Iowa CITY, Iowa - Iowa can hope Nebraska eats too much turkey on Thanksgiving and is slowed by tryptophan. Outside of that, the Hawkeyes second experience in the Heroes' Game likely won't be any more enjoyable than was its first.
Emotional variables make it difficult choosing a victor in the Huskers' Big Ten finale with "rival" Iowa on Friday (11 AM CT, ABC). Nebraska needs to win. The Hawkeyes are wrapping up their season.
On paper, this one is a mismatch. Perhaps Nebraska folds under the pressure of needing a win to clinch the Big Ten Legends Division title. If the Huskers lose, they need Ohio State to knock off Michigan on Saturday to get to the conference championship game in Indianapolis the following weekend.
The Wolverines are the better team than Nebraska but relinquished a big lead in Lincoln earlier this season to lose out on the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Huskers. The Bugeaters also are a better match-up for Iowa because their quarterback doesn't throw as well as Michigan's Devin Gardner.
Maybe the Hawkeyes can make Taylor Martinez one dimensional. It'd take a superior performance after not getting to the Nebraska signal caller a year ago with a better defense.
The Huskers defense isn't great, but it won't need to be. Iowa's offense is a mess.
Picking a winner in this contest comes down to talent. The Hawkeyes need too many things to break their way to pull off the major upset. Nebraska is resilient and 6-1 in the conference.
Iowa will be hungry. It has for most of this season. It's just not a good team due to a combination of poor execution, poor coaching, a talent deficiency and a few key injuries.
Some Iowa fans look forward to 2013 with no bowl game on the horizon. The Hawkeyes are focused on Friday.
There figures to be a a fair share of red in the stands this weekend. If you're in Kinnick Stadium, the Hawkeye seniors deserve cheers. This season's outcome hasn't been because of a lack of effort on the players' part.
As you will see, they care: