I'll start this post by saying I still don't know what to think/expect about our upcoming game.
A big part of me thinks we have one heck of a defense and an offense that is finally as full strength as it's going to be and has shown flashes of brilliance, but hasn't been able to sustain consistency.
On the other hand, our defense really hasn't seen an offense like Michigan's, so there's an unknown quantity there, and our offense in Ferentz's words has been about two weeks behind schedule all season long.
Now, as far as "The Hunch" is concerned. Yes, it is a blackout game, much like the one against Michigan in 2005 that felt like a funeral afterwards. I've never seen 70,000 Iowa fans more gloomy and quiet. The 2006 OSU game was mentioned...there is a big difference in that they were a better team than us, without question. We were just hoping the atmosphere would be enough to pull off the upset.
I don't think this year's Michigan team is better than this year's Iowa team. Ferentz's mantra has been one of staying even-keeled and just looking to improve from one game to the next. I would imagine that this, coupled with the fact that the players will probably be a bit more energized by the fans gives the Hawks the edge here. Iowa doesn't have their "traditional collapse" in big games. Last year it was Illinois, the year before that, NW. If we get beat by a better team, so be it, but again, I don't see UM being the better team. Maybe I'm wrong.
Game thoughts always bring me back to old axioms. "The game will be won and lost in the trenches," and because of this, I really like the Hawks in this one, barring another axiom occuring that "The team that makes the fewest mistakes wins." Here's where the rub lies with the way Stanzi has played so far. Unless he breaks from form, I can almost guarantee that he will throw a ball or two right at you guys.
In the end, this is an experienced, talented Iowa team. Moreso than we've had since our three year run as a #8 ranked team earlier this decade. I can't really say they've played a complete game to this point and if that happens Saturday night, it will be a long night for the Wolverines. Odds are good that that doesn't happen, so I don't think it will be a blowout, but I still do see the Hawks taking this one in convincing fashion, mostly because of the line play and the friendly confines of Kinnick. It will be an electric atmosphere, cold be damned.
If you guys can give me more details on what the philosophy on O&D have been, as well as who your key guys are, that would be great.