KIRK FERENTZ HAS AN NFL MENTALITY. His team has already locked up the Big Ten West Division title and a trip to face the winner of the Big Ten East in Indianapolis on December 5th. With all that lies ahead, should Ferentz and company consider keeping his lineup healthy and rested for the biggest game of the season against Michigan State, Michigan or Ohio State?
Sure, there's this little matter of the College Football Playoff and Iowa's chances at the top four tonight when the rankings are released on ESPN. A loss at Nebraska is a gamble but it's just Nebraska. They're (1-4) in the division and (3-4) overall with a win over lowly Rutgers and cheated to beat Michigan State in a once-in-a-lifetime fluke win. The Huskers are the worst team in the Big Ten West having lost to Purdue, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Illinois and did I mention Purdue?
Iowa had Purdue on the ropes in the fourth quarter in an easy 40-20 win in Kinnick Stadium as Iowa moved to 11-0. Second team members got some work against Purdue and held them out of the end zone. In fact, Marc Morehouse tracked second team reps on the defensive line and Matt Nelson and Faith Ekakitie had 25 or more snaps each. Iowa's second unit held their own against the same Purdue that put 55 points on the Huskers. Iowa's second unit could easily take the Huskers to the wire and pull out a road win in Memorial Stadium.
Perhaps, like most NFL teams that have a playoff spot locked up, expect the starters to get at least a series. C.J. Beathard is 12-0 as a starter over his career and another start in this easy win will push him to 13-0 even if Tyler Weigers takes a majority of the reps. Weigers took command of the offense at Northwestern when Beathard left due to injury and moved Iowa down the field kill the clock. He looked competent against the Cats, yet another team that beat Nebraska.
Iowa has big fish to fry and Nebraska is not a big fish. They only matter in the eyes of the Husker fans and Iowa should focus on what lies ahead. Still, it'd be nice to get that 12th win and finish the regular season at 12-0 but let's all have faith that even Iowa's second and third team can beat this non-factor of a team.