Good write up and well thought out. Not much I can add to it (obviously).
spoiler alert: i linked this
Not sure how much you have kept up since not playing these guys for 2 years. Thought I would provide some background. I also added a section at the end for those who will be going to the game and staying in Iowa City. Be forewarned that it is homecoming so everything will be busy (yes, we are the homecoming patsy).
Don’t read into Iowa playing down with UNI and Ark St, this is a look ahead team that struggles somewhat with passing spread teams. UNI was before Iowa State who has made Ferentz look average to poor (mostly due to McCarney, possibly even kept them from the NC game in 2002) and Ark St is obviously before us. If there is a shred of hope, remember that we snapped a 22 game home winning streak during our last trip as an underdog and that Iowa is not as tough as the favorite in big games. You could worry about the PSU result, but Ferentz owns JoePa to nearly the extent that Lloyd did and I would take that game with a grain of salt. Not predicting a win here, but you can grasp at a few straws.
While some in Iowa have compared Stanzi to Brady (I almost fainted when I wrote this), I do see a good game manager who throws well on the run. Typical pro set routes, with a particular emphasis on going over the middle to RBs or TEs (really like the TE) with an occasional crossing route from the slot. This is a lousy match up for us. They seem to use RBs and TEs more than most teams in the passing game which is typically set up with the play action. However, Ricky also throws the Stanziball, typically 1-2 a game where you have no idea what he was doing so you get 3 TDs with 2 INTs for most of his games this year. The hope is that we get lucky with a few of those as they seem to come at random times. He seems to be a slow starter so grab an extra beer if he starts hot.
The Oline is big, as usual, no real news there. The return of Bulaga is not good for us as he is being projected as a first round pick and has had one game to work out his timing. Calloway is a very good compliment tackle with a strong interior anchored by Eubanks. I simply dislike the match up with our Dline unless we gamble like crazy. The TEs are much better with Moeaki playing due to his athleticism, but Reisner is pretty solid as well. We will be hating it if we can’t cover these guys coming off the line of scrimmage (I don’t have much confidence that we can due to our LB play, would like to be pleasantly surprised).
The WRs are decent, Johnson-Koulianos started the season on track to break a few all-time Iowa records and is the best receiving threat IMO. However, Marvin McNutt does not have a ton of catches yet, but scares the hell out of me since he is a converted QB that stands 6’4” and creates match up issues for our CBs. I really doubt we lose by getting hit deep with these guys with more of a death by converting on 2nd or 3rd and 10s, but watch me end up eating my words on the long ball.
RBs took a hit losing Hampton at the beginning of the year, but got a surprise with Robinson (smaller bowling ball) and Wegher (smaller slasher). Wegher seems to be more elusive with a fast start who would actually be pretty good on our team. Both guys can get lost behind the line and then pop out. Robinson may be the better receiver out of the backfield who will not go down with an arm tackle once he gets some steam. Neither guy has played before this year with Wegher being a true freshman. Look out if they give Brinson a try as he is a big power back, as he actually may be the most talented back they have. Fortunately, he has also been slow to pick up the offense which has limited his PT.
News flash- it will be a 4-3 or just look at the year before or the year before…. Norm Parker does not make substitutions for the most part with the exceptions of a few down and distance situations. I don’t know how, but he rolls the same guys regardless of the offensive style. However, they play very good assignment football and tackle well. Many Iowa fans agree that this is a reason for their success since it minimizes thinking by not relying on exotic schemes which helps the players play faster. On the flip side there is always concern when a spread offense comes to town since there is an assumption that the base defensive alignment will get exposed at some point. The unnatural ability of Chad Greenway to cover slot guys has made a permanent mark on Norm so he continues to roll the same way.
On the Dline, Clayborn and Binns on the ends will create headaches and rush the outside hard to funnel things to the middle. Clayborn is more athletic and simply a big, bad dude. The DTs are decent and big (one is aptly named Klug), but not spectacular. There is has not been the big drop off from losing last year’s starting DT tandem. The Dline likes to run twists to create confusion.
Angerer leads the LB group and is a tackling machine along with Edds who is also pretty solid. You may remember the recruitment of Jeremiha Hunter who we chased at one point, but did not go to the good guys. There are more athletic LB units, but this group seems to be constantly around the ball and I would hope we can spread them out to minimize their effectiveness. With all of them in the 230-245lb range they would not have the S. Brown type of speed, but seem to work through that for the most part.
In the secondary, Spievey is considered to be one of Ferentz’s best CBs he has had while at Iowa. Sash is a ball hawking safety who is simply around the ball a lot, by instinct or scheme I do not know. Both Greenwood and Prater are decent at safety and CB respectively. I think Greenwood gets the benefit of playing with Sash which gives him opportunities. Overall, a very (not to overuse the word) solid unit that plays together very well. They don’t seem to make many mistakes.
Yes Kinnick is loud and honestly I am not sure why considering the stadium design. I think the people are simply loud as Iowans don’t have professional teams and pour it all into the college. They will be (have been for a while) foaming at the mouth for the chance to see big, bad Michigan brought down. It will be statement game for sure as many (who may not admit it) chafe at being considered part of the “little 8” for so long. Don’t expect a Columbus-type welcome, but be ready for some chest thumping. I have heard my share “can’t wait to play you guys”. To be fair, I do wear Michigan gear to games, sing “hail” and have never been beat up so +1 for reasonable fans.
Don’t waste time in Coralville, go straight to the Pedestrian Mall down by campus. However if you are stuck there, the Wig and Pen has by far the hottest wait staff in town so there are worse things. The 30+ crowd will be at the Airliner and the <30 crowd everywhere else. You have 2 bars next to the ‘liner and will be on the parade route on Friday so expect a mob scene. If you just walk around a few square block radius and you will pretty much find everything else from a bar perspective. Just don’t rely on prompt taxi service if you are meeting people in any of these places. Also, if you are in the Ped Mall really late, treat yourself to a Gyro at one of the food stands. For other food needs
Inexpensive: Oasis- Mediterranean faster food. Get the whole pita sandwich with extra feta (close to campus)
Mid-priced: Bluebird Diner- Everything on the menu is really good. Looks like a diner, but actually has a real cook. The bonus of being there is that it is next to John’s Grocery which has a great assortment of beers and wine for later.
Higher priced: Linn Street Café- Terrific fine dining (by big city standards) with a great wine list. Would need reservations for this one.
Lastly, if you like chocolates and you see the store or them on a menu, get yourself some Bochner Chocolates. He is a UM grad and does some outstanding work. Not the cheapest, but damn good if you have a sweet tooth.
Good write up and well thought out. Not much I can add to it (obviously).
Great first-hand preview...which leads you to predict?
Honestly, I think they win by 10 based on the strength of their offensive and defensive lines in addition to having home field. With Molk, we have a much better chance.
However, my hope is that we can keep it close, have Iowa tighten up their play calling (Ferentz and O'Keefe can get Lloyd-ish) and give Tate a shot at the end.
I was afraid you were going to say that.
What's the setup for tailgating? Is it possible without a predetermined location?
And if I can't tailgate, am I reading this right that I should go down to the Ped Mall and find a place to eat and watch the early games, or should I stay in Coralville and hit the bars there?
Find a seat at a bar in the Ped Mall early. Again, it is HC so plan accordingly. Walking from the Ped Mall to the stadium is about 30 mins with the mass of people who will be doing the same thing. The problem with Coralville is bar density so you need to drive or walk your arse off if the place is too full or a lousy set up.
For a random tailgate, the Alumni Assoc should be having one in the parking lot at the stadium. Don't know their set up with drinks, etc. You can walk around in the street with beers near the game, don't try it downtown.
jg2112, it's more than possible - it's essentially Mardi Gras anywhere near Kinnick. Our tailgating is second to none - have fun!
Thanks for the post. Any recommendations on where to park for those of us who will be driving into Iowa City on Saturday?
Try the softball field on Hwy 6 between First Ave and Hawkins. It puts you nearest the interstate with the least amount of side streets and a reasonable walk to the game. Assume you are not sticking around after.
Will the softball field parking be a good spot to hang out all afternoon and tailgate? Thanks for all the help.
Shakers, it's solid tailgating for about a quarter mile around Kinnick - they're all good spots. You can also walk down the street with drinks - as a matter of policy, open container is not enforced. Try not to laugh too hard at the Per-Mar
carnies security guards.
Decent advice from iawolve on parking at the softball field, but I would only go there if you need your vehicle to tailgate. When you leave, don't follow the flow of traffic up Hwy 6 / 2nd St to I-80. Instead, go straight on Hawkins Dr / Rocky Shore Dr across Hwy 6 / 2nd St. Follow this street until it dead ends at Dubuque St. Take a left on Dubuque St - it takes you right to I-80.
If you're really serious about hitting the road right after the game (and I suspect the result will only strengthen this resolve ; ) ), and you don't need your vehicle to tailgate, park on the EAST side of campus - at the IMU Ramp or one of the ramps (parking garages are ramps in Iowa parlance, much like a shopping bag of any sort is a sack) downtown. It's solid tailgating for at least a quarter mile radius around Kinnick so you can find something no problem or just roam.
Motor out of Kinnick right after the game, and you should make it back to your vehicle in less than 20 minutes. From there, head east on any street to Governor St and take a left. Governor St merges into Dodge St and takes you to I-80.
Either way you'll save a lot of time - the latter route is especially painless. Good luck and drive safely. GO HAWKS
though I hope your prediction on the outcome is wrong (the realistic one that is).
Joseph's downtown is also really good for fine dining. It's expensive, but they've tried to offer lower-priced options because they were struggling in this economy. It's a big-city-quality steakhouse, but they also do good seafood. You will need a reservation, though, and they might already be booked.
There's another place downtown in the Sheraton called Share that's mid-to-high priced, and it's a small plates (tapas) style place focusing on local ingredients. It's pretty good.
I hear good things about Chef's Table, which is an upscale French restaurant downtown, but I've never eaten there. It's teeny, though, so consider reservations.
Atlas right off the Pentacrest has some pretty good food. I am obsessed with their mac'n'cheese, which is oven baked and really good on a cold day. Their desserts are also very good.
And one more: Formosa, in the Hotel Vetro right on the ped mall (my favorite hotel in IC). It's mostly sushi, some hot pot, and some cooked entrees. They have all kinds of sake, which is really good, and the food is pretty good. I also hear good things about Takanami downtown, which does sushi and other Japanese food.
If you go to Oasis, order the fries. They are amaaaaazing.
As for bars, I've always been a fan of Bo James. I don't know why, but it's generally a good place. They serve food and big beers for like $3. Joe's Place tends to be a slightly older crowd, mostly grad students, and pretty low-key. College Street Billiards is good for pre-game atmosphere. Sports Column, aka SpoCo, is the chief freshman hangout in town. To be avoided.
Nice list. I considered Atlas, but had lousy service the last time. It is worth a try.
However, Takanami is overpriced for the quality (it's sushi in Iowa). Formosa falls close in there, but I have had fresher food. They do this hot pot at the table and I was always meh about it.
I've had bad service at Atlas, but I don't consider service to be a hallmark of Iowa City restaurants in general. Really the only place I've eaten with outstanding service is Joseph's (I'm a vegetarian, so I never tried Linn Street, 126, or Taste on Melrose because their veg menus are limited/nonexistent).
Formosa has a good atmosphere, but the hot pot has disappointed me too. Though my Brazilian friend loved it, so YMMV.
Also some people might like Motley Cow, especially for brunch on Sunday.
I wish the Cottage were still downtown, their cheese hash browns were seriously the best reason to wake up on a Sunday morning.
Very thorough post. Good work. By the way, are the visitor locker rooms still pink? I know there has been talk and protest for years about how it is demeaning to women, etc...
I just have to say that as a woman (and a fairly feminist one at that) and an Iowa alum, I would be really annoyed if they changed the color of the locker rooms because it was "demeaning" to women. I don't really think of it as anything more than a silly experiment with a bit of pop psychology, and I also don't see why pink has anything to do with women in particular. I really think people could spend their time addressing more valuable causes.
I agree. I just brought it up because of this old ESPN.com article from 2005: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2174828
I guess a law professor flipped. Didn't know if anything became of it.
It is really stupid if you ask me though.
edit: oops meant to reply to "my two cents ..."
I'm having a hard time believing that Iowa can defend plays where we get 4 or 5 receivers and move the pocket. Against PSU, I saw a lot of space in between zones, and I didn't get the impression that their LBs could catch Royster.
That's the only game of theirs that I've seen, so naturally I'm thinking short passes to Carlos Brown, move the pocket, hit some screens, and get their LBs chasing our speedsters.
However, it seems to be generally accepted that Iowa's 4-3 can shut us down.
Can someone explain that to me?
My wife's boss gave us her tickets and stadium parking...how far is campus from the stadium? Any suggestions on where to find Michigan-friendly tailgates near the stadium?
Not sure of any others. Campus bars are 25-30 mins from from the stadium. If you have the parking pass, I would start downtown first or just leave a bunch of time for the walk both ways.
The stadium is pretty much right on campus. It is extremely difficult to get out after games.
The RV UM tailgating scene is usually around the hospital parking ramp area and the basketball arena parking lot.
Older Iowa fan is acceptant of visitors and will want your perspective on your team but prefers to hear about his team. Idiot Iowa fan (which is vast), is generally 18-35 and has difficulties holding liquor. It is not about football for most. It is about whom can drink more beer, whom started earlier and who is the best bean bag thrower in his clan. Most will not attend the game but come for the party. It is the state of Iowa. Find something better to do every Saturday!
I've been in Iowa for the past 30 years. I'm disappointed Michigan did not sell online tix to this years Iowa game. Had to drop cash through broker. I've had a hotel room for a year so had to drop the cash on the tix.
Look forward to seeing some of you there. GO BLUE!!!
I skipped the game preview because I usually like to just stick with Brian's analysis, but your Iowa City preview is awesome. We need to recruit somebody to do one of these for every away game.
but he/she better not be a 3 star.
I just took 8 shots of "maize and blue" kool aid and am predicitng:
Can someone do an analysis on pink lockerrooms having an outcome on Big ten titles? Neither OSU or Michigan have one but still seem to win alot more than Iowa. A blue field may be an advantage but lockerrom walls are not.
well done. it's like a buffet of information: little bit of everything. bravo and a well-earned point maestro.
Bluebird Diner FTW! Seriously, it will probably be full to bursting, but it has excellent food. We went for breakfast and I've never had a better breakfast at a more reasonable place anywhere in my life. We waited about 20 minutes for a table, so factor twice that (at least) for a home game weekend (we went on a Sunday with friends who live in town).
Agree with most that has been written about downtown IC. The main bar area is a rectangle that runs from Iowa Avenue to the North (Joe's, Atlas), Clinton Avenue to the West (Airliner, One-Eyed Jakes (avoid), College Street/the Ped Mall to the South (Vito's, Union, 3rd Base (formerly the Field House) (all very college-age), Brothers, Martini's (slightly older crowd, tries to be upscale but good eye candy) and Dubuque Street to the East (Mickey's, Dublin Undeground, the Deadwood and the Sports Column). To watch the early games, I'd go with Brothers, Mickey's, Joe's, or the Airliner.
For tailgating, especially coming in from out of town, there are a couple of lots along Greenwood Drive (from Coralville, go South on Mormon Trek, East on Benton, left on Greenwood, lots on right about a half mile) and some lots on Benton. Both of those are a 15 minute walk to the stadium, follow the crowds.
The game will be won by whichever team has a better day in the air. Forcier will have to work the ball outside or Sash will pick him off. Agree with the comment that if it's close, Michigan has a good chance since Ferentz will turn conservative, hopefully just like '05's OT win.
I went to school in Ames so IC was a destination for me about twice a semester. If you like a good laid back bar go to Fieldhouse. If you want to get crazy, head to Summit upstairs. If we lose, be prepared, these guys are ruthless. If we win, I wouldn't get too mouthy because these guys will jump you. IC can be a lot of fun but it is very easy to get into trouble. There are also troublesome migrants from Chicago so stay clear of them.
Fieldhouse is def. not laid back on Saturday nights - it's packed if only because it's one of the few places in town with a decent-sized dance bar.
Man, have I spent some time there.
There is no Fieldhouse bar anymore, it's now 3rd Base. Haven't been there, but it looks pretty much the same from the outside.
Haven't been to the Bluebird Diner yet (am in CR) but the Hamburg Diner on Linn Street is a classic for breakfast. Get the Iowa omelette.
so we are picking up an RV in Davenport on Friday afternoon and heading to Iowa City. We want to set up the RV on Friday night and be able to keep it in the same spot for Saturday tailgating / boozing. It looks like the Finkbine Golf Course is the only way to do this (the only place that lets people in on Friday night). Is this a good spot to have as home base?
Any suggestions for better alternatives would be most welcome.
Good luck in the game.
A few notes on the Iowa defense, which bear mentioning:
Over the past 8.25 games (33 quarters) Iowa has not given up a rushing TD. And I mean any rushing TD, not just in the red zone. It will say a lot about both teams' seasons if UM can pop a big play on the ground.
Iowa is 5th in the country in pass defense efficiency. If Forcier gets impatient or greedy it could go very badly for him.
Iowa has taken 14 turnovers and is ahead of last year's league-leading 32 turnover pace. Iowa has caused 10 fumbles, recovered 4. Tyler Sash has 10 picks in his last 10 games.
Iowa has shut down the last five marquee running backs it's faced. There is a quiet confidence. The two Michigan backs are daunting in their quickness, but there won't be any anxiety about the issues they present.
Iowa's defensive ends dominated PSU -- they rag-dolled a few O-tackles in that game, got one benched for nearly getting DC17 killed, and of course on a 'safe' punt return Clayborn tossed an upman into the stands, blocked the kick, picked it up, and ran 50 to turn the game around. Then the same two guys barely appeared against ASU: they combined for 2 +2 tackles. That's a bit alarming. ASU runs a close variant of the spread-to-run WVU offense.
Iowa defensive end play is a key to this game, given your scheme.
Contrary to above, we are doing a few new things this year, and we are not assigning 240 lb humans to chase slot receivers from sideline to sideline, thank god. Notably:
* we'll man up with Spievey and rotate some to the rookie CB side. Spievey will play in the NFL. He is a superb tackler as well as cover. He's not getting picks because no one will throw against him.
* when we play cover two five under against the spread/single wing, it will look like a 4-5, with the second level in straight line across the field.
* we'll go 3-4 and the extra backer is Tarpinian, an upsized DB who, of course, runs well.
* remember, we rarely blitz, and still blew up the psyches of the ISU, Ariz., and PSU QBs with just four rushing. Those three QBs combined for a college pass efficiency rating of 65 (22 if you use the superior NFL metric). Two of the three were benched, and Clark should have been. But look for a change-up blitz sometime well into the game at a critical moment. Norm always does that after the offense has been lulled into thinking that we will rush with four only.
The cliche about Iowa is that they are slow and "over-achievers", or whatever code word you want to use for caucasian. However, I believe Iowa has been the fastest team on the field (fastest overall) in each game this year. That said, it will be scheme and assignment discipline, and perhaps brute punishing force from the D-line, that will stop Michigan's backs. It won't be Iowa speed stopping those backs.
People love to talk about the UNI game, and how embarrassed we're supposed to be, and it's because they don't understand how good UNI is this year. UNI would destroy a couple of Big Ten teams. Since Iowa beat UNI, UNI has outscored its opponents 193-21.
Somebody else can go into detail on Stanzi and the offense. He's 13-3 as a starter so he's clutch, but he's not made the progress I really expected this year, and he gives me a headache. It's obvious that Robinson will make him beat you, if he can. I believe that Stanzi will have a monster game sometime this year (it should have been last week, because they just handed us the vertical game and he threw three long TDs, but our OC has his autistic moments where he refuses to process the events that actually occur in the game, versus the one's he visualized on Tuesday night when he scripts the plays).
I didn't verify all of the stats and figures I quoted up above, so apologies if these 'memory stats' fail.
My favorite bars are the Foxhead (a bohemian/writer's dive bar), Market and Gilbert and, to watch the game on the tube, The Vine (Gilbert and Prentiss Streets). I'm in the over-30 demographic, but they have been good places since I was sneaking in at age 16.
The best pizza is Pagliai's, if you like thin crust. It will be jammed. After living for a couple of decades on the east coast, including NYC, it remains my favorite pizza.
OFF subject, but man did anyone see the mug on the girl in the in the side banner for sportsbetting.com. Nice body, but-her face, whoa!