Kirk Ferentz appears to have finally come to the all-too-real conclusion that his Iowa career is at a dreadful crossroad. He wasn't convinced before the Pitt game but he is now. This explains why Stanzi is the starter next week. Northwestern has become the pebble in the hand for Ferentz. It didn’t start this way though…Ferentz began the season coaching as though it were his son’s little league baseball team, and he had volunteered to help the youngsters. "We’ll just hide the clumsy kid in right field,” he thought. But this is not that world. Naked and undisguised is the college quarterback. Thus he is, and must be, an extension if not the pure embodiment of his coach, his system, and his psyche, indeed his football worldview. The college quarterback and head coach need each other to survive. And they must become one for the team to move forward. That Ricky Stanzi was the man for this job from the outset was too plain to see; so obvious was that fact it was undetectable to Ferentz. Marshall Mcluhan once said we don't know who discovered water, but we know it wasn't the fish. But, lift that fish out of water and suddenly…well, you know the cliché. But it is apt.
So the divorce is final now. The family can begin the healing process by beating the living snot out of NU. And Iowa has its savior now because Ferentz finally found his inner Hayden Fry. Fry understood the stakes, always. He knew when to hold them, when to fold them and when to walk away from the guy who couldn’t lead his team down the field against inferior competition. By doing so, Ferentz might have just staved off a cruel ending for this team and even his career at Iowa by going with Stanzi. Iowa will likely win 8 or maybe even 9 games now but not due to any Stanzi brillance, merely because of his ability to get the job done. But Stanzi is a diamond in the rough and he will improve markedly next year when Iowa might even challenge for the conference. JC will move on after this season to have better days. And Ferentz, meanwhile, has reawakened to that which was always there: Stanzi, the Manzi.