Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Predictions for Iowa

       What is my prediction for the rest of the season?  The passing game continues to struggle as they never find the chemistry.  James Vandenberg is overloaded and as a result, stares down receivers.  The running game comes back as the replacement linemen do an excellent job.  The defense has a couple stellar and a couple crappy games.
       So how many games will the Hawks win this season?  Let’s look at the games individually.  The Hawks get Mark Weisman back this weekend and put up 150 plus rushing yards and get a close win at Northwestern.  This puts the Hawks at 5-3.  We storm into Indiana and have the best offensive game all season.  The defense is below average and almost gives Indiana a chance to steel the game.  Iowa holds off, winning their fourth straight road game.  The Hawks are now bowl eligible!  Iowa controls their own destiny and boy to they blow it.  At home, in front of 70,000 Hawkeyes, they lose their 4th home game. The Hawks go to 6-4 and are no longer in control of their destiny.  They follow up with their only road loss to Michigan.  The Hawks are now 6-5.  People are chanting for the backup quarterback, Ruddock.  Vandenberg has not improved at all and throws a game ending interception to lose to Michigan.  Crushed, the Hawks are no longer in contention for the conference title.  They do pull up an upset to stop Nebraska from going to the championship game.  A sloppy performance by the Huskers and a dominant run game allows the Hawks to pull out a win at Kinnick.  This would only be the third home win.  The hawks go 7-5 and head to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to challenge Iowa State for bragging rights.  Who wins that bowl game?  I can tell you that if Iowa doesn't win, I will be the laughing stock of Iowa.  


Iowa Laid an Egg

       The boos on Saturday night, in Kinnick, were well deserved.  The Hawkeyes played sloppy, nonaggressive, stupid football.  Never in my life, have I seen such poor offensive and defensive play at Kinnick.  The points on the board were a result of a kickoff return for a touchdown and the second string defense.  Big Ten play should never be a time where your opponent can rack up so many points that they can afford to put their second string in.  It was embarrassing.
Let’s take a look at what happened to the offense last Saturday.  It all started with the injury to our star running back, Mark Weisman.  He is the only proven running back for Iowa and he didn’t play much due to his injury.  Secondly, we had two offensive line injuries.  The backups didn’t have any playing experience this year and very little practice with the first string.  Replacing one lineman is tough, but two linemen, mid game, was a difficult task.  I don’t think that offense on Saturday night was a fluke either. The Hawk’s passing game has been awful this year.  We are 10th in the Big Ten in passing.  That is unacceptable.  A lot of people are putting the blame on James Vandenberg, senior quarterback.  What the hell guys?  Do you not remember the 3000 yards and 25 touchdowns he threw last year?  It is absolutely ridiculous to say that James Vandenberg is a problem with the passing game.  We should however, all that first year offensive coordinator Greg Davis.  His new offensive scheme has been unsuccessful the first half of Iowa season.  Use passing screens have led to more negative yardage than positive yardage.  If it doesn’t work, don’t run the play, yet he continues to write a screen play consistently.  Another problem with the offense is James Vandenberg has too many responsibilities.  He is responsible for calling audibles, changing offensive line protection, and anticipating receivers breaking off their routes.  This is too much for a quarterback.  If as a result, James Vandenberg stares down receivers making him easy to defend.  Opposing coordinators plan less and less for quarterback James Vandenberg.  With all the stuff on his plate, it will be very hard for James Vandenberg to put up numbers like he did last season.  The only helped to Iowa offense is the running game.  If Iowa rack racked up 150 plus rushing yards a game, the fastest will be focused on the run, leaving James Vandenberg plenty of holes in the passing game.
The defense last Saturday, was not that bad, besides the defensive line.  The key to Iowa’s defense is to put pressure on the quarterback and make him throw a bad pass into zone coverage.  If your defensive line doesn’t get pressure, they whole defense is done.  To be fair though, the defense was put into a poor situation.  You can’t expect a defense to perform well if they are put out on the field for 38 minutes.  This number is generous because we had the ball for most of the fourth quarter.  Defenses get tired and it is very hard for them to make stop after stop when their offense goes three and out.  The key to the defense is simple; keep them off the field and get pressure on the quarterback.
The Hawks struggles will likely continue throughout the season and cause the Hawks the Legend’s division championship.  It seems like more and more, I sound like a cubs fan with my “next year” speech.  It is very fustrating to see multiple players go to the NFL each year because it means that Iowa has talent but still loses.  It seems that Iowa can't seem to put drives together with good players.  I think that is a coaching problem.  I really hope the Hawks with this weekend because if they don't, they won't be a contender in the Big Ten.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Anger and Rants

                Anger breeds anger.  Have you ever noticed that someone who gets angry can go on a rant and become angrier?  They haven’t become angrier because someone did something else to upset them.  They became angrier because they started to remember past memories where they were angry.  People who are mad at you tend to bring up past experiences that only breed more anger.  This is defined as the mood congruency theory.

                Mood congruency theory states that when someone, such as a classmate, who gets angry at you, will be more likely to remember bad experiences with you rather than good ones.  In simple terms, if someone is mad at you, they will bring up only the bad memories of you.  This isn’t fair to the acceptors of this anger.

                How can you prevent mood congruency from happening to you?  If you become angry at someone, try to be consciously aware that you are getting angry.  If you are conscious of it, you are less likely to go with the norm and become angrier at the person because of past experiences.   Most anger management specialists recommend you do a stress reducing exercise like counting to ten.  These tactics allow your pre-frontal cortex to get back into the thought process.  Without calming down, the logical part of your brain will get less and less say about your words and actions.  Try to be conscious when you get angry at someone because if you don’t, your blood pressure will go up. Have a nice day :)    

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Hi Bloggers! This weekend, I will be taking the PSAT.  If you score in the top 1 percent, you become a National Merit Scholar.  A National Merit Scholar automatically gets free tuition to 43 schools.  There are a lot more schools that give you full rides after interviews and C.V. analysis.  That is a big deal.  With a four year college averaging $100,000, a full ride helps you get out of college debt free.

This test, however, doesn’t test what you know as a student.  It is not an intelligence test.  It is a test to see how well you can take the PSAT.  Supposedly, it predicts how you will do in college.  There are no colleges courses that have you spot the error in a sentence or ask you random vocabulary.   Why does the SAT test these things?  One reason is that the test is not partial to anyone.  Blacks can be just as likely to get an answer correct as a Mexican or European.  This prevents law suits.  The second reason is the difference in school curriculums.  The same classes are taught at different difficulty levels across the country.  This means grades and G.P.A. can vary dramatically.  A 4.0 in a small town in Alabama is not the same as a 4.0 at a Minnesotan school.  The quality is just very different.  Colleges can’t compare G.P.A. of students across the country. 
           How can we change this problem?  In this case, it is a broken system with no ending result.  The colleges should take sports, activities, and relative G.P.A of the students for scholarships.  PSAT will not change to be what you learn in class because every district in America teaches a different curriculum.  So take one of those PSAT booklets and figure out how to take this test because colleges are forced to put a lot of weight on this.    


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Legends Division Just Got Interesting

       Iowa is in the driver’s seat in the Legends division.  Iowa, a team most wrote off after their loss to Central Michigan, has come back strong and is now 2-0 in the division.  Central Michigan, by the way went on to lose their next three games to Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Air Force by double digits.  The season is really backwards from what most expected before the season started.  The strengths and weaknesses have flipped flopped.  The only continuity with this team is the strength on the offensive line.
A strength coming into the 2012 season was senior quarterback, James Vandenberg.  Through the first half of the season, it has been the Hawkeye’s biggest weakness.  His passing has been inaccurate after throwing 25 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions last year.  There is a simple answer to his drop in skilled play, new coaches.  James Vandenberg acquired a new offensive coordinator, Greg Davis.  Greg Davis changed the whole play book and allowed receivers to break off their routes.  James Vandenberg was basically told to erase the whole playbook and memorize a new one.  He was also told to anticipate the breakoffs of the receivers.  Finally, he was told he had to anticipate the blitz and change the blocking coverage.  This was too much for quarterback James Vandenberg.  He has sacrificed his ability to look at multiple receivers and tends to stare down one.  This makes the passing game a lot easier to defend and makes passing unsuccessful.
There were two major weaknesses prior to the season.  First, the defensive line was new and inexperienced.  Many thought this group would be one of the worst in the Big Ten.  The defensive line has proved the doubters.  They are one of the best run defenses in the Big Ten.  They recorded multiple sacks and provide a good pass rush.  This has allowed our secondary to capitalize with interceptions on bad passes.  The defensive line has saved so many games for the team and cause critical stops on third downs with sacks.  They are a real strong point to this Hawkeye team as they continue with Big Ten play.
The second weakness was the inexperience at running back.  After last season, three running backs left the program.  We were forced with two freshmen at running back.  They were decent though two games.  Both running backs were injured in the first half of the third game.  This forced walk on fullback Mark Weisman to carry the pigskin and carry it he did.  Through four games, he has recorded eight touchdowns and 631 yards on 100 carries.  Every time he touches the ball, he averages six yards.  That is amazing for any running back, not to mention a fullback.  He has been the best story in the Big Ten this year.  His power and athleticism allows him to pile drive over defenders as he runs for first downs.
Nobody knows what the Hawkeyes will be able to do for the rest of the season.  Will the passing game step up?  If it does, and Mark Weisman stays healthy, the sky is the limit for the Hawkeye season.  They are in control of what bowl they go to.  The question is whether the bowl is the Ticket-City Bowl or the Rose Bowl.    


Monday, October 8, 2012

Road Rage, There is a Reason

       Hi Bloggers!! Ever have someone pass you aggressively while you were driving on a road?  Did you get really upset and think the person was a jerk who didn't know how to drive?  That is the fundamental attribution error.  It is the theory that one overestimates the impact of the person’s personality and underestimates the situation.  Most people get very upset when they are cut off.  Instead of getting upset, look at it from a situational perspective.  Perhaps they are late to a meeting or forgot to pick up their kid from school.  The perception of the person becomes positive or neutral when you think of the situational perspective.  However, if you look at the personality of the person for the cause of him or her cutting you off, you look the person in a very negative light.
       How can you use the fundamental attribution error to your advantage?  If you learn to look at the situation instead of personality of the person, your stress will go down.  You won’t get angry at drivers or other situations where you don’t know the person you are indirectly interacting with.  Most people will not learn this in their life time and will often judge people they don’t know based on one indirect action they did.  Don’t be those people.



       What commercial works better for you?  One that is straight forward with facts and information about why the product is the best or cheapest or one gives clues to buy the product but doesn’t directly say it.  Most people are unaware that there are differences in commercial advertising.  They are focused for different uses and products.
      Commercials that are straight forward are using a central route to persuasion.  This route is used to advertise that the product being sold is better than other products.  A common example is a car commercial.  They state the miles per gallon, engine size, and low price to persuade you to buy the car.  People want central persuasion with expensive purchases because they care more about the features. 
      Commercials that are vague about the product and use a gimmick are using a peripheral route to persuasion.  This often includes a song, poem, or a catchphrase in the commercial to stick in your brain.  Take the Old Spice commercials.  They say random things then hold and make ridiculous claims that you know are false while holding the product.  The goal is for your brain to remember it when you are in the grocery store buying goods.  These commercials work very well for small priced items because people are more entertained by the commercial then they are about which product is better.  They will often form bias to one product due to a specific commercial because they thought it was funny.
      Next time the commercials come on, try and spot whether the commercial is using a central or peripheral route to persuasion. 


Drink and Bench...

Micah Hyde was arrested last Saturday for public intoxication.  He is the senior cornerback for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  The choice of his actions really makes you question what influences someone’s decision.  Was it a group influence?  Not much is totally know of his personal situation as the Hawkeyes like to keep details within the program.  Here is a look at a few reasons why a person might put their long term goals at risk for a short term “reward.”
The first concept is called deindividuation.  This is the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity.  Micah Hyde was probably with friends when they started drinking.  He knew he should stop after one or two but the group influenced his decision to keep drinking.  Another example would be if a soccer team lost because a ref blew a call and the fans rioted.  The fans wouldn’t have rioted by themselves but because they were in a group they felt less responsibility and restraint.  This allowed their conscience to go out the window as they flipped cars.  How can you avoid deindividuation?  Don’t be affected by peer pressure.  If your morals are strong enough to resist doing the wrong thing, you should be able to say no and find an alternative solution.
The next concept that could have affected Micah Hyde’s decision to get drunk is normative social influence.  This is the influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval.  Micah might have kept drinking to avoid disapproval from his friends.  He continued drinking until he was put in jail for public intoxication.  Another example of this term is when you are hazed to become part of a club or group.  You do something that you don’t want to do but you do it to gain acceptance for a group or club.  How can you avoid normative social influence?  It is very hard to avoid this influence.  As humans, we strive for acceptance within a group.  We often do undesirable tasks to gain acceptance.  Stand by your morals and don’t be afraid to say no to a group.  If they want you to do something that you are not comfortable with, you probably should not be associating with them.  
Another concept that could have altered Micah Hyde’s decision making is confirmation bias.  This theory states they you look for information to support your bias.  Micah was probably told that there would be no cops around.  They might have also said that he was a football player and that they don’t put the starters in jail.  Longing to believe it, Micah Hyde accepts their argument and continues to drink.  Another example to help define the term is happening right now with the political race.  People of a certain party will often watch new shows that support their beliefs and arguments to allow people to confirm these pre-existing beliefs.  How do you avoid confirmation bias?  Try and collect as much accurate information as possible before making a logical decision.  If you are hearing all of your information from one viewpoint, it is likely that your information will be bias.
Finally, Micah Hyde was probably affected most by the alcohol in his blood steam.  Alcohol is a depressant in both small and large amounts.  Micah became buzzed from his first two drinks and wanted to continue his feeling.  He felt that continuing his drinking would achieve this.  Micah’s frontal cortex was also malfunctioning due to the alcohol in his bloodstream.  Alcohol is a very powerful drug.  It can affect your decision making skills and make you a very different person.  How can you prevent this?  Always have a sober friend around.  He or she will prevent you from doing anything stupid that you shouldn’t be doing.
One or more of these reasons is why Micah Hyde was placed in jail for public intoxication on Saturday.  He made a poor choice with his friends and paid the price.  Perhaps Ferentz should start a sober buddy system so players refrain from stupid activities.  Until then, Iowa players will continue to shoot themselves in the foot as they get suspended for big football games.  Until next suspension bloggers.  


Friday, October 5, 2012

Hawks #1?

        Iowa (1-0) could be on top of the Legends division in the Big Ten this weekend with their bye week.  There are only 4 teams contending for first place right now in the Legends Division.
Nebraska is 1-0 heading in to their game at Ohio State.  They are not favored to win that game.  The Buckeyes have looked very strong through the first part of the season.  Nebraska has shown sparks of greatness but really struggled with consistency against decent opponents.  Let’s say Ohio State wins this one at home.
The next team is Northwestern (1-0).  They are taking on a very hot Penn State team.  After starting 0-2, Penn State has come back in convincing fashion to win their last three games.  Northwestern is only favored by 2.5 points in this game.  This will be a close one that goes down to the final drive.  For now, let’s say Penn State pulls a small upset.
The last team is Michigan, who hasn’t played a Big Ten game yet.  They have to vs. Purdue in their Big Ten opener.  Michigan is favored but I don’t know why.  They have looked really bad against two good opponents.  They have shown that they aren’t a championship caliber team.  Purdue on the other hand is 4-0 and scoring 40+ points per game.  They have a lot of defensive stars and can play very well.  I put my money on Purdue for the upset this week.
If all three of these games go this way, Iowa will be the sole leader of what will be the most contended division in all College Football, the Legends Division.  Savor it while it lasts Hawks.  Michigan State in one week will tell us where the Hawks really stand for this year.


Romney Kills Debate 1

       Let's face it.  There was clear winner in the first presidential debate.  It wasn't even close. There were a lot of factors that lead to the President losing.  
       Romney looked happier to be there which is fair because Obama was probably didn't want a presidential debate on his anniversary. In all seriousness though, Romney had a better attitude than the President.  Many times during the election, you saw Obama frowning and shaking his head when Romney talked instead of forming a counter to what Romney said.
       Obama was just rusty in his debating skills.  He hasn't had to really debate with another candidate since the election in 2008.  He didn't take advantage of possible counters to win the topic.  For example, Romney said that Obama was going to raise the tax on 47 percent of the small business jobs.  He could have responded that these are the top 3 percent of small business owners, and they are similar to large business.  The tax increase wouldn't affect them like it would a small business who is currently receiving tax breaks.  Romney also brought out that Obama was cutting 600 billion from Medicare.  This is just a made up number.      Nobody knows exactly how much will be cut.  He could have responded like that but he just shook his head.  Meanwhile, Romney has been brushing up on his debating skills this whole year as he fought to win the Republican nomination.  Romney took advantage many times to get the final word in as well as counter everything negative the President said about him.  
       Romney isn't ahead in the polls yet because he really hurt himself with the 47 percent video.  If Romney wins the next two debates though, he has a very good shot at becoming president.  Can the President come back and debate like he did in 2008.  Time will tell.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Entering the Black

        We saw the Hawkeyes win in convincing fashion on Saturday.  The first half was the best half of football they have played all year.  They had 19 rushing attempts for 163 yards and 19 passing attempts for 165 yards.  It doesn’t get more balanced than that half of football.  Minnesota didn’t know what to expect.  There was even a trick play called a flea flicker that went for 47 yards and a touchdown.  This leads the question: How can the Hawks lose to Central Michigan and then beat a former undefeated team in Minnesota?
In the game against Central Michigan, Iowa looked average offensively.  They made some big plays but struggled to convert on third down.  Meanwhile, the defense looked lost as they tried to defend a sub-par Central Michigan offense.  It was embarrassing how many yards they racked up on the defense.  The most important stat in that game was the 9 points scored in the final two minutes.  Iowa runs a bend and don’t break defense.  The defense broke.  There was no pass rush, allowing the quarterback to find the open receivers in the prevent-style zone defense.  The result was a 9 point comeback to had Iowa a loss.
The game against Minnesota looked like a whole new defense.  They were very good against stuffing the run which forced Minnesota to pass the football.  They blitzed for the first time all year with two linebackers.  Of the six times they blitzed, they were successful with a pass breakup or a sack four times.  The defense put it on the quarterback to make a great play with a blitz.  Our defensive line and linebackers came up big in causing chaos.  There were three interceptions because the quarterback was put under pressure.  This is why Minnesota was shut out in the first half and only scored one touchdown against our first string defense.  The bend don’t break defense was replaced with the scheme of we are blitzing and you have to make a play.  You don’t lose too many games when your defense has three interceptions.
What does this mean for the Hawks as we move through the season?  There obviously has to be a change in the defensive scheme that matched up with the game last Saturday.  The defensive line can’t pressure the quarterback.  They need additional help from the linebackers to make a play.  This prevents the two deep safety plays that Iowa likes to run and pushes them into man coverage.  There will be more big plays against Iowa as well as turnovers and punts.  As a result, Iowa will have more time for their offense and more time for their defense to win.  This is a winning strategy that might push the Hawkeyes into the pot to win the Big Ten.
There are a couple of key things for the offense as well going forward into Big Ten play.  The offense needs Mark Weisman, who delivered another stellar game with 170 yards and a touchdown.  In order for the passing game to open up, especially the play action bootleg, Mark Weisman needs to rack up four to five yards on first down.  He also needs to be able to pick up the one or two yards on an obvious running situation.  Thus far he has done that with little struggle.  The minute that Iowa can’t run the football, they will lose the game.  Finally, Iowa needs to look farther into their trick play category.  They are known for a very conservative style play and do not do trick plays with the lead.  This is why the trick play was so effective last Saturday when the receiver was clear by 20 yards of any defender.  Iowa needs to take advantage of its reputation as a conservative offense and use it to their advantage in big games like Michigan State in two weeks.
There are a lot of unknowns to the Hawkeyes this year.  Their offense and defense have shown glimpses of greatness.  Will both of them show up when they play to big teams like Michigan State or will one flop and cause Iowa to lose.  There are a lot of question marks to the Hawkeyes this season.  The tittle race includes the Hawks thus far, but only time will tell if they are legit.  Speaking of the title race, if Iowa beats Michigan and Michigan State, does that make Central Michigan the unofficial winner of the Big Ten?