The Iowa Hawkeyes: I wish people would remember that football is just a game at the end of the day. Seriously now. We're 6-2. A lot of teams out there would love to be 6-2. Yes, Stanley had a bad game at Penn State- but it's not like we were taken to the woodshed either. We had a wobble. We had a wiggle. These things happen. I think both this and Wisconsin were winnable games for us- but the thing with Iowa that people tend to forget is that blowouts are rare. When we lose, it's usually by a touchdown- maybe two. And in those seasons where the margins are close, it's often down to getting the bounces to fall our way, which happens in some seasons (see: 2009) and not in others. Apparently, this wasn't one of those seasons.
But still large sections of the fanbase melted down on social media over this loss. Hey, remember when we were all just happy to go to a Bowl Game somewhere warm in December? Can we get back to that feeling?
So here's what's left:
Away vs Purdue
Home vs Northwestern
Away vs Illinois
Home vs Nebraska
I don't see us having a complete collapse down the stretch. The defense and special teams have been just too good lately. (Hey, remember when our special teams sucked? Look at em now!) I think 3-1 or 2-2 down the stretch are probably the most likely possibilities, which would put us at 9-3 or 8-4- again, not a bad season, y'all. But I also think 4-0 is on the table too. Either way, I'm confident in the notion that we're going to finish with a genuinely good season under our belts with the foundation for a really good 2019 in place.
Adopt-A-Team: Trabzonspor is doing well! They're fifth in the Turkish Superliga table. Let's see what they've been up to over the last month or so:
W vs Kasimpasa
W vs Akhisar
D vs Buyuksehir Belediya Erzurum
D vs Antalyaspor
The win over Kasimpasa is a big one for points, as they're just ahead of Trabzonspor in the League Table. I'm guessing that the match against Buyuksehir was some kind of League Cup/FA Cup competition with a lower division team as I don't seem to see a Buyuksehir in the league table. (Also, this is probably the first time I've wished that I could speak Turkish.) They've got Fenerbahce and Besiktas in late November and mid-December respectively. They've already had a shot at the current league leader Basaksehir to start the season- they don't get them again until the end of January.
In short, I'm optimistic about these guys. They're doing great.
(Just as an aside: NEC Nimejen is sitting at 7th place in the Dutch 2nd Division table and last year's Adopt-A-Team Defensa y Justicia is at third in the Argentina Superliga table.)
Arsenal: Keep right on winning (or at the very least not losing.) Let's check it out:
W vs Brentford (League Cup)
W vs Watford
W vs Qarabag FK (Europa League)
W vs Fulham
W vs Leicester City
W vs Sporting (Europa League)
D vs Crystal Palace
Here's what's on deck for them:
vs. Blackpool (League Cup)
vs. Sporting (Europa League)
vs. Vorskla (Europa League)
I love that this team is so fun to watch all of a sudden. I love that they're not satisfied and that Unai Emery is constantly looking for ways to improve. They're more entertaining. There's a lot of season left, so you can't predict anything- especially with transfer windows opening in January and contracts to be negotiated and injuries that might happen along the way. However, all that being said: I think Top Four and a return to the Champions League is very much on the table. So far, they've given me no reason to think that won't be possible.
Liverpool will be the interesting game to watch- if they can come away with points of some kind- any kind off of that game that could be big. Really big. But it'll be a tall order. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep enjoying this season.
Vikings: I feel like the preseason expectations have slacked off a little bit- they dropped a horrendous game to the Bills, lost a close one to the Rams and kind of shot themselves in the foot and lost to the Saints. But they also beat the Eagles, Cardinals and Jets. Super Bowl contenders? I don't know just quite yet. Playoff bound? I'm comfortable saying yes to that. We'll see how they do down the stretch though.