I say that realizing the Hawkeyes will be playing in a 107,501 seat stadium known as The Big House.
I say that realizing Michigan, with a 6-1 season record and a 3-0 Big Ten record, has a pretty good team.
I've been in The Big House for games more than a dozen times, and it's not as intimidating as people think.
For my money, it's not the toughest stadium for a visiting team to play in the Big Ten. Ohio State has that distinction.
Ohio Stadium is louder. With a big game on the line, it's more of a challenge to win there than at Michigan Stadium.
One other thing. Michigan's Lloyd Carr is a decent enough coach, but rarely is he referred to as being a giant in the industry. An old Bobby Stoops he isn't. A young Forest Evashevski he isn't.
That's my way of saying I think Iowa's Kirk Ferentz,who is on his way to being named the Big Ten's coach of the year, can easily hold his own in X's and O's against Carr.
The Hawkeyes (7-1 and 4-0) have already demonstrated that they're legitimate Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl contenders. Sure, they played only one good quarter of football Saturday while beating Indiana, 24-8, and, sure, they didn't perform particularly well against either Purdue or Michigan State in the two preceding weeks.
But this is an Iowa team with talent on both offense and defense, and it's the most surprising in the Big Ten. I don't think the Hawkeyes have yet played their best game of the season.
It could happen Saturday in Ann Arbor.
[My prediction: Iowa 24, Michigan 21]
Iowa Now Higher than Iowa State in Polls
Those crazy polls.
Iowa State, which handed Iowa its only loss, 36-31, on Sept. 14, is now below the Hawkeyes in both the Associated Press and coaches' polls.
The Cyclones are ranked No. 17 by the AP after being No. 9 last week and No. 18 by the coaches after being No. 13 last week. Iowa is No. 13 in the AP poll after being No. 15 last week and No. 14 in the coaches' poll after being No. 16 last week.
Iowa State took its big hit in the polls after seeing its record fall to 0-47-2 against teams ranked in the top 5.
End of the Neat Air Force Story
It would have been a neat story to have Air Force beat Notre Dame, but most neat stories end when reality surfaces.
Air Force has no business being on the same football field as Notre Dame. Air Force's players are preparing to fly F-16 jets and protect the world. Notre Dame's players are preparing to play football on Sunday.
With a 7-0 record under first-year coach Tyrone Willingham, it's obvious Bob Davie, who preceded him in the job, is right where he deserves to be in the ESPN television booth.
With the talent Notre Dame has, it's hard to believe Davie had a 5-6 record in 2001. But it's not hard to believe that Davie was fired.
And for all the Notre Dame haters out there, they'll have to depend on Florida State to beat the Fighting Irish on Saturday.
It's going to happen.
It Costs Plenty to Use ‘f' Word
Be careful what you say.
Specifically, what word you say.
Rev. David Mumm of Des Moines e-mailed me a story about Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus being fined $5,000 by NASCAR for using the "f" word in a post-race interview.
In a post-race interview on TNT, Knaus used the word to describe his team's plans for the rest of the season.
He was penalized under a section in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series rule book that says: "Actions detrimental to stock car racing—use of improper language."
Vol. 2, No. 79
Oct. 20, 2002
Ron Maly's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org ]