Pat Fitzgerald Intense-o-meter, Iowa

Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

The Northwestern Wildcats (6-2) barely lost to Nebraska last week, but have a chance to keep a strong season going with a win over their semi-rival Iowa on Homecoming.

So, Iowa, huh? This rivalry-ish(?) thing started when Northwestern kept coming into games against ranked Iowa teams, and winning for no reason. That kept going for a while, then we lost last year and it was officially no fun anymore. And now this year Iowa isn't ranked at all, not even close to a little bit, so, uh, where's the fun?

But on the plus side, it's homecoming! That means I have an excuse to come to Chicago and tailgate and drink and go to McGee's! I get to go to a football game at Ryan Field! I get to hear what songs the band has learned how to play! (My guesses: Holiday, Stacy's Mom.) I get to put my hands up in the air! I'm alarmingly excited. Mainly about McGee's, though. I'm thinking about figuring out a way this blog can be sponsored by McGee's.

Onto the meter!

Pat Fitzgerald INTENSE-O-METER reading:8.2

Symptoms include: emitting pheromones that cause chainsaws to anthropomorphize and attempt mating

Last week:8.5

The loss last week, was, well, a bummer. But luckily, Pat Fitzgerald hates nothing more than Iowa, and this is still a pretty big game. (well, they all are, but whatever.) There's four games left, and bowl bids and whatnot are up for grabs in every game, as is the now-flickering-but-somehow-not-dead hope of a Big Ten Championship game berth. (Read nuftw's summary of how it can happen.) The Nebraska loss was disappointing, but this team is still good - good enough that they almost won that game - and there's work to be done.

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