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The Five Stages of Hawkeye Depression

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Which one describes you?

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t have the greatest reaction to Iowa’s 38-31 loss at home against Northwestern on Saturday. I was in “fire everybody” mode for a lot of the game and a couple hours afterward. While I think that reaction is totally reasonable considering this is now the 3rd time that the Hawkeyes are falling far short of preseason expectations (2005, 2010, and now 2016), I don’t think it’s fair of me to call for Ferentz’s job and demand that he leaves Iowa City.

36 hours later, my head is in a much different place and I’ve realized that there are certain stages of Hawkeye depression that I go through after a tough loss like the one on Saturday. You might experience a similar kind of emotional healing. Which stage of Hawkeye depression fits you at the moment?

Denial

I don’t believe it (or just don’t want to believe it). I’m just going to pretend that it’s not over, that it can’t be over, that this team still has a chance to accomplish something. I’m going to write a Message to Hawkeye Nation to try to make everybody feel better. They’ll get their issues resolved in practice this week, beat Wisconsin and Nebraska, and then still go to the B1G Championship Game! It’s essentially all the same players as last year. Come on guys! We can do this!

Anger

FIRE EVERYBODY. Has somebody started a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay off Kirk Ferentz’s buyout yet? If so, can you send me the link? I’ll pay any amount conceivable so that I don’t have to watch that millionaire coach this team year-in and year-out.

We let Clayton Thorson throw THREE touchdowns on us? We let a team that was averaging 16.5 points per game to go off for 38 in our house? We gave up almost 200 yards rushing to a team that was averaging just 108 rushing yards per game? Seriously?

We can’t run the ball. We can’t stop the run. OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!

Bargaining

Maybe it’s my fault. Maybe I’m not as good of a fan as I’m supposed to be. Maybe if I start doing nice things for people more often and attending every game, then I will be rewarded with more wins by my beloved Hawkeyes. Maybe donating money to the University will give me the ability to go back in time and change the outcome of the game. That’s how the world works, right?

Depression

Is Iowa ever going to be good again? Are they capable of beating anybody? Why do I even bother watching this team play? The amount of frustration far surpasses the happiness it brings me. I’m stuck rooting for an average team with an average coach and average players who always underachieve when the preseason bar is set high. Watching this team play is almost a guarantee to ruin my day. I should just find something else to do with my Saturdays in the fall. Should I learn how to play the guitar instead?

Acceptance

It’s time to accept the fact that we are Iowa. We are not Ohio State, or Michigan, or Alabama, or even Wisconsin. They can’t recruit the big time players and coaches to spend 5 years in Iowa City. A 4-star running back just committed? That’s great! Oh, he de-committed already? That’s OK. We like the challenge of developing 2-star players anyway.

Even if we got rid of Ferentz (which we won’t), who would we get to replace him? It’s not like Iowa is a destination job. We happened to just get lucky to hire a coach who was willing to stay for 17 years. Once he is gone, we may just turn into Iowa State (or worse, Kansas). The expectation every season should be a 7-5 record with an appearance in the Music City Bowl. Hey, I heard Nashville is a lot of fun!

I’m obviously still emotionally damaged from the Hawkeye loss on Saturday. I can’t begin to explain why they aren’t what we hoped they would be. I’m not sure there is really an answer for it.

All I know is that I am going to alter my expectations that I had in the preseason. I want to enjoy the rest of this football season, and that is going to be virtually impossible to do if I expect Iowa to win the B1G Championship. You can’t expect that every year out of Iowa. The 2015 Hawkeyes were a rare team. The fact is that this team, for whatever reason, just isn’t very good. I’ve accepted that.