IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Greetings from eastern Iowa, where No. 5 Michigan State puts its undefeated record on the line against No. 18 Iowa.
It's a beautiful day for football with no rain in the forecast and fairly light winds. Halloween is in full swing here, and I saw quite a few people in costume last night walking around downtown. Some of my favorites: "The Situation," Bret Michaels, the sun from the Jimmy Dean commercials and two Avatars. Good stuff.
OK, back to football.
These teams have provided three of the Big Ten's most exciting matchups since 2007, and their past three games have been decided by a total of 12 points. Expect another close one today.
Many see today's game as the final barrier between Michigan State and an undefeated season. The Spartans' remaining schedule has home games against Purdue and Minnesota and a road trip to Penn State. They'll be favored in all three matchups. It's a different story today as the oddsmakers and most experts, aside from the stars of "ESPN College GameDay," are picking Iowa to win. I'm sure coach Mark Dantonio is using the underdog role as a way to motivate his team.
Iowa also has plenty to play for, as a loss likely removes the Hawkeyes from the Big Ten title race. If the Hawkeyes drop to 5-3, you can brand this season as a disappointment given the preseason expectations. Defensive coordinator Norm Parker returns to Kinnick Stadium today for the first time since his foot-amputation surgery late last month, so you know the Hawkeyes will be fired up to see Norm.
I've spent enough time on the Chris L. Rucker situation, but the Spartans cornerback decided to make the trip. He won't start, but could play today.
Michigan State receiver/return man Keshawn Martin and Iowa linebacker Jeff Tarpinian both have been battling injuries. I'll look out for them during warm-ups and let you know how they look.
That's it for now. Sit back, relax and enjoy. Plenty more coming from Kinnick.