K.C. Chiefs NFL Draft Recap

Heading into last season it looked like the AFC West would be one of the weaker divisions in the NFL, but once the league got going that was far from the case. The Kansas City Chiefs were one of the biggest surprises and they never really looked back after jumping out of the gate to a 3-0 start.

They won the division with a 10-6 record and made the playoffs with the NFL’s best rushing offense. The young defense wasn’t bad either and the Chiefs will probably be favored to win the division next season. However, they made an early exit in the playoffs after being humbled 30-7 by Baltimore in the wild card round.

The Chiefs have some fine players in Jamaal Charles, Dexter McCluster, Derrick Johnson, Javier Arenas, and Tamba Hali, but need a push from their draft picks to get over the hump and go further into the playoffs next season.

The club’s 2011 picks could be the answer they’re looking for as they landed a good mix of players with character, production and an up-side to them.

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Understanding Northwestern’s Recent Dominance Over the Iowa Hawkeyes

KIRK FERENTZ

Everyone has a foil- someone or something they just can’t get the best of. Dr. Claw had Inspector Gadget, Charlie Brown had Lucy, and her placekick holds; and I have the various forms of fried chicken.

And the Iowa Hawkeyes have the Northwestern Wildcats.

On Saturday, the Cats once again ruined the Hawks college football season. Last year they defeated No. 8 (AP) Iowa (No. 4 BCS) in Iowa City when the Hawkeyes were 9-0. This year, they ended their Big Ten title and BCS bowl hopes.

NU has now won three in a row in the series and five of the last six, including three games at Kinnick Stadium in 2006, 2008 and 2009. During ’08-’09 Iowa went 12-0 at home versus every non-Northwestern opponent.

Iowa still leads the overall series 46-23-3, but NU has again won 9 of the last 14. After the loss in Evanston, I had to ask the Hawkeyes what was going on with this recent purple reign.

By Paul M. Banks

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#13 Iowa-Northwestern: Brutally Honest Game Preview

GO-CATS!

“Human identity is no longer defined by what one does, but by what one owns. But we’ve discovered that owning things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. We’ve learned that piling up material goods cannot fill the emptiness of lives which have no confidence or purpose.”

These words were delivered to the American people on July 15th, 1979 but are more valid today than ever in history. And they apply to the college football rivalry between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Northwestern Wildcats too!

The quote is from Jimmy Carter’s “Malaise speech” or “Crisis of Confidence speech.”? Iowa may be in the Big Ten’s upper class, but they have a crisis of confidence when it comes to playing Northwestern. NU has taken four of the last five and three straight at Kinnick, where pretty much no visitor ever wins.

After blowing big second half leads in three of their last four, Northwestern has a crisis of confidence too. They’re bowl eligible, but they need to win at least one of their three to avoid the malaise of the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl in Detroit.

On Saturday, someone will better define themselves “by what won does,” and that’s winning.

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Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi: Big Ten’s Best QB and MVP


The list of quarterbacks with true NFL prospects is somewhat low in the Big Ten right now, but Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi seems to have a lot of what is needed for those scouts.

He has size.  He is the best, pure-pocket passer in the league, leading the league in passing efficiency with a 180.3, good for second in the nation. On Saturday, the senior semifinalist for the O’Brien Award had a nearly perfect game, 11-15, 190 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs as the Hawkeyes gave Michigan State their first loss of the season. [Read more…]

#5 Michigan State-#18 Iowa: Brutally Honest Game Preview

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One thing I have always wanted to see in my lifetime is a season where Michigan State football is REALLY good. Not 1999’s 10-2, Citrus Bowl winning good, but actually a player on the national scene. Like they are in basketball. I also haven’t fulfilled my lifetime dream of singing a duet with a Muppet, but that’s another story.

Biggie “somehow your words just hypnotize me” Munn and Duffy Daugherty coached the East Lansing school to five national titles during a 15 year span (1951-1966). So they have history. Especially that 1966 team with their “KILL BUBBA KILL” chant, glorifying all-world defensive lineman Bubba Smith; probably the most iconic player in Spartan football history.

And this Saturday, State will play in the de facto 2010 Big Ten Championship game. Because if they win at Iowa, the undefeated season is there for the taking. Sure, they could get caught napping at home versus Purdue in a couple weeks, but it’s not likely. Basically, win and they’re eventually in. Time for MSU to “Push it to the limit. Limit!”

With the mess of the BCS b.s. on top of them, #5 Michigan State gets to the title game by running the table.

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Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi Named to National QB Award Semifinal List

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The Davey O’Brien Foundation announced today that Iowa senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi is one of 16 semifinalists for the 2010 Dave O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Robinson is joined by Big Ten signal callers Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Denard Robinson (Michigan) and Terrelle Pryor (Ohio State) on the semifinalist list.

Stanzi (6-4, 230) also earned honorable mention Monday recognition for the third time from the College Football Performance Awards, as he was also recognized after leading Iowa to wins over Ball State and Michigan.  He completed 25-37 passes for 258 yards and three touchdowns against the Badgers, with no interceptions.  Stanzi has 16 touchdown passes and just two interceptions this season.

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University of Iowa Trucks Ball State 45-0

iowa cheerleaders
It didn’t take long for the Iowa Hawkeyes to erase the memories of a disastrous road trip west one week ago.

The Hawkeyes outgained the Ball State Cardinals 5-yards-to-1 on Saturday on their way to a blowout 45-0 win, one that probably wasn’t as close as the score indicated.

Adam Robinson, Ricky Stanzi and a STOUT Iowa defensive line all keyed the victory. [Read more…]

#18 Iowa vs. Ball State: Brutally Honest Game Preview

iowa cheerleaders

Poor Ball State. They’re getting the Iowa Hawkeyes at the exact wrong time. The Hawks were upset in the late night desert air by Arizona, and now they need wins with huge style points to compensate for how far they fell in the national rankings. Critics of Iowa say the team, and the state itself, is boring.

I disagree. Iowa provided the setting for “Field of Dreams” and “The Music Man,” two works of American fiction that have influenced and inspired contemporary pop culture in every genre. Regarding the team itself,  they had a backup offensive lineman appear on a national morning talk show, possess one of the best defensive lines in the nation, and possibly the best defensive player overall in Adrian Clayborn. How many programs have star power like this?

Throughout the season, I’ll be bringing you these informative yet blunt game previews of every contest I cover (and a second game that week that interests me); with a heavy focus on my three “home teams” Northwestern, Illinois, Notre Dame, and the Big Ten in general.

By Paul M. Banks

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2010 Big Ten QB Power Rankings

kirk-cousins

It’s Big Ten Media Day! The first of two actually!  You know what that means: football season will soon be here! So let’s talk shop.

By Paul M. Banks

1. Terelle Pryor, Ohio State. No surprise here. You know all about this kid. But seriously, WHY DIDNT THEY BRING HIM TO MEDIA DAY???

2. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin. Has little to no NFL potential, and he’s about as exciting and flashy as Ben Stein, but he commanded last year’s number one offense, and scoring offense, in the Big Ten. As good as he was last year, he still needs to cut down on big game interceptions.

3. Kirk Cousins, Michigan State. His early season position battle with Keith Nichol seems to have really faciliatated his development. He’s a true dual threat. Trying to stop him this fall will be like hitting on a woman out at a bachelorette party- your outcome will just not be favorable.

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Big Ten QB Power Rankings

dclark21

By Paul M. Banks

The Big Ten has a historical reputation for being a “black and blue” type conference like the old NFC Central in the NFL. Woody Hayes and his “3 yards and a cloud of dust” comes to mind. But today, it’s all about the spread-option, and having a quarterback who can run the ball almost as well, or better than he can throw it. The Big Ten’s best are the guys who can beat with you with their legs in addition to beating you with their arm.

1. Ohio State- Terrelle Pryor.
He’s the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and will only get better. The only question remaining is, why wasn’t he one of the three players selected by THEEEEEE Ohio State University to attend Media Day in Chicago? Instead OSU brought one mediocre player, one guy that might not start, and another who’s scout team level in talent.

2. Illinois- Juice Williams and Penn State- Darryl Clark
It really is a toss-up between these two mobile QBs. Both have led their team to the Rose Bowl, both got smoked in that Rose Bowl, and both have developed towards the back-end of their collegiate career. Juice is a better runner and will put up bigger numbers this fall, but Clark is a better decision maker and commits less mistakes.

4. Minnesota- Adam Weber
Like the first three, he’s mobile and he’s got a gun. But does WR supreme Eric Decker make him look better than he really is? Guess we will find out next year when Decks is gone.

5. Northwestern Mike Kafkajuice-williams-arrelious-benn-440
He’s known as “the guy who broke that QB rushing record” to most, as he really hasn’t done much else outside of… the record shattering 217 yards he scrambled for in a season-defining win at Minnesota last fall. But he has potential, and now with C.J. Bacher’s departure, he has a chance to be the man and carry this team.

6. Iowa- Ricky Stanzi
Has high potential to rise above this spot; playing with the luxury of his stellar defense and the great blocking in front of him will help him get there.

7. Michigan State- Kirk Cousins/Keith Nichol
Cousins looked ok when he got some playing time in the Citrus Bowl last year (if the credit card company that bought the rights to that game wants publicity, they can give me a cut, until then it’s the Citrus Bowl to me!). Nichol is yet another qb transfer who bails on his program when he finds himself lower on the depth chart. But when you realize that he had to contend with Sam Bradford at Oklahoma, can you blame him? They’ll name their starter in a couple days.

8. Indiana- Ben Chappell
He’s got a good arm, but he’s no Antwaan Randle El. He’s not even in the same class as Kellen Lewis.

9. Purdue- Joey Elliot
He’s the like the Chester Frazier of Big Ten football- already focused on coaching once his college career ends. Last year, the Joe Tiller era ended. This year ends the era of Purdue QBs putting up good passing numbers and having draft potential.

10. Michigan ???
Familiar with the term “hot mess”? I don’t really know where to begin, expect by asking them to start over with whoever is the highest rated youngster at the position in their program.

11. Wisconsin ???
The Badgers deserve this spot simply because of what happened today with Bret Bielema’s “depth chart” release, an extreme let-down that said nothing. Junior Scott Tolzien and redshirt freshman Curt Phillips were listed as co-starters ahead of senior Dustin Sherer, who started the final seven games in 2008. They won’t bother telling us who’s winning the position battle. But we can figure out that Sherer is JUST AWFUL.