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2012 BlogPoll: Week 3

Right now it's basically Alabama and everyone else. The rest of the ballot is just trying to find some order to the 30 remaining undefeated teams. Teams like Notre Dame and Standford got big boost thanks to wins over ranked foes. And teams like USC and Michigan State were eliminated for losing.

I don't feel super confident with teams like Northwestern and Iowa State on my ballot right now, but they are undefeated and have decent enough resumes. Probably starting next week there will be fewer than 25 undefeated teams, so the 1-lossers will start to creep back in.

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Weisman runs all over UNI

Two things stick out in my mind about Saturday's win over Northern Iowa. First are the injuries to Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon and the ensuing emergence of Mark Weisman. And second, that the offense looked a whole lot more like the Iowa of old than it has the two prior weeks.

The running back situation

The two injuries were awful. In the stand, with no real information, the Bullock injury was scary. Both head coaches came out on the field along with about 5 or 6 from the medical staff. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be as bad as it looked and he doesn't miss much time. At least the bye week is coming up, which will give him an extra week, if it takes that long to recover. Ditto on the Garmon looked bad, but hopefully he'll be back soon.

Both guys were playing well before their injuries. Bullock had 77 yards on just 13 carries and looked great. He had Iowa's longest run of the year, a burst for 27 yards on Iowa's first drive of the game. Then the injury, then Garmon. Garmon only had 3 carries before he was injured, and also had a nice kickoff return. Then his injury, then Weisman.

Weisman, already had scored a 2-yard TD on Iowa's first drive, but I wasn't exactly confident when he trotted out as the running back. Boy was I wrong. He looked fantastic. He hit the hole hard and hit defenders harder. He broke more tackles than I've seen in a long time. He racked up 113 yards on 24 carries and finished with all 3 of Iowa's touchdowns. He added 33 yards through the air. It was truly an amazing performance by a walk-on fullback.

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Four Factor Friday: Northern Iowa

Realistically I could put all four factors as offensive production and that would do it for the post. I'm not worried about Iowa's defense. I'm not worried about special teams. The outcome of this game lies almost solely on the offense. Though, defense or special teams could really help them out with some points. The defense came close twice against Iowa on the 50 yard interception return by Morris, the second on his fumble recovery that he fell on top of instead of trying to scoop and score (which I think he had a change to do, even if it was like 80 yards or so).

Anyway, writing "FIX THE OFFENSE" over and over again isn't going to do, so here are 4 different factors.

Start fast

This applies to both sides of the ball. Last week, the defense gave up a 10-play, 75-yard drive to start that game that quickly put Iowa behind 6. Phil Parker has been making great adjustments at half and the defense has only given up one score in the second half in the first two weeks. But Iowa can't afford to get behind early and allow UNI to build their confidence (which I'm pretty sure they are already thinking they should win this game.

The offense's opening drive was its longest (77 yards) last week, but ended in a field goal. While that is acceptable, the Iowa fans aren't going to sit around happy for very long if the offense doesn't score touchdowns.

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Pic for Iowa: Pro Combat Uniform

Here is the first look at the Nike Pro Combat uniforms Iowa will be rocking against Purdue on November 10. My first impression is: not too bad. It looks distinctly Iowa and isn't too flashy. You have to wonder if these don't come out yet if Iowa would have won on Saturday.

Iowa Pro Combat Uniforms

Photo via: @SourceMediaBRay (Brian Ray)

Marc Morehouse has a bunch more pictures of the uniforms as well.

Update: Brent Yarina from BTN is saying not so fast... So we'll have to wait and see.

Piling it on

We all get it. The Iowa offense is bad. Really, really bad. It is statistically the worst offense of any team in a BCS conference in terms of yards per play. Only Oregon State is worse in points per play. And any way you slice it, Iowa is sitting in the bottom 10% of all offenses in the country.

And yet, I keep hearing a bunch of excuses.

Execution - Of course, the coaches and players are saying it's all about execution (this is still a Kirk Ferentz coached team after all). And execution is definitely a big part of it.

Iowa had 8 drops on Saturday. That is about 1 in every 5 passes. It wasn't just one player either. Davis, Fiedorowicz, Martin-Manley, Weisman, Shumpert, Bullock, and Hillyer all had a drop. It's a team problem.

Vandenberg has had his share of execution problems too. He's lacked a little touch, made a few bad decisions, and hasn't looked all that comfortable in the pocket (which is in part due to the offensive line's pass protection, or lack thereof).

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