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

msu-football

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

stanzi

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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#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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