Yeah, he's a backup. Right...
Fun With Depth Charts. The ongoing doghousing/benching of Run-DJK has been one of the summer's most self-sustaining storylines. Since spring practice, The Hyphen has been listed as co-second string wide receiver despite underclassman numbers that, when extrapolated over a four-year career, would make him arguably the greatest wideout in the history of Iowa football. He has more career receptions than the combined total of the other wide receivers. To see depth chart after depth chart list him behind a converted quarterback with one career reception has been disconcerting, to say the least.
The authority figures finally came before the media, and the question has finally (sort of) been asked. Morehouse sums up Ferentz's thoughts on this year's crop of wideouts. The results are less than surprising:
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked if depth chart matters at this point.
"I don’t think so," Ferentz said. "[DJK]’s played, played a lot and played well. We’ve got at least 25 days before we get into game preparation. There’s a long way to go."
Call me crazy, but this looks like the motivational device that we all felt it could be. This is not the first time Derrell has been "benched" in the most literal sense of the term; he technically didn't start until week 5 of his freshman year, and he entered last fall as a backup before taking the top line in week 1. I'd be shocked if he's not starting on September 5.
In other wide receiver news, there's a distinct possibility that Keenan Davis could work into the rotation as a true freshman:
This is a spot where a true freshman could find his way to the field, Ferentz said. Iowa signed four potential wide receivers in the 2009 class — Keenan Davis, Stephane N’Goumou, Jordan Cotton and Josh Brown.
During Big Ten media days in Chicago, Ferentz was asked if he could definitely say that Davis, perhaps the most accomplished of the group, wouldn’t redshirt.
"I’m not saying that yet, but we’ll definitely keep the door open for Keenan and will let all the freshmen have an opportunity," Ferentz said. "If they can help us win, we’re playing for today and not next year."
Morehouse reads between the lines and thinks this is as close as we'll get to an admission that Davis will play this year. I'm not so sure, but I've always thought we'd see Davis in one capacity or another. With only five returning letter-winners at receiver (and one of those being Don Nordmann, who won't play in any significant capacity), and even with McNutt playing at a high enough level to warrant some consideration, Iowa will likely need at least one freshman wideout to provide depth. Davis has long been considered the most polished of the incoming receivers, and seems most likely to play.
The Prosecution Rests. Last week, there was much teeth-gnashing and hair-pulling over the fact that Michigan State was chosen third, behind only Ohio State and Penn State, in the media's preseason Big Ten poll. While we agree it doesn't make much sense, we generally think preseason polls are stupid and most sportswriters are even stupider, so we let out a hearty ROFL and ignored the argument.
Turns out we were right to wait, because the right honorable gentlemen at The Rivalry, Esq. made the argument for us:
Despite being a full thirteen spots behind Iowa in Rival's Preseason 120 countdown, the sports media picked the Spartans to finish third in conference - ahead of the Hawkeyes. This, the same MSU squad that lost its top rainmakers, and left spring ball with a gigantic question mark at quarterback. Iowa, by contrast, boasts a seasoned signal-caller in Ricky Stanzi. What gives?
Well, for one there's Mark Dantonio. Members of the media syndicate see what he's done in two short years at Michigan State. Smart, cold, and disciplined, Mr. Dantonio exudes the poise the underachieving Spartans have lacked this decade.
But the real reason for the media's show of confidence is Michigan State's supposedly favorable schedule. They get Michigan, Iowa, and Penn State at home, and they won't see the likes of Ohio State. By comparison, the Hawkeyes have to play away at Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. No fun.
But should that really be a deal-breaker for Kirk Ferentz's squad? Did the media get it right?
In short, no.
Law Buckeye (who now might be my favorite Ohio State fan on the planet) takes on the schedule argument, and slays it with a trident known as logic, reason, and statistics:
But is Iowa's schedule really that much tougher? Consider this likely scenario: Michigan State loses to Iowa and Penn State, and Iowa loses to Penn State and Ohio State. Both teams are tied in conference with two losses a piece. What else is left on their plates in the way of challenge?
Iowa plays at Iowa State, against Arizona, and at Wisconsin. All three are manageable games.
Michigan State, by contrast, plays at Notre Dame, at Wisconsin, at Illinois, and at Minnesota. They can win all four, but they're just as likely to go two for two.
Thus, the most likely scenario is Iowa is a two-loss team in the Big Ten. That's best case for MSU who will more than likely be a 3 loss team in conference (and a 4 loss team overall).
I think the only flaw might be in the likelihood of Iowa winning at Michigan State, considering that the home team has won that game since the dawn of time. With that said, there is no doubt MSU's non-conference slate looks more formidable than Iowa's, giving the Hawks the advantage in any tiebreaker scenario. (Anyone else feel weird discussing a potential tiebreaker between MSU and Iowa before a game has been played? Yeah, me neither.)
His Mom Knew He Would Be a Professional Stalker. Basketball recruiting expert Van Coleman (who has the perfect first name for someone making a living on college basketball recruiting, the only business creepier than both college football recruiting and the Thai sex trade), is "meh" on The Todd's 2009 haul:
Iowa’s 2009 recruiting class ranks among the nation’s top 60 classes, Coleman said. Iowa signed two posts — 6-foot-9 Brennan Cougill and 6-8 Devon Archie — which Coleman said should provide immediate help.
"I think Devon Archie is going to be a kid who gives them some athleticism, a shot blocker who can score around the basket," Coleman said. "Something definitely they haven’t had was anybody who could really intimidate anybody coming to the hoop in the last year or two. I think he will be able to make people think about their shot. That’s going to be a plus for them.
"Brennan Cougill, I think down the road can be very, very good. He’s got an excellent set of hands. Nobody is going to be Cyrus Tate before the injury, I don’t think this season, but maybe a year from now we’ll get that kind of production."
"I think Cully Payne is an adequate replacement who could end up being a four-year starter for them. He’s somewhere between Jeff Peterson and Jake Kelly, I think as far his abilities. But he’s still a freshman. I think that’s a tough spot too put any freshman into.
"I think, all in all, when you look at it, they have to feel like it was a good, solid class," Coleman said. "But it didn’t fill all the holes."
Not exactly a glowing endorsement for a class that was cobbled together out of newspaper and chicken wire. Let's just hope "between Jeff Peterson and Jake Kelly" doesn't mean Cully Payne will give us all the streakiness of Kelly and the turnoverability of Peterson, before transferring halfway through his junior campaign.
- It's another day of pointless ratings on The Worldwide Leader, where Rittenberg says Iowa has the best defensive secondary in the conference, and ESPN's countdown of the "most prestigious programs" places the Hawks #30, three spots ahead of Minnesota and all of their history and tradition.
- The oddsmakers put Iowa's odds of winning the BCS Championship at anywhere from 60:1 to 90:1. Florida, which is the overwhelming favorite at about 2:1, might actually be underrated.
- The Motor City Bowl, played in a city where they no longer make motors, is in talks with Little Ceasar's to become (I'm not making this up) the Little Ceasar's Pizza! Pizza! Bowl. This would be the first bowl game named after a specific pizza commercial, riding on the coattails of the first bowl named after a pizza website. (By the way, be sure to read Mark Hasty, who was the first Iowa blogger of prominence and might be the sole voice of reason left in the blog nuclear winter that is AOL Fanhouse).