Please, Iowa, Save Us From These Early Games

When your team is not playing, college football is exciting because of the pageantry and passion, not the precision; it's easy to root for close games that can be interesting until the final whistle when the outcomes of the games won't generate chagrin, and it's fun to find an otherwise obscure game that turns into a barn-burner.

For today's noon slate, all those nonpartisan fans should keep their eyes on Iowa.

Only four ranked teams are playing at this hour, and the other three are playing against Syracuse (Cincinnati), against New Mexico State (Ohio State), and in an SEC game, with Ole Miss visiting Auburn, that requires some exaggeration of personal animus to make it compelling.

Therefore, the Hawkeyes are really our only hope. They play close games against everyone except Iowa State: Yes, they have a 35-3 win over the Cyclones, but Iowa's other seven wins have come by a combined 41 points. Quarterback Ricky Stanzi is a "game manager" in the sense that he probably throws picks when playing NCAA 10; he's alternated between outings of completing more than 60 percent and less than 53 percent of his passes all year, but he was just 11-of-27 last week, so he's due for a good outing. And, if all else fails, it's the Big Ten, where the amazingly mundane turns into the "well, that happened."

At the very least, it's better than hoping Florida State picks this week to be good again. I think.

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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