Well, today's the day! Hard to believe that it's already New Year's Eve, but here we are!
With kickoff happening in about 6 hours, I will keep this preview short. If you read over my Q&A with The Daily Gopher, I think it tells us a lot about our opponent. So what about our guys? What should we be looking for? Below is the list of 5 things I will be looking for tonight:
1. How will Austen Arnaud, and the passing game look? On the radio last night, the players kept saying how Arnaud is finally grasping the offense, and has looked great in practice. That's awesome! I want to see it in a game though. If our offense can get going on all cylinders, that is huge!
2. How our running game will look? Alexander Robinson is as healthy as he can possibly be. The offensive line shouldn't have any issues. I'm hoping for a big day from A-Rob. If he can run for 100-150 yards, it's a good sign.
3. What will our defense do? To me, this is a big question. Minnesota, like ISU has struggled a offensivley at times. Still though, with so many practices and time for guys to get healthy, you gotta wonder. Minnesota has a big O-Line, and they also run some wildcat with their other QB. Will our D-Line be able to get pressure on the QB? They really haven't all year, but perhaps the fact that these guys are undersized, they might be able to get around a bigger and perhaps slower line. Giving Burnham 3 weeks to come up with a game plan, I'm curious if we mix up coverages and blitzes.
4. How many names will the NFL network guys screw up? You know, we've got Austen "Arno", our former coach was "Dave McCartney" and so on. I hope it isn't embarrassing to listen to. I'm putting the over/under at 3 names.
5. Will our guys come ready to play? They are probably jacked, but sometimes being too jacked can hurt you. It can cause some stupid mental mistakes. It's great they're excited, and they should be. But they also need to do what the staff is telling them, so they can finish with a winning season!
Right now, I have faith in the coaching staff. I want to believe that the offensive will be improved, and may actually click tonight. I want to believe that the defense will come up with a solid gameplan against the Minnesota offense, and that we may see some guys step up in ways we haven't all year. People keep preaching these extra practices. I want to see how they translate on the field.
I hope everyone in Tempe, or back home watching the game like me, has fun. The first bowl game in a while. The schedules get harder in future years, and while it's hard to predict what will happen, going bowling is definitley possible, but not a lock.
My prediction: ISU 24, MN 17. I changed it from when I did a Q&A with The Daily Gopher. I just believe more and more that ISU will be prepared, and play one of their best games of the year. I think Minnesota has more talent in some places, but I think they come out flat playing in the same place the 3 of the last 4 years. Honestly, most people from Minnesota could care less about the game, including their fans, and I could see that carrying over to their team.
Lastly, be safe. It's New Year's Eve, a time when everyone likes to have some fun. That's great, but we also want to see you around for 2010 and beyond as well!