Once again, the hate comes to the fore. We're about a week late with this, but Patrick Vint of Black Heart Gold Pants needed a week to calm down before answering my questions about the Iowa Hawkeyes. Here is what he had to say about Our Most Hated Rival
T-Mill: Consider this your official two minutes hate. Has the MOST HATED RIVALRY cooled any?
Patrick: Hell. No. The MOST HEATED RIVALRY IN ALL OF FOOTBALL remains white-hot. This all started, of course, when Iowa added a train to its gameday experience. Then Purdue stole from Iowa by adding a guy named Darrell, a total swipe at Iowa and its U.S.-leading population of guys named Darrell. We've now reached the point where Iowa is scheduling teams just because they are coached by former Purdue coordinators. If anything, the feud is escalating.
T-Mill: It seems like there might actually be some simmering fire under the Kirk Ferentz hot seat. Where do you see him at this time next year?
Patrick: Trolling the Iowa fan base by one again insisting that his team intends to compete for a Big Ten title. In normal circumstances, the sheer lack of talent and experience on Iowa's roster, especially at key positions like left tackle and middle linebacker, would probably lead to a 5-7 season and his firing. But Iowa's schedule -- no Ohio State, no Michigan State, no serious issues in non-conference -- is so bad that even a marginal Iowa squad could well go 9-3 or 8-4, and it's hard to imagine a circumstance in which Iowa fires a 17-year head coach who has just won 8 or 9 games.
T-Mill: Iowa looks like your middle of the road 6-6 team right now. What is the best case and worst case scenario?
Patrick: Best case: Despite struggling at home in recent years, Iowa holds serve in Kinnick Stadium less the obligatory September loss to Pittsburgh. They get a split against Wisconsin and Nebraska -- probably beating Nebraska in Lincoln over Thanksgiving weekend makes the most sense -- and road wins over middling competition from Iowa State, Northwestern and Indiana. At 10-2 (7-1), they get throttled in the Big Ten Championship Game, earn the second-place spot in the Rose Bowl when OSU goes to the playoff, and finish with an improbable New Years' Day win over UCLA.
Worst case: C.J. Beathard is injured in the first quarter of the Illinois State game, causing back-to-back ISU losses to start the season. What happens next is irrelevant, as Kirk Ferentz is a dead man walking the rest of the season, but a repeat of 2012's 4-8 finish isn't too far off. Iowa hires Pete Lembo to replace Ferentz in December, and Lembo's 7-5 bounceback first season earns him a 10-year, $40 million extension with a $30 million buyout. He then goes 7-5 in each of the next 10 years.
T-Mill: Has AIRBHG finally been slain since Mark Weisman finished his career safely? Who is next?
Patrick: AIRBHG has certainly been quiet as of late, but he's never had much to do with walk-ons; former walk-on halfback and current global badass Paki O'Meara was largely spared from his wrath, as well. As for who is next, junior LeShun Daniels earned the starting job over the offseason, then was promptly injured in the first practice of the year. He's expected to return next week, but it's all a prelude to the world's first compound ACL tear.
T-Mill: Is there anything terribly exciting about Iowa football this year?
Patrick: Nope. Nothing at all.
Well, one thing. Kirk Ferentz's insane buyout will be in the almost-affordable $10M range at the end of the season, meaning that, for the first time in more than a decade, there could be a consequence to failure. The 2002-04 seasons bought him five years of job security, and the 2009 Orange Bowl run refilled the tank. But there's absolutely nothing in those five years to make the decision to keep him reasonable save that buyout. And now the buyout (and the president you sent us seven years ago in one of the most dastardly OMHR acts of all time) isn't really there to save him. If Iowa goes 6-6 or worse, we could be looking at the second coaching search in my 35-year lifetime.
T-Mill: Do you have a prediction for when Purdue visits?
Patrick: Yeah. We're gonna build a big fucking drum. Like, a huge drum. And then we'll have the ghost of Buddy Rich play it or something. But the game is going to be excruciating.