Kirk Ferentz and his team kick off the season in approximately 47 hours (assuming this is posted at noon, help me out here if it’s not plz Max and Ben) inside Kinnick Stadium. We know the insides-and outs of the roster, the schedule, and every other aspect of the season.
As we continue to countdown the clock by the second, let’s take a look at the best case and worst case scenarios for Iowa’s 2016 season.
All of that talk of a letdown season goes out the window following another 9-0 start and clinic put on by Desmond King and Josey Jewell on defense. Any “question marks” are answered as James Daniels and Jay Scheel come into their own on the offensive side of the ball, keeping C.J. Beathard out of harm’s way and giving him a steady target alongside Matt VandeBerg and George Kittle, the latter of which scored six touchdowns against Northwestern on Oct. 1, the same day Gary Barta decides to allow alcohol sales in Kinnick.
In the contest against the Wolverines, the Hawks get out to an early lead after a deafening crowd plays a big part in Brandon Snyder’s pick-six and Akrum Wadley’s 25-yard touchdown grab. The scoring shuts down for two quarters until Michigan manages six to start the fourth, but the Hawkeyes put an end to any doubt quickly with 17 points in 5 minutes, locking up a 10-0 start. From there, wins against Illinois and Nebraska are pieces of cake as the second 12-0 season in school history happens in as many years.
Ohio State looms in the Big Ten Championship as Phil Parker throws enough at JT Barrett to keep him confused while Jewell and King prove to be too much for the conference MVP. After winning the CFP Semifinal, the Hawks get Stanford in the championship game and hold Christian McCaffrey to 10 total yards, all of which come in garbage time while Iowa’s celebrating. Kirk Ferentz tries to give a speech as he’s presented the trophy, but as no words come out, a Hawk majestically lands on his shoulder, whispers something in his ear, and suddenly he’s inspired to give the most memorable postgame speech ever. ‘Rock On’ blares as C.J. accepts all of his hardware. Paul Finebaum explodes. Kittle is drafted by the Patriots and rivals Gronk in everything on and off the field, creating an excellent season of Hard Knocks. Desmond King is the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, and Kirk’s statue is the largest of its kind in the western hemisphere.
You’ve heard about that knee brace Beathard will wear this season, correct?
#Iowa QB C.J. Beathard will likely wear the knee brace for the entire year for precautionary reasons.— Derek Young (@DYoungScout) August 30, 2016
In this horrible, cruel world, that knee brace is the sign of a larger issue, one that hinders him from being useful on the field, therefore leaving Kirk with the decision of playing an ineffective quarterback slowed down by injury or playing a backup with virtually no experience. A loss Saturday against Miami is a huge kick in the gut, as is one to Iowa State the week after. Rather than piling up the Ws and creating goodwill amongst the fan base, the joy of 2015 is quickly forgotten and the longtime head coach’s seat gets warm, with Gary Barta inexplicably throwing lots of shade his way in a November presser. Angered by the way his dad’s been treated, it’s no guarantee the heir apparent, Brian Ferentz, will take over should Barta fire Kirk.
As that soap opera plays out, the Hawks lose a heartbreaker to Michigan and Jake Rudock takes over the Kinnick A/V system, rubbing the loss in the face of 70,000 drunk, screaming fans. Fueled by the rage of a Hawkeye loss and divided due to President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton the Tuesday prior, chaos ensues as multiple Anchorman-esque brawls begin in the seats. Whelan Security collectively shrugs and leaves because, hey, what are they going to do?
To make matters worse, Tommy Armstrong throws six interceptions two weeks later in a game played at City High (Kinnick’s still in bad shape), but the Hawkeyes manage to find a way to lose despite the takeaways. The only saving grace is Colin Cowherd’s inability to troll the Hawkeye fan base because of his show’s cancellation due to 0.0 ratings all season.