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In Defense of Kirk Ferentz and the Dreaded Fact Sheet (With Some Help From an Old Friend)

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Okay, okay, okay. We have to talk about this Jenni Carlson column--and, by proxy, don't we? Hlas wrote about it, but let's be honest; the Gazette is not exactly a rock of journalistic credibility. (/mgo'd)

First, the back story. Earlier this week, the Iowa athletic department issued a missive to media members decrying the latest lazy narrative that Iowa didn't deserve their spot in the BCS or national rankings. While most writers responded with a typical guffaw and "wow boy these Iowa guys sure are dumb for trying to tell me what to think," Ms. Carlson took a (slightly) different tack. As she says:

The headline on his e-mail: GET THE CORRECT FACTS ON IOWA FOOTBALL

I don’t know about you, but that seems pretty demanding to me. Haddy writes, "It seems popular for national pundits to criticize the University of Iowa football team these days. Many have said Iowa doesn’t belong on the same board with Florida, Texas, Alabama, Cincinnati, TCU, Oregon or Boise State."

I have to admit — I stopped reading right there.

It wasn’t because the e-mail was whiny, although it was. It wasn’t because I’m not interested in Iowa, because I am. (I can’t for the life of me figure out how they’re still undefeated.) No, I quit reading because the person who should’ve received that e-mail instead of me was Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.

Just last week he said, "Realistically, I still have a hard time picturing us in the top 10."

Listen, if the coach of the team has a hard time believing that it belongs in the top 10, much less the national championship conversation, it’s going to be difficult for an e-mail from the PR office to sway me.

Strong words indeed.

Now, we could fisk her and point out the litany of logical errors in her column--like that it's not Kirk Ferentz's job to lobby in the media and that the coaches who do usually suck pretty hard at actual coaching--but we won't. We could also just plain call bullshit--like she doesn't care about Iowa since she's writing an entire post about our team--but we won't. We could even question her motive--perhaps what she really wants is the ability to publicly disagree with a prominent football coach of a team in the national spotlight instead of a faceless athletic department--but we won't.

Instead, we'll defer to an old friend of ours, who is a man, and of a certain age.

Iconbhgp_medium Welcome, of course, to Jenni Carlson's favorite coach in the whole world, Mike Gundy. Coach Gundy, anything to say?


Iconbhgp_medium --yeah, here we go.


.Iconbhgp_medium Um, wait. We haven't really started.

Icongundy_medium Okay.

Iconbhgp_medium So anyway, Coach Gundy, your thoughts on the notion that an athletic department and a coach can have divergent opinions on the quality of their team?

Iconbhgp_medium Aaaand the refusal to acknowledge Ferentz as the most conservative slow-player with the Big 10 press whose name doesn't rhyme with Schmaterno?

Iconbhgp_medium I was thinking we could use a folksy colloquialism like "he wouldn't call a nickel with a straight flush," but all right. Anything else you feel like saying about Coach Ferentz?

Iconbhgp_medium He... what? No he doesn't. I mean, like, he's respectful to the media and public, nobody's ever going to dispute that, but class? What class does Kirk Ferentz go to?

Iconbhgp_medium Garbidge class?

Icongundy_medium Actually, OPS, I'm just having a quick laugh to bring some levity to this situation. Obviously, when a football team finds itself #1 in the computer projections and #8 in national polls, there's a big gap between perception and data-based reality, and Phil Haddy probably never would have issued any public statement if he didn't have a coach like Ferentz--whose no-nonsense, football-first personality dictates seeing no value in engaging in the PR battle that dominates college football these days.

Icongundy_medium It seems like both the AD and the coach are doing their respective jobs, and Carlson's complaints don't seem like the type that would disappear if Ferentz took her advice--just complaints that would be replaced by other convenient complaints as the situation dictates. She's not the real problem here, the problem is a road date in Columbus that just about everyone in Iowa has been chalking up as a loss since the schedule came out.

Iconbhgp_medium Wow, Mr. Gundy. Anything else?

Icongundy_medium One more thing; although there may be too much nuance for the point to be well-taken, I feel like it needs to be said all the same.

Iconbhgp_medium Which is?

Iconbhgp_medium God, I walked straight into that one, didn't I?

Icongundy_medium I'M NOT A KID

Iconbhgp_medium Yeah, we're done here.

BHGP would like to thank Coach Gundy for nothing.