pm FOX / FSGo Video 
  • Eastern Michigan at Missouri 6:30 pm SECN alternate / WatchESPN 
  • Iowa State at Iowa 6:30 pm BTN - Kirk Ferentz was given a contract extension through 2026 this week, as he looks to even the Cy-Hawks series in his 18th season at .500, as the Cyclones have been one of his biggest thorns head to head, since 1999 ...
  • Jacksonville State at LSU 6:30 pm ESPNU / WatchESPN 
  • North Carolina at Illinois 6:30 pm BTN - the Lovie Smith era kicked off last week; opportunity knocks to pull off upset as Tar Heels come to town to take on Fighting Illini ...
  • New Mexico at New Mexico State 7:00 pm on ESPN Extra / FSAZ+ / FSSW+ / FSPT / espn3 / AggieVision 
  • Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech (Bristol) 7:00 pm on ABC / espn3 
  • UNLV at UCLA 7:00 pm on PAC-12 Network
  • Texas Tech at Arizona State 9:00 pm FS1 / FSGo Video 
  • Washington State at Boise State 9:15 pm ESPN2 / WatchESPN 
  • California at San Diego State 9:30 pm CBSSN / CBSSN Video 
  • Virginia at Oregon 9:30 pm ESPN / WatchESPN -
  • Grambling at Arizona 9:45 pm PAC-12 Network / PAC-12 
  • Bethune Cookman at North Texas 6:00 pm on $CUSA Video 
  • Eastern Illinois at Miami-OH 2:30 pm espn3 
  • Florida Atlantic at Miami-FL 5:00 pm WatchESPN 
  • Georgia Southern at South Alabama 6:00 pm espn3 / ASN (affiliates) 
  • Georgia State at Air Force 1:00 pm MWC Video
  • Maine at Toledo 6:00 pm espn3 
  • McNeese State at Louisiana Lafayette 6:00 pm espn3 
  • Mercer at Georgia Tech 2:00 pm WatchESPN 
  • NC Central at Western Michigan 6:00 pm on espn3 - the Broncos are coming off a B1G road opener, as they kickoff the home slate, as the Eagles come to Kalamazoo! 
  • Portland State at San Jose State 3:30 pm -  
  • Sacramento State at Fresno State on 9:00 pm -
  • South Carolina State at Louisiana Tech 6:00 pm on $CUSA -
  • Southern at Tulane 7:00 pm on espn3 - 
  • Stony Brook at Temple 12:00 pm espn3 - the Owls fell at home against Army in the opening week, so the Seahawks get a bruised program coming off a strong season, but opening 2016 very different ...
  • UT Martin at Hawaii' 11:00 pm on Oceanic PPV - the Warriors opened 0-2 playing in Australia and in Ann Arbor, so when a FCS comes to the island, you have to take care of business!
  • UTSA at Colorado State 3:00 pm on MWC Video - the Rams won 33-31 last year on the road, so coming off rivalry game, they don't want to take this one lightly ...

Week 2: Friday Night College Football

Cedar Rapids, IA --Friday night, September 9th, the Big Ten for the second straight week heads to Miami for another game against Florida International (0-1).  This week it is the Maryland Terrapins (1-0). The other game tonight in the FBS division is an Atlantic division match up in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Another Big Ten team headed to Miami to take on FIU in September.
  • Maryland at Florida International 6:30 pm CBSSN - first meeting between in this Big Ten vs. C-USA match up. 
  • Louisville at Syracuse 7:00 pm ESPN2 - Bobby Petrino is his third season, since he returned to lead the Cardinals. The Orange welcomed Dino Barbers 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cidsports first Top 30 Rankings after Week 1 of the 2016 College Football season.

Cedar Rapids, IA -- Preseason polls and early polls do have to be taken with a grain of salt. No College Football Playoff champion, in only two years of history, has ever won the title with a perfect record in the season. Both Ohio State and Alabama, lost regular season games in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Week 2 and Week 3 games, actually for each program, so while early losses matter, Oklahoma overcame a loss in Texas in 2015 and we will see, if they can do it again in 2015?

Photo published for Lane Kiffin trolls USC with reference to his LAX firing
Alabama OC Lane Kiffin has Crimson Tide buzzing, after a win over his
former team. The Crimson Tide will also play Tennessee in SEC play,
another former team, so there are many backstories as the 2016 season unfolds.
The two most dominate programs in College Football are Alabama and Ohio State over the past three seasons. Florida State won the last BCS title played, in 2013, and Michigan State is tied for #3 in winning percentage with the Seminoles, followed by Clemson.

Photo published for OTL: Power 5 schools made $6 billion last year
Power 5 programs keep getting richer on the backs of College Football. Story
The MSU Spartans did it with a single quarterback, Connor Cook, who graduated after 2015, but the defending Big Ten champions can't be discounted completely in 2016, though they come in at #12 in the preseason. The Spartans lean on senior QB Tyler O'Connor, who is 2-0 as a starter now, including leading the Spartans 17-14 win over the Buckeyes in Columbus, last year. 

If the College Football Playoff was selected today ... we wousld place a Group of 5 school in, using the data from last year, which is always a part of preseason and early polling!

So, after Week 1 of the 2016 College Football season, here is our Top 30 ...

  1. Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0/ 38-5 2013-present) - defending champion, Roll Tide!
  2. Clemson Tigers (1-0/ 36-6) - awful good over last three seasons ...
  3. Houston Cougars (1-0/ 30-11) - they were #8 at the end last season, with win over Florida State, and now OU ...
  4. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0/ 39-4) - the Buckeyes shouldn't have lost in the regular season last year; very young this year, with 6 starters back!
  5. Florida State Seminoles (1-0/ 38-4) - young at QB, but experienced all around him ...
  6. Stanford Cardinal (1-0/ 32-10) - young QB; seems to be a theme around FBS ...
  7. Michigan State Spartans (1-0/ 37-5) - bye week ahead and they have a new, senior QB ...
  8. Washington Huskies (1-0/ 25-16) - watch out Pac 12, it is Chris Petersen's third team here ...
  9. TCU Horned Frogs (1-0/ 28-11) - door of opportunity in 2016 ...
  10. Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0/ 28-13) - this is where they finished 2015 ...
  11. Wisconsin Badgers (1-0/ 31-10) - Paul Chryst has signature win in his first five season as a head coach, second season at hometown school ...
  12. Michigan Wolverines (1-0/ 23-16) - Harbaugh plays five straight in Ann Arbor ...
  13. Oklahoma Sooners (0-1/ 30-10) - not how Bob Stoops and the Sooners wanted to get started ...
  14. Ole Miss Rebels (0-1/ 27-13) - the Rebels came very close vs. Seminoles ...
  15. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0/ 29-11) - new era begins with a solid win over UNC to kick it off ...
  16. Baylor Bears (1-0/ 33-7) - transition year will likely have ups and downs ...
  17. Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-0/ 28-12) - single QB system planned for 2016 ...
  18. Oregon Ducks (1-0/ 34-8) - can they find a way back to the Top 10?
  19. LSU Tigers (0-1/ 27-12) - not a good start for Les Miles and his staff in Lambeau ...
  20. Tennessee Volunteers (1-0/ 22-17) - survived a home scare in OT ...
  21. Louisville Cardinals (1-0/ 30-10) - we shall see how the Cardinals do in 2016 ...
  22. North Carolina Tar Heels (0-1/ 24-17) - near win vs. Bulldogs in season opener ...
  23. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-1/ 27-13) - fall in OT in Austin, as streak over Longhorns end ...
  24. Texas A&M Aggies (1-0/ 26-14) - nice win over Bruins to kickoff 2016 ... 
  25. Florida Gators (1-0/ 22-17) - a 24-7 win over UMass is a little underwhelming ...
  26. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0) - the Cornhuskers open with a win over Fresno State, after a bowl win over UCLA ... 
  27. San Diego State Aztecs (1-0/ 27-14) - the Aztics had a strong season in 2015, so can they repeat?
  28. UCLA Bruins (0-1/ 28-12) - the Bruins fall in OT in Texas against the Aggies, so they have now lost three straight, dating back to end of 2015 regular season ...
  29. Boise State Broncos (1-0) - they used to be known as the #1 non-BCS program, but since the CFP, the Broncos haven't carried the new banner as top Group of 5 school ...
  30. Texas Longhorns (1-0/ 20-19) - the 50-47 win over preseason # 9 Notre Dame in 2 OT boosts the Longhorns record over the last 3+ years to one game over .500. Charlie Strong was 6-7 in 2014, then 5-7 in 2015, so he is off to a great start in 2016, but the Longhorns need to show consistency, after all, they did beat rival Oklahoma 24-17 in 2015, but lost games against Cal, @ ISU in the last 12 months ...
On par Game of the Week: Western Michigan 22, Northwestern 21 - looking at the preseason composite rankings, this season opener was between the #43 and #44 programs in College Football, entering 2016 ... it went right down to the wire, as the Wildcats fumbled, turned the ball over at the goal line of the Broncos to close out the game!

Overrated for the Top 25: Preseason #14 USC (8-6 in 2015), simply a blue blood name pick, who ranked #34 in winning percentage, over the prior three seasons in College Football, entering coach Clay Helton's first full season at the helm ...

Next Group of 5 school: Western Kentucky (1-0/ 29-11), ended the 2015 season ranked #24 in the AP poll, followed by San Diego State (1-0/ 27-14).

Best near miss against a Power 5: Appalachian State (0-1/ 18-8), who nearly upset Tennessee, falling 20-13 in overtime in Knoxville on Thursday night.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Iowa 45, Miami-OH 21, as Hawkeyes and Redhawks kickoff the 2016 season at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday

The Big Ten (Iowa) and the MAC (Miami-OH) both went back
to work as they kicked off the 2016 College Football season
in Kinnick Stadium, as the Hawkeyes win 45-21 over the Redhawks.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In its season opener, the Miami University football team impressed on offense, outgaining the 18th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes with 424 yards in a 45-21 loss Saturday afternoon at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa built an early lead, with 21 points in the first quarter over Miami-OH. Iowa was physical, as Redhawks coach Chuck Martin expected heading into the season opener.
Miami-OH (0-1) held possession for over 36 minutes and gained 25 first downs, but the Iowa (1-0) scored three touchdowns off of Miami turnovers and converted on all six red zone opportunities.
"It was a close game, should have been closer," said Miami-OH head coach Chuck Martin. "Without the dang turnovers, it's a really close game. We fought through more than we wanted to, but we did well."
Miami-OH sophomore quarterback Billy Bahl was strong in his 2016 debut, going 19-of-29 with 266 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to sophomore wide receiver James Gardner. Both Gardner and senior wide receiver Rokeem Williams pulled in six catches, with Williams racking up 113 yards. Five Miami rushers combined to post 158 yards on the ground, led by sophomore Maurice Thomas with 60 yards on nine carries.
"We ran the ball legitimately," said Martin. "Legitimate run plays. And passing, we moved the ball very efficiently, obviously except fumbling the ball three times. They know what they are doing and they did."

After Miami-OH punted on its opening possession, the Hawkeyes used a couple of major plays to power an 80-yard drive, culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run that put them up 7-0 with 9:07 remaining in the first quarter.

Iowa junior MLB Josey Jewell was disqualified in the first quarter after being flagged for targeting on a personal foul on the first change of possession of the game. It brought back an explosive punt return by senior Desmond King. Miami-OH coach Martin shared the Redhawks game planned to run offense away from both Iowa cornerback King in the passing game and Iowa senior DT Jaleel Johnson in the running game.
Photo published for Iowa 45, Miami (OH) 21: Hawkeyes Run Over RedHawks
Iowa junior RB 25 Akrum Wadley lead the Iowa ground game with 121 yards,
including two of the Hawkeyes five rushing TDs to open the season. He also
had a critical fumble recovery in the 1st half to avoid a turnover in Iowa territory.

On its next outing, a fumble by Thomas quickly led to another Iowa touchdown run that extended its lead to 14-0 at the 7:14 mark. Bahl then found Williams for a 67-yard completion that put Miami-OH into the red zone, but the momentum was short-lived as Bahl fumbled as he was being sacked.
No. 15/17 Iowa Wins Season-Opener
Iowa capitalized on a Miami-OH, with a 2 play drive, finished with a 43 yard
run by senior RB 29 LeShun Daniels, Jr. After the turnover, Iowa took advantage with
a nice flea flicker from senior QB C.J. Beathard to sophomore WR Jerminic Smith.

Once again, Iowa capitalized on the turnover with a 38-yard pass, followed by a 43-yard run that made the score, 21-0, with 5:41 left in the opening period.
"We're pleased to get the win," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. "They're hard to come by, so I am happy about that.  We also appreciate the great crowd, they were in it right from the get-goWe enjoyed that."
Miami-OH finally got on the scoreboard with a nearly seven-minute, 12-play drive, finished off by a 3-yard touchdown by sophomore running back Alonzo Smith. The drive was highlighted by three clutch third down conversions for the Redhawk offense.
Following punts by both teams, Iowa once again reached the red zone with a 36-yard pass. On the following play, Iowa senior wide receiver Riley McCarron appeared to fumble the ball into the end zone for a touchback, but the call was reversed following an official review. The Hawkeyes took advantage of the second opportunity, scoring on a 5-yard run to go up 28-7 with 7:15 left in the half.
"The turnover take away margin was good and I liked the way the offense capitalized on the takeaways, that's a positive," said Ferentz. "Like any game, you have things you're not quite pleased with.  There are some things we have to work on.
The Redhawks embarked on a 9-play, 39-yard drive, but came up empty after freshman kicker Samuel Sloman missed a 53-yard field goal. The half came to a close with an Iowa punt and a Miami run play as time expired.
Iowa began the second half with another long scoring drive, capped off by a 12-yard touchdown pass on fourth down that extended its lead to 35-7 at the 11:37 mark.
Miami-OH sophomore QB 5 Billy Bahl didn't always enjoy the physical
nature of the Iowa Hawkeyes, with Iowa senior DT 67 Jaleel Johnson,
who Redhawks coach Chuck Martin indicated they game planned against.
Bahl threw 2 touchdown passes against Iowa, with 266 yards passing
and a 67 yard explosive gain. He was also sacked 3 times for minus 19 yards.

Miami-OH responded with its most impressive possession of the game, a 13-play, 75-yard sequence that took nearly seven minutes off the clock. A 3-yard run by Smith on fourth down kept the drive alive, leading to an outstanding 29-yard touchdown pass from Bahl to Gardner. The catch was the first scoring play of his career and made the score, 35-14, with 4:41 to play in the third quarter.
Gardner's terrific day continued into the fourth quarter as Bahl found him in the front of the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown, narrowing the deficit to 35-21 with 9:43 remaining in the game.
On Iowa's next possession, the Hawkeyes reached the Miami-OH 2-yard line, but the Redhawk defense was able to hold them to a 22-yard field goal, extending the score to 38-21 with 6:04 left to play.
Miami held the ball for three plays, before Bahl's second sack-fumble of the game gave Iowa the ball deep in Redhawk territory. The Hawkeyes proceeded to close out scoring for the day with a 5-yard run at the 3:08 mark. The Redhawks' final drive lasted six plays and over three minutes, but eventually stalled out at the Iowa 21-yard line.
"(It was an) overall awesome experience for our guys here in Iowa," said Martin. "It's just a great place to play and I'm very appreciative. I'd love to come back here."

Ten true freshmen played for Iowa today – LB Amani Jones, S Amani Hooker, CB Manny Rugamba, OLB Kristian Welch, PK Keith Duncan, WR Devonte Young, QB Nathan Stanley, RB Tokes Akinribade, TE Noah Fant, DT Cedrick Lattimore. Iowa lost 21 letter-winners from the 2015 Big Ten West division team that finished 12-2.

Iowa does return experience in 2016. Sophomores DE Matt Nelson and FS Brandon Snyder made their first career starts. Sophomore C James Daniels made his third career start today, his first at center.    

"Our run defense was not what it needs to be today. I want to give Miami credit, too," Ferentz said. "They're an improved football team based on the film we saw and they worked hard."
Miami-OH will open its home season on Saturday, Sept. 10 as it faces Eastern Illinois (0-1) at 2:30 p.m. at Yager Stadium. While the Iowa Hawkeyes, host Iowa State (0-1) for the Cy-Hawk Game, with a 6:30 p.m. kickoff at Kinnick Stadium.

Uncharted territory: Iowa Football and the Big Ten; 3 more to play in Week 1 of College Football

Tough way to begin 2016 for LSU and four other SEC schools ...
Cedar Rapids, IA -- Week 1 doesn't define a season. Look at the past two years in the B1G & beyond ...

Good example: Stanford Cardinal in 2015, after an ugly 16-6 loss at Northwestern to kickoff the 2015 season. By the way, the Cardinal played 0-12 UCF in Week 2 at home. They won 31-7. The following week, @ #6 USC, who finished 7-6 and no reason they are at Top 25 program right now or then ...

Preseason Polls are meaningless. Examples ...

Should we write off OU, LSU or Northwestern right now?

Last year, Oklahoma lost to Texas in the Red River Shoutout and still made Final 4 in CFP. 

They call Houston, a winner by upset, but Houston ended #8 last year. 
Why so low to open 2016?
This picture was used in discussing the OU/Houston game on Twitter.
Is a battle between #5 vs. #8 a big upset, if #8 wins the game?
Was Stanford's win over Iowa an upset in the Rose Bowl, after all, when you compare the common opponent in 2015?

Wins and losses matter, but teams for the CFP will be judged on the full season, especially the conference title, which is important, so hard to see two from same division or same conference, if not in a title game?

Look who reached his 64th win over ranked opponents in College
Football, the old head coach at Michigan State. By the way,
Steve Spurrier was honored at Florida, with the field name
on Saturday night, as Gators beat UMass 24-7.
In 2014, eventual #1 Ohio State lost at home to VA Tech in Week 2.

Well, the Big Ten finished the first week of the 2016 College Football with a 12-2 record, just like Iowa during the 2015 season.

There was a blowout by a Pac 12 team on the West Coast and a Michigan team beat the B1G at the end of the game in the final minute. Sound familiar ...

Wow, are you excited about the 2016 College Football season? 

There are THREE FBS games left this Labor Day weekend.

Wait, ESPN keeps talking about TWO games. 

Of course, the Power 5 is what matters, more importantly teams not named ODU or even Iowa.

One talking head said Desmond King won the first major trophy for Iowa, since the 1950s. Just like Iowa does not face a winning program on the road in 2016. ESPN is dead wrong on both accounts, are they not?

How far can the Hawkeyes fly in 2016, with 15 starters returning
and now a mix of 10 new true freshmen playing snaps this season?
By the way, there are more than TWO more Games over the weekend. Yes, Phil Steele had the game playing on Saturday too, but look at your LSU TV schedule for what games are really on folks!

ODU plays today, as well as the showdown in Austin. The final game will kickoff from Orlando on Labor Day in primetime on ABC.

- a battle for bragging rights in VA
- a battle for respect in Texas
- a battle between ACC-SEC bragging rights 

Not sure they have the same interest, since no B1G, except, Notre Dame and Florida State are involved. Oh, odu ...

How about Clemson over Auburn, Wisconsin over LSU, South Alabama over Mississippi State, West Virginia over Missouri, not as happy to hear Southern Miss rallied to beat Kentucky as the SEC witnesses five programs falling in Week 1?

By the way, it is Year 6 of the new era of Big Ten Football or is it Year 3, since the CFP is now here and we scrapped the Leaders and Legends?

Iowa is coming off 12-0. The two game losing streak, it was a three game losing streak last year at this time, Iowa was coming off and the Cy-Hawk Game is next.

Of course, this is the 1981 season all over again for Iowa, after all ...
  • The world or at least many in the media have it for the B1G 2 again ...
  • It is at Defcon 5, after OSU opened with a 77-10 win over Urban Meyer's former program ...
  • For the first time, since 1975, Michigan beat a program by 60 or more points ...
  • Who is Iowa - they don't play OSU or MSU this year?
  • PSU was 7-6 last year ...
  • Can we dream of 1981 of 1985 when Iowa vs. Michigan is played?
  • Iowa ends the season at Kinnick with Nebraska, since we both are in the B1G now, but when was the last time Iowa won over Nebraska at Kinnick (1981) ...
Iowa opened the 2016 season playing ten true freshmen, clearly uncharted territory for the Hawkeyes? In 2007, 11 true freshmen played through out the season, I read recently.

One thing we don't like to see about Iowa defense ... 

A team not at full strength, but remember DE Drew Ott in 2015. Remember, MLB Josey Jewell is averaging 1 tackle right now per game. An assist at that ...

The Iowa Hawkeyes are lead by senior QB 16 C.J. Beathard,
who is now 14-2 as a starting QB. Next up: vs. Iowa State.
At Iowa, C.J Beathard is our QB. Though, we may see more of Tyler Wiegers in 2016?

Look at Alabama's first week at QB, in the win over USC. They did win right?

After all, it is a long season and don't forget about VA Tech, Arizona and Ole Miss [2]; Northwestern,Texas and Nebraska in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

By the way, no undefeated team has won the CFP, in the first two years.

Florida State and Clemson each went 13-1 at end, and didn't make title game, after undefeated regular seasons.

This is Year 3 of the CFP and the new B1G and it will be a roller coaster of a season, just like many B1G games.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are 27-2, since the CFP kicked off.
1. Ohio State (1-0) - the team to beat in 2016? 

OU, the other B1G East opponents, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Nebraska ...

But, not for Iowa in the regular season. They will see others, such as Iowa State this week.

Neither for Alabama, who appear headed to play more spread offense, than any previous Nick Sabin team, ever. The OC creation of Lane Kiffin, oh my?

Photo published for Week 1 Iowa Postgame: RB Akrum Wadley
Iowa junior RB 25 Akrum Wadley, lead the Hawkeyes' ground
attack in the 45-21 win over Miami-OH in the season opener.
He also recovered a key fumble early in the game, as Iowa
allowed a free shot on QB C.J. Beathard. Iowa recovered
three fumbles to fuel the opening win of the 2016 season.
2. Iowa (1-0) - are they worthy, what would a game vs. OR ST, WMU, LSU or Fresno St have been like on Saturday? 

This is Year 5 of Phil Parker and Greg Davis, how special can 2016 be w/ new KF and the new Hawkeye team for this year?

The Spartans enjoy a bye week in Week 2, as they hit the road
@ Notre Dame, as senior QB 7 Tyler O'Connor, looks to build
on his 1-0 record on the road, as a starter, after leading MSU
to a 17-14 win to help clinch the B1G West division title.
3. Michigan State (1-0) - the Badgers open the B1G season in East Lansing on 9/24. 

The #12 Spartans have a bye week ahead of road trip against Notre Dame on 9/17.

4. Wisconsin (1-0) - yes, they just beat LSU and a won bowl game over USC last year. Lost last year to Alabama 35-7 to Iowa 10-6 and Northwestern 13-7. 

The Badgers win on defense and Paul Chryst is in Year 2 ...

The 2016 Michigan Wolverines kicked off the season, with the
first of five home games, including a 63-3 win over Hawaii'.
Sleep deprived Wolverines slaughter jet lagged Rainbow Warriors!
5. Michigan (1-0) - the Wolvernies face 1-0 UCF next. The Knights have given up less points than the Wolvernes, who open w/ 5 straight games in Ann Arbor for 2016.

Western Michigan defeated a Big Ten team for the first time, since
the 2007 win @ Iowa 28-19 to close out the Hawkeyes' regular
season. It is a game of inches, as the Wildcats may have learned?
6. Northwestern (0-1) - yes, they lost to WMU 22-21 on Saturday. In the loss, junior running back Justin Jackson scored all three touchdowns for the Wildcats, but a costly fumble at the goal line by sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson, ended the bid for a win.

The Wildcats beat Stanford in home opener last year and what did that say, it is a long season? One game doesn't define you, as a team?

The Nebraska paid tribute to the passing of punter Sam Foltz
during the season opener, as they only sent ten men onto the
field, ahead of the first punt attempt of the 2016 season. After
the delay of game penalty, Nebraska went on to defeat Fresno
State in the game, 43-10, with a 2nd half shutout.
7. Nebraska (1-0) - Mike Riley just won his 100th game as a College head coach. KF has 128 wins now at Iowa?

They have 1-0 Wyoming, who defeated NIU 40-34 in OT.

We all remember the Huskies out of the MAC? 

Tracy Claeys surprised the BTN
crew, when he went for 2 with a
seven point lead late in the 4Q.
8. Minnesota (1-0) - they beat Oregon State ugly in opener w/ three DQs or was it 2) 

B1G @ Penn State on 10/1 for B1G opener. They don't play anyone strong in OCC, except Gary Anderson's Beavers.

Photo published for Penn State to honor Paterno 50 years after debut
Penn State University announced recently they will honor the
50th anniversary of the hiring of Joe Paterno, as head football
coach, during the 9/17 game against Temple.

9. PSU (1-0) - the Nittany Lions are @ Pitt this Saturday, then host Temple. It is nice to see Penn State resuming with the Panthers in non-conference play.

Will they win or free fall? 

Open B1G @ Michigan, as well on 9/24.

The Hoosiers return 13 starters from a 6-7 team that
lost 44-41 in OT to Duke in the Pinstripe Bowl.
RG Dan Feeney, LB Clyde Newton, LB Marcus
Oliver and WR Ricky Jones are all back in 2016
10. Indiana (1-0) - Ball State is next, after road win @ FIU. The Hooisers are coming off bowl game, as they begin Kevin Wilson's sixth season. He was OC I believe in 1999, when Northwestern last lost to a MAC program in season opener?

Two B1G games are ahead to wrap up non-conference
play and September for the new Fighting Illini, as
the Lovie Smith era has come to Champaign,
after 20 years working the sidelines of the NFL.
11. Illinois (1-0) - host UNC, off loss to UGA in Atlanta, this Saturday in Champaign ...make or break game for former #23 Tar Heels? Western Michigan (1-0) also plays Illinois to round off non-conference play in 2016.

Can the Lovie Smith era, like the 1979 Iowa Hawkeyes under J. Hayden Fry, with a strong game(s) or even better with a big win(s)?

The Boilermakers opened 2016 with a new offensive and
defensive coordinator, as coach Darrell Hazell enters a critical
stage in 2016, his fourth season at the helm.
12. Purdue (1-0) - next up are the Cincinnati Bearcats from the AAC for Boilermakers. The Boilermakers took care of business against Eastern Kentucky and move on to the next test, with three non-conference games at home, including a bye week.

First year head coach D.J. Durkin celebrate his first career win
over a FCS program 

13. Maryland (1-0) - travel to play @FIU on Friday, so they face a Panthers program looking to get to 1-1 vs. B1G East.

Photo published for Chris Ash era at Rutgers begins with a resounding thud
The Chris Ash era has begun, as #16 Washington rolls 48-13
over the Scarlet Knights to kickoff the 2016 season. The next
game against 0-1 Howard, who were 1-10 last season may
not provide much feedback, in preparation for a B1G season.
14. Rutgers (0-1) - new head coach Chris Ash has work ahead before B1G opener on 9/24 w/ native state, Iowa.  Ironically, the Scarlet Knights play Howard, who were at Maryland for the season opening loss 52-13, to kickoff Week 2.

That's football ...

Image result for College Football Playoff 2017

Sunday, September 4th 

  • Notre Dame at Texas 6:30 pm on ABC / espn3 - the Longhorns have won 16 straight home openers by an average of 37 points, wow! Who do they actually play in home openers? Rice was opponent last year, after the 38-3 loss @ Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are 9-2 all-time in this series, winning five straight now. This game will likely be close?
  • Hampton at Old Dominion 2:30 pm on $CUSA Video - There hasn't been much talk about this one. Phil Steele magazine had this one for the 3rd (Saturday), but C-USA pulled a nice win in the SEC on Saturday. ODU's next opponent is @ Appalachian State on Saturday, who took Tennessee down to the wire, losing in OT, after 17 straight points were given up by Mountaineers. ODU does play @ North Carolina State in Week 3, as they kickoff the 2016 season today against the Pirates, who were 6-5 at the FCS level in 2015 ...

Monday, September 5th 

  • Florida State vs. Ole Miss (Orlando) 7:00 pm on ESPN - a loss to Ole Miss in back to back season didn't cost the Razorbacks in either 2014 or 2015, on the road to the College Football Playoff ...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

GameDay Iowa: season opener vs. Miami-OH ... can the Hawkeyes win the Big Ten in 2016?

Cedar Rapids, IA -- Just down the road, the 2016 Iowa Football season will kickoff in Iowa City on Saturday, as the #18 Iowa Hawkeyes (12-2 in 2015) open against the Miami-OH Redhawks (3-9 in 2015) in historic Kinnick Stadium. It is the first meeting between each program, since the 2003 season.

In the 2002 season, the Iowa Hawkeyes went 8-0 for the first time in school history in the Big Ten. The Hawkeyes followed up that successful season, with a home opener against the Redhawks.

Game Notes: Iowa vs. Miami, Ohio
Iowa is 3-0 in the series against Miami-OH, playing three
straight games from 2001-03, including a 21-3 win
against the Redhawks, lead by QB Ben Roethlisberger.
Last season, the Hawkeyes repeated with a 8-0 Big Ten regular season and upped the performance with a 12-0 regular season for the first time in program history. Again, the Hawkeyes follow up a very successful season, with a home opener against the Redhawks.

In the 2003 game, Miami-OH was lead by a strong senior QB named Ben Roethlisberger, who came up short in the college game in Iowa City. But, Roethlisberger has carried on a highly successful NFL career wearing the Black & Gold of the Pittsburgh Steelers, since 2004.

When J. Hayden Fry arrived in Iowa City in 1979 as head coach of Iowa, he mirrored the Hawkeyes' uniform around the successful Black & Gold of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1981, Fry hired a young offensive line coach out of Pittsburgh, in Kirk Ferentz. Today, Kirk Ferentz will enter his 18th season, as head football coach at Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 127-87, with a 76-61 conference record, including two Big Ten titles and five Top 10 finishes in the polls, during those 17 seasons.

Iowa returns all-American senior CB 14 Desmond King in 2016. King is the
first Jim Thorpe to return for his senior season, in the history of the trophy.
One of the key reasons King returned in 2016, rather than head to the NFL
was the interest in obtaining his family's first college degree. 
The Hawkeyes are seeking their first Big Ten title, since 2004, under Ferentz. They will be lead by a strong arm, senior QB this season, whose mobility, brings back memories of a Roethlisberger. Iowa QB C.J. Beathard, who has lead Iowa to a 13-2 record, as the Hawkeyes starter, returns to lead the Hawkeyes offense in 2016.

In the 2015 Big Ten Championship Game, on 3rd and goal, MSU freshman RB
3 L.J. Scott crossed the goal line to lead the Spartans to a 16-13 win over Iowa.
The Hawkeyes fell short in a 16-13 loss to Michigan State, as the Spartans won on the final snaps of the Big Ten Championship Game. The Hawkeyes are the strong favorite to win the West Division of the Big Ten in 2016. Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State are the favorites in the East Division. Don't be surprised, if a rematch of 2015 happens again in Indianapolis, in one of the best title games in the conference, since the Big Ten Championship Game debuted in 2011.

Iowa senior QB 16 C.J. Beathard lead Iowa to 13 straight wins,
as a starter. The Hawekeys are coming off back to back losses
to Michigan State and Stanford to close  out the 2015 season.
He sheds the red jersey in practice today to lead the 2016
Hawkeyes into Kinnick in the season opener against Miami-OH,
At quarterback, Iowa is lead by Beathard, with 17 TD passes and six rushing TDs. In relief, sophomore Tyler Wiegers returns, though true freshman Nathan Stanley may be in the picture at quarterback, as both are listed in the two deep heading into season opener against Miami-OH. The Redhawks starter is sophomore Billy Bahl, who threw seven TD passes, but 13 interceptions, in his first season in the lineup.

Iowa senior RB 29 LeShun Daniels leads a three letter-winner
group at the position, after Jordan Canzeri graduated. The
question on Daniels has always been durability, but when
healthy, he ran for a 195 yards in the 40-35 win over Minnesota.
At running back, the Hawkeyes are lead by senior LeShun Daniels, who has played off and one over the past three seasons as a Hawkeyes. He has never made it through an entire season though, missing games, due to the injury. Two juniors also return in Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell, who all played in the Big Ten Championship Game. One newcomer to keep an eye at RB is true freshman Toks Akinribade. Iowa looks to plug and play at RB again in 2016. Of course, fullback and the offensive line, always are important in Iowa's running game. Iowa welcomes two new fullbacks, as junior Drake Kulick and redshirt freshman Brady Ross have to fill the big hole. Sophomore Alonzo Smith returns as the Redhawks key RB in 2016.

Iowa senior WR 89 Matt VandeBerg was announced as the 
fourth game captain for the Hawkeyes heading into 2016.
VandeBerg signed as a greyshirt only to arrive early, make
and contribute as a true freshman, when he arrived at campus
At wide receiver, the Hawkeyes return Beathard's favorite target in senior Matt VandeBerg, who caught 65 passes and scored four touchdowns last season. The only other returning wide receivers that combined for 11 pass receptions are sophomore Jerminic Smith, who had two key starts as a true freshman last year, and senior Riley McCarron, who caught a key touchdown pass in the 31-17 win at Iowa State last year. Sophomore Jay Scheel has not been at full strength over his first two seasons on campus, but Scheel projects as a likely starter in Iowa's wide receiver unit. Junior Jonathan Parker, a converted running back in 2015, opens the season on the injured list. True freshman Devonte Young is likely to contribute in 2016. Sophomores Adrian Falconer and Ronald Nash likely will provide depth for Iowa. The Redhawks top WR is senior Rokeem Williams, who lead the unit with 33 catches in 2015.

Iowa senior TE 46 George Kittle lead Iowa receivers with 6 TDs
on 20 receptions in 2015. Kittle also made the cover of Sports
Illustrated in Iowa first perfect season at 12-0, in the regular season.
Iowa and Clemson were the only two undefeated teams in 2015,
during the regular season.

At tight end, the Hawkeyes are traditionally strong at the position, dating back to Ferentz' time with Fry in the 1980s. However, Iowa enters 2016 with depth concerns, as senior George Kittle and junior Peter Pekar return. Kittle and Pekar are both Hawkeye legacies, as two of nine Iowa players, who followed their fathers footsteps in wearing the Black & Gold. Junior Jon Wisnieski begins 2016 on the injured list. Redshirt freshmen Nate Vejvoda and Nate Wieting will be in the mix at TE. Iowa will likely play two true freshman at TE, with Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson. The Hawkeyes used double TEs in roughly 30 percent of the offensive plays in 2015. The Redhawks junior TE lead Miami-OH in TD receptions with five, on 21 receptions in 2015.

How good will Iowa be in 2016?

Photo published for Cole Croston on the Offensive Line
Iowa enters 2016 with one senior in the starting offensive line.
The Hawkeyes have more experience heading into 2016, with
senior LT 64 Cole Croston, one of the nine legacy players.

It generally starts in the offensive and defensive lines at Iowa. When Fry arrived, the Hawkeyes broke out in 1981, with Kirk Ferentz leading the O-Line and Dan McCarney leading the D-Line.

Former Iowa football player and assistant coach Dan McCarney
is today's honorary captain, as Iowa kicks off 2016 season against
Miami-OH. McCarney and Kirk Ferentz coached the
defensive and offensive lines, under Hayden Fry in the early
to mid-1980s at Iowa.
Today's honorary captain for today's season opener with Miami-OH, Iowa welcomes back former Iowa offensive guard, team captain, former GA and assistant defensive line coach, Dan McCarney to Iowa City. McCarney is a hometown boy, who is back for today's game to serve as Iowa's honorary captain.

Iowa sophomore 78 James Daniels will move to center in 2016,
while his senior brother, LeShun, returns to lead the Iowa RBs.
The Iowa offensive line may be one of the better in the Big Ten and nation, if chemistry falls into place. Iowa offensive coach Brian Ferentz wasn't ready to rank Iowa high, during August camp, but some, such as ESPN have given Iowa props heading into 2016. The most experienced returning starter is junior Sean Welsh, who is entering his third season, as a starter. Welsh will likely anchor the line at right guard. Senior left tackle Cole Croston emerged as a starter during the 2015 season, after another member went down. Croston showed great athleticism in the Big Ten Championship Game falling on a loose football after a Beathard was sacked by MSU's Shilque Calhoun. Junior Boone Myers moves inside to left guard in 2016, while junior right tackle Ike Boettger returns to the position, after an injury limited him to eight games. Iowa's new starting center will be sophomore James Daniels, brother of starting RB LeShun Daniels, who played in all 14 games as a true freshman in 2015. Daniels replaces third team all-American center Austin Blythe as anchor of the line. The Redhawks return ten offensive starters, including all but one starter in the offensive line, as head coach Chuck Martin enters his third season leading Miami-OH.

As Iowa opens the 2016 season, a true freshman will be the
starting new placekicker. Iowa will also have a new punter
and kickoff specialist in 2016 ...
Like the 2010 season, when Mike Meyer arrived, Iowa will open with a true freshman at placekicker. North Carolina former prep Keith Duncan will begin the 2016 season at placekicker, handling Iowa's field goals and extra points. Duncan beat out sophomores Miquel Recinos and Mick Ellis in August camp. Duncan is one the most highlighted placekickers in North Carolina high school history. Central Michigan graduate transfer Ron Coluzzi will handle kickoffs and punting for Iowa heading into 2016. Iowa returns junior long snapper Tyler Kluver. Coluzzi will be Iowa's new holder, after beating out redshirt freshman Colten Rastetter in August camp, after arriving in June in Iowa City. The Redhawks returns sophomore placekicker Nick Dowd, while sophomore Justin Martin is the new punter for 2016.

Iowa senior RS 14 Desmond King looks to be a spark on
returns again in 2016. King handled both kick and punt
returns in Iowa's successful 2015 season.
On defense and in special teams, Iowa returns senior all-American cornerback and return specialist Desmond King for the 2016 season. Iowa returns eight starters on the defensive side. While Iowa was vastly improved on defense in 2015, especially in turnover margin, the Hawkeyes hope to improve the run defense and scoring defense coming off a Big Ten West division title.

Photo published for Previously unnoticed Iowa DTs Johnson, Bazata getting plenty of attention now
Iowa returns both starters at defensive tackle for 2016, with
junior 99 Nathan Bazata and senior 67 Jaleel Johnson.
It begins in taking away the run for Iowa. Only two seniors are in the defensive line rotation for Iowa. The Hawkeyes have experience in the defensive line and the top three returnees inside are all upperclassmen. Junior Nathan Bazata started all 14 games in 2015, with senior running make Jaleel Johnson and #1 reserve senior Faith Ekakitie. The one newcomer inside may be true freshman Cedrick Lattimore, who arrived this summer at 260 pounds, but is reported to be up to 285 pounds now, under Iowa strength and conditional Chris Doyle, one of the highest paid S&C coordinators in the business.

Miami-OH returns two of four starters in the defensive line in 2016. Senior DE J.T. Jones is back, along with junior DT Ikeem Allen.

Photo published for Iowa's Parker Hesse's 'lucky' play leads to Big Ten honor
Iowa returns starting sophomore DE 40 Parker Hesse, who
celebrated a huge pick 6 last year, in Iowa's 28-20 win
@ Nebraska. Hesse will be a key part on Iowa's edge and
in Iowa attempt to get back into the Big Ten Championship Game.
One are that Iowa needs to improve on the defensive line is a pass rush on the edge. Iowa lost two experience defensive ends in 2015, with Nate Meier and Drew Ott's departure. Ott was not given a fifth season, after both the Big Ten and NCAA turned down his appeals. Ott missed much of the 2015 season, due to injuries. Meier lead Iowa with seven sacks and nine quarterback hurries. Ott had five starters, when he went down in the Illinois game, with an ACL, after being injured much of the 2015 season. Iowa has only underclassmen on the edge. Sophomore Parker Hesse emerged in 2015, after Ott's injury. On the other side, redshirt freshman Anthony Nelson and sophomore Matt Nelson, no relation, will be the players replacing the one missing starter in the defensive line. True freshman Brady Reiff and sophomore Sam Brincks provide depth.

Iowa junior MLB Josey Jewell is the anchor of the Hawkeyes
defense. Jewell will serve as a captain, along with senior
C.J. Beathard, Matt VandeBerg and Desmond King.
One of the key elements of Iowa improvement from 7-6 in 2014 to a 12-0 regular season in 2015 was the play at linebacker. Iowa's linebacker coach has departed for Boston College (Jim Reid is now BC's new defensive coordinator). Iowa has elevated Seth Wallace into the LB coach role and he will have three experience linebackers to work with, along with a young crop of players. Junior middle linebacker Josey Jewell returns as Iowa's leading tackler in 2015. Iowa saw fifth year senior Cole Fisher emerge at WILL in 2015. He is replaced by junior Bo Bower, who was the former starter in 2014 at OLB. Junior Ben Neimann returns at his OLB position and will be backed by junior Kevin Ward, who has been a special teams player and reserve safety. Sophomores Jack Hockaday and Aaron Mends provide depth. Two true freshmen Amani Jones and Kristian Welsch, will play special team in 2016. Jones has elevated ahead of Mends at WILL.

Photo published for Ben Niemann, the secret ingredient to Iowa's 2016 defense
Iowa junior OLB 44 Ben Neimann came to Iowa as a former
high school WR/S. He played as a true freshman on special
teams in 2014, the earned the OLB position in 2015.
Miami-OH return two of three starters at linebacker in 2016, though one may come off the bench. Coach Martin did mention the Redhawks do have some players out or dinged heading into the opner with Iowa.

Iowa returns senior CBs 14 Desmond King and 13 Greg Mabin
for the 2016 season. The secondary unit is the strongest
unit for the Hawkeyes in many peoples eyes ...
Iowa returns three of four starters in the secondary, and are excited about some of the new reserves that will assist with special teams and Iowa's nickle and dime packages, when Iowa pulls out the Raider package with the defensive line.

Photo published for Iowa CB Greg Mabin set to emerge playing opposite Desmond King
Iowa senior CB 13 Greg Mabin arrived as an athlete out of FL,
when he arrived. Over the past two seasons, he has developed
into a strong running mate with Desmond King in the Iowa secondary.
At cornerback for Iowa, the Hawkeyes return senior all-American and Jim Thorpe award winner Desmond King, along with running mate, senior Greg Mabin, who have worked together for two seasons, at the position. Sophomore Joshua Jackson is on the injury list, so redshirt freshman Michael Olejemudia and true freshman Manny Rugamba are likely going to be involved on special teams and in the secondary in 2016.

Miami-OH returns two more starters in the secondary for 2016. Junior CB Bret Birdsall and senior FS Buchi Okafor are back for the Redhawks.

Photo published for Taylor welcomes younger brother to the Hawkeyes
Iowa's leading safety, is junior SS 19 Miles Taylor, who became
a starter in the secondary in 2015.
At safety for Iowa, the Hawkeyes see FS Jordan Lomax depart, but junior SS Miles Taylor returns for 2016, after becoming a full-time starter in 2015, after a year on special teams as a true freshman, along with OLB Niemann in 2014. The new starter at FS is sophomore Brandon Snyder, who played special teams last year. Senior Anthony Gair is listed as second string SS, but he can play either position and has two career starts. Sophomore Jake Grevase is also in the two deep at FS. A special team contributor in 2016 is expected to be true freshman Armani Hooker.

True freshman Armani Hooker is one of 10-12 newcomers that
are likely to play during the 2016 season for Iowa.
Iowa is really excited about the newcomer class of 2016. Kirk Ferentz has said up to 10-12 true freshmen may play in 2016. The 2010 Iowa Hawkeyes saw nine players play, including a true freshman at PK. Last year, only four true freshman played.

Photo published for Rose Bowl revival: Expert says Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is heading toward signing his best recruit...
Iowa Kirk Ferentz begins his 18th season today, as the Hawkeyes
open with Miami-OH. The MAC opponent has been down
lately in College Football, but Chuck Martin has the honor
of coaching in the cradle of college coaches.

Thoughts on the Season Opening Game against Miami-OH:

The Hawkeyes should win the season opener. We always know, on any given Saturday. The 2009 Iowa Hawkeyes struggled vs. the University of Northern Iowa. In 2007, Iowa faced a very good Northern Illinois team and pulled out a 18-17 win in Soldier Field. The Hawkeyes lost the season opener against NIU, a fellow MAC program to Miami, at Kinnick Stadium in 2013. Iowa has won two straight season openers, each against FCS programs. Miami-OH is 1-12 in road openers and has lost eight straight by an average of 32 points.
  • Iowa Hawkeyes 40
  • Miami-OH Redhawks 13
In 2015, Iowa defeated Northwestern by the same score. The Hawkeyes are a new team in 2016. Miami-OH is a new team, in coach Chuck Martin's third season. He wants to play the game, like Iowa, with a physical in the line of scrimmage. Iowa has more experience and the better track record and should prevail to kickoff the 2016 season ...