By Chris Hassel
No one is going to confuse this year’s Iowa team with the Orange Bowl winning team of 2009 — but this year’s trip to East Lansing looked an awful lot like the last trip three years ago. A down-to-the-wire defensive struggle, decided on the final play of the game, ending in a Hawkeye dogpile. The only difference was that the 2012 game took a big longer.
Iowa’s 19-16 double-overtime win moves takes Iowa from afterthought, to Big Ten contender. Even in a year the Big Ten is clearly as down as it’s ever been, no one thought Iowa would be competing for the title. With games against Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana, and Purdue, on the horizon…Iowa is in the driver’s seat in the Legends Division. At 2-0, the Hawks are tied for first with Michigan. The Hawks don’t play the Wolverines until November 17th (at Michigan). But Michigan has to play Ohio State at the end of the year. It’s still waaaaaaaay too early to think about booking a hotel room in Indianapolis — but a trip to the Big Ten Championship game isn’t too far-fetched, this season.
Wisconsin won the earliest division championship game of all time, Saturday. The Badgers smoked the Boilers at Purdue, nearly ensuring Wisky of playing for the Big Ten title.
It was all set up for Iowa State. A record crowd, a top ten opponent, and a national stage. ISU didn’t blow it, K-State just flat-out won it. The days of sneaking up on teams might be over for Paul Rhoads and the Cyclones. For the first time since I’ve been following football, ISU was playing a top ten team and people actually *thought the Cyclones would win. That’s saying something. The culture is changing. It’s just too bad Iowa State doesn’t have a special quarterback. Barnett gives ISU a better chance than Jantz, but he’s still not good enough to catapult ISU into the upper tier of the Big 12. When you look at the recent history in the Big 12, a great QB is what separates teams like ISU from greatness. Chase Daniel and Blaine Gabbert at Missouri. Todd Reesing at Kansas. And ISU is sick and tired of Collin Klein at K-State.
So TCU isn’t nearly as bad as Iowa State made them look. The Horned Frogs won at Baylor, 49-21!
Gene Chizik’s Auburn Tigers dropped to 0-4 in the SEC. Auburn lost at Mississippi, 41-20. With with Chizik’s unbeaten season with Cam Newton, “The Chiz” is just 15-13 in the SEC. That ain’t gonna cut it at Auburn. I think Chizik’s days as an SEC head coach are numbered.