I can feel it coming in the air...
No this is not a Phil Collins tribute concert, it is me getting excited again for another fast-approaching season of football.
I know it is coming because my heart is beating faster, my hands are a little bit sweaty and I have the sudden urge to hit something hard.
This must be what my old man feels like when he steps into Menards.
Oh how I miss T.O.'s antics, Madden's inaudible play calls and the smell of a freshly cracked Coors Light at Lot S6 in Ames. The flaming grills, dancing pom-pom girls, marching bands, long-distance bombs, zig-zagging runs, pancake blocks, instant replay, unsportsmanlike conduct, blimps, pom-pom girls, sideline interviews, post game wrap ups...
Excuse me a second, I'm getting a little emotional.
It is almost too much for a man like me to handle. I can't wait for it to get here. I wish I had Doc Brown and a flux capacitor in my Grand Prix so we'd be there tomorrow.
Unfortunately I don't have either of those things so my time traveling will be limited to those moments I take in my head at work listening to my Huey Lewis and the News greatest hits album.
(For all of you out of the know, those were all references to the '80's movie classic "Back to the Future" starring Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties)
I'm seriously excited for my Vikings to kick some major butt this year - without the inevitable let down of years past - and I know that college football in the state of Iowa is going to be a blast.
I can tell that you all are anxious to know - "What's Cheap Seats predictions for this college season?"
Relax my babies, the time has come.
I could save the best for last but it goes against everything I've ever been taught or believe in to place Iowa before Iowa State in anything, including preseason forecasts.
The Cyclones finally have themselves a nice draw when it comes to schedule this year. They open with Illinois State and Iowa at home then travel to Army and Nebraska. They come back home for Baylor, travel to Mizzou, host Okie State then go south to battle A & M. November concludes the season with home games against Kansas State and Colorado before traveling to Kansas for the last game of the year.
Iowa State will go 8-3 this season including big wins over Iowa, Okie State and Mizzou. The Cyclones will suffer losses to Texas A & M, Colorado and Nebraska.
The Cyclone offense is going to be explosive with QB Bret Meyer coming back after an impressive freshman year and 1000-yard running back Stevie Hicks has his back in the backfield.
Record-setting freshman Todd Blythe is back healthy after a knee injury and is reportedly faster than ever at receiver along with Jon Davis, and ex-QB Austin Flynn has found his way to the first string.
Defensively, the Cyclones will be solid with returning starters Brent Curvey, Nick Leaders, Shawn Moorehead and Cephus Johnson on the line. Jason Berryman, Big 12 freshman of the year in '03, is back after a short stint in the Story County can to step in up front as well. Experienced senior Tim Dobbins will anchor the linebacking corps while LaMarcus Hicks and Nik Mosier will shine in the defensive backfield.
The biggest weak point for the Cyclones will once again be special teams and the kicking game and McCarney needs to shore up that offensive line to give Meyer and Hicks the help they need in the Big 12.
Take that to the bank and reserve your Alamo Bowl tickets.
Iowa's biggest obstacle this season is getting over all that preseason hype created when they won the Capital One Bowl over LSU.
Does it bother anyone else that the only reason Iowa is getting hyped is because of Nick Saban's pitiful pass defense and an Iowa clip gone unnoticed as time ticked away in the bowl game last year?
OK, OK, maybe that's not the only reason. Having a legitimate stud at quarterback may be a good reason to put Iowa at the top of your list this year, but let's not make a habit of it.
Drew Tate will be the key to Iowa this season at QB after a remarkable sophomore season and if things go right, could find himself on a ballot or two. More than likely, this season will just be a precursor to a big 2006 Heisman campaign.
I'm not yet sold on the Hawks stepping up their running game from the dismal display of last season which saw walk-on Sam Brownlee lead the squad with just 227 yards on the season.
I mean, they will improve in that area, but they have nowhere else to go but up. Marques Simmons could take the ball and run with it along with Damian Sims. Brownlee will be in the mix but won't lead the team again - if he does they are in trouble.
Ed Hinkel returns as a capable receiver along with Clinton Solomon while the offensive line will be another strong point with seven men returning with game experience.
Seniors Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway lead one of the top groups of linebackers in the country for Iowa this season while an inexperienced front line will be a weak spot for a defense returning just five starters.
The Hawkeyes start the season off against Ball State at home before traveling to Ames. They then host Northern Iowa, travel to Ohio State, host Illinois, travel to Purdue, host Indiana and Michigan before facing Northwestern and Wisconsin on the road in November. They end the season at home against Minnesota.
Look for Iowa to go 8-3 or 7-4 this season depending on the Michigan game in Iowa City (too close for me to call). They will be good, but I find it hard to believe they will beat Ohio State and Purdue on the road. Mix that in with a tough loss to Iowa State and they'll find themselves in the Sun Bowl.