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The Morning After — Northwestern

Iowa lost, and it’s rather frustrating.

Iowa v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Iowa did something on Saturday afternoon it hadn’t done in 10 years — start the season 1-3 in Big Ten play.

That year, it lost to Western Michigan 28-19 in the season finale and missed a bowl game. The Hawkeyes are on the same path this season, though thankfully they won’t see a directional Michigan team they’d probably lose to at the end of the season.

I give Iowa a 60/40 shot to make a bowl game this season. I have a bad feeling they’ll lose to Minnesota next weekend. I give them about a 70/30 chance to beat Purdue. They’ll lose to Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Which, of course, leaves a road game against a Nebraska team that hates us just about as much as we hate them.

Maybe Iowa will surprise me, maybe they’ll play something that resembles respectable offense. Maybe Josey will come back healthy. Maybe this, maybe that.

Maybe this has already been proven to be a trash rebuilding season, full of false hope and this idea something better will come along two or three years from now. I don’t know. My patience has thinned with this team and I hate waiting so excuse my exhaustion at watching Iowa play slightly above .500 ball.

I felt this exact same way last year after Penn State murdered Iowa in State College. Then they won three games in a row. Then they got embarrassed by a mediocre Florida team in the Outback Bowl.

It’s confusing.

It’s always confusing when it comes to Iowa.

Here’s a couple facts:

Rutgers and Nebraska have more Big Ten wins than Iowa.

Iowa State’s probably going to be ranked this week, and they’re going to be absolutely insufferable about it. Oh, and they host TCU this week in a game that somehow has incredibly huge Big-12 title implications.

Congratulations Kirk, you have me slightly jealous of ISU’s position in its conference.

That said, it could always be worse. On Saturday afternoon I watched a team I cover — Montana Tech, an NAIA school — break a school record for points in a 93-19 win over MSU-Northern.

The Lights (get it... Northern... Lights...) allowed the Orediggers to score 70 points on them earlier this year, which interestingly enough also broke the school record at the time.

So, yeah, at least we’re not screwing things up that bad. But I must say, it was (and has been, all this year) been frustrating to watch an NAIA team run a better, more complex, and more effective spread and RPO based attack than any kind of offense I think we’ll ever see at Iowa under Brirk Ferentz.

I guess I should probably talk about the actual game. I mean, I’ll spend today going through the film and trying to come up with some sort of reasonable explanation as to why this Iowa team can’t find an inkling of consistency on offense, but that wasn’t the only reason for this loss.

I think Marc Morehouse did a good job putting this into more eloquent terms than I’m able. The “Iowa is a sophomore tight end” metaphor is, I think, apt.

It certainly didn’t help that Josey Jewell and Brandon Snyder were both out.

Anyways, there certainly were some good moments and I really love the fact Nate Stanley was able to complete a deep pass.

He finished 19-33-1-223 with a touchdown pass in what I guess was an okay game for him. It didn’t help the Hawkeyes had an ill-timed case of the drops which made things even more difficult.

Akrum Wadley ran the ball 26 times for 90 yards which, again, I guess is alright. Ihmir Smith-Marsette had more rushing yards than Toren Young did which speaks to how Iowa’s approaching its running woes.

Which, you know, the bye week was supposed to fix. It didn’t. Though I don’t know what any of us really expected — Iowa was 2-7 in road games following a bye. They’re 2-8 now and it’s kind of impossible to just ignore that.

They’ve lost all of their bowls since 2010, and I find it kind of hard to think those two things aren’t at least a bit related. For whatever reason, time off and travel screws with the Hawkeyes and they haven’t been able to fix it.

When I was little there was a saying that was told to me that sticks with me to this day: “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”

There’s a couple different ways to take that, but in my head it was always this idea you just accept what happens and if it’s something shitty you just accept it and move on. In some ways, that’s almost how I feel as an Iowa fan.

We have a fine athletic program, a perfectly good school in a perfectly good location. It’s not elite athletically, but it’s respectful. We go to football games (think about it — we’ll never see a truly awful @EmptySeatPics of Kinnick) and we NOW fill up Carver-Hawkeye for basketball games.

Heck, volleyball even just set an attendance record for people at a match.

So, why do we accept mediocrity?

The Iowa athletic program has been nose-diving in recent memory. The historically great programs? Wrestling — hasn’t won a national title since the 2009-10 season and has only tied for a Big Ten title since. Softball — has gone 67-141-1 over the past four years. Field hockey — 6-10 this season.

Men’s basketball still hasn’t made it out of the second-round of the NCAA tournament under Fran McCaffery. In Lisa Bluder’s 18 years, she’s made the Sweet 16 once.

The only recent Big Ten champion outside of baseball’s Big Ten tournament win this year was the 2011 men’s track team. Wrestling tied in 2015.

Maybe I’m just conditioned to accept things as they are not try to make a big fuss. But, look, I’m sick and tired of the Hawkeyes falling short of their potential. I don’t really think firing a coach is going to change the majority of things I just mentioned. I don’t really have an answer, I’m just venting.

As far as football goes, I don’t think cleaning house solves anything. I don’t think Brian Ferentz leaving solves anything. I obviously don’t think Phil Parker leaving solves anything. Nate Stanley is young and the defense is young and the wide receivers are kinda young and the punter is young.

A good number of the people involved with the football program are, in some way, kinda new to what they’re doing.

I guess waiting it out is the only thing we can do, just like we’ve all done forever.

I don’t really have the answers to any of the questions I brought up and I wish I did. I’m just frustrated and it’s not just losing to a mediocre Northwestern squad that’s making me feel like that.

It’s everything else, too.

But, hey, things are what they are, right? Wouldn’t want to throw a fit.