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Overreaction Monday: It Was All A Dream

A week ago against Ohio State, it all seemed like a dream for Hawkeye fans. This week, the dream turned into a nightmare against Wisconsin.

Iowa v Wisconsin Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

“I’ve wracked my brain to come up with the perfect cliche to open with. You know, some catchy one-liner to break the ice. There are so many possibilities, and yet none of them do it justice.

Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.

There was no beer inside Kinnick Saturday, but it sure seemed like heaven.

The Hawkeyes blacked out the Buckeyes.

Iowa fans blacked out Kinnick, Buckeyes look to black out memory of Hawkeyes.

Nobody dots the “i” for the script Ohio, Hawkeyes prefer all caps I-O-W-A.

Seriously, I could go on for a while here, but the words just don’t do it justice. Really, there are no words. What we saw Saturday evening was beyond belief and completely out of the realm of possibilities any remotely rational Hawkeye fan had heading into the affair. It was unbelievable.

Did anyone else wake up Sunday morning, feeling not at all rested by “extra hour” received Saturday night to bask in the glory of the game and have the surreal feeling none of it was real? I thought you might. Me too. It was an entirely unbelievable experience. Dream-like. And like most of you, I awoke Sunday morning disoriented by the time change and confused about the reality of the prior day’s events.

But, at 6 in the morning I was still scrolling through the jubilant tweets from Saturday night. The Facebook posts full of friends and coworkers rushing the field were still in my timeline. And there was the DVR with the most recent recording showing a game from the day before. I had no other option - I had to give it a watch. Early morning with the infant be damned, I needed to ensure this wasn’t just some sleep deprivation side effect.

The DVR never lies. But even after fast-forwarding to the end, I was still in shock. I read the quick recap. I read the Morning After post. I watched the whole game in 60 minutes on BTN before I had even gotten out of my PJs reality started to set in. Maybe this wasn’t a dream? Maybe this was real life? Maybe the Hawkeyes did the unthinkable?

But we weren’t talking about your average, run of the mill Kirk Ferentz magic against a superior opponent that Hawkeye fans have come to know and not always love. If it had just been another take down of a top-5 opponent inside Kinnick after muddying things up and hanging around for three and a half quarters, I would have awaken happy and knowing full-well it actually happened. That’s not how I felt, but because there was no such muddying of anything Saturday. Instead, we saw an absolute trouncing of an Ohio State team planning on another trip to the College Football Playoffs.“


-record scratch-

That was a week ago. Seven short days ago. It was sheer elation around Hawkeye Nation and like the rest of you, I was basking in it. Honestly, I was basking in it most of the week. I can’t tell you how many times I watched at least a portion of last week’s game or one of the myriad highlight tapes floating around the interwebz. It still seems like a dream. I want to act like this Monday is still last Monday.

I suppose that’s why Saturday’s display of football just doesn’t carry the same sting you might expect. Like last week, it doesn’t seem real to me. While the Ohio State game was a dream, I’m quite certain the trip to Madison was just a nightmare and any minute now, I’m going to wake up in a cold sweat and see there’s no way Iowa only mustered 66 yards of total offense in an entire game.

Like a week ago, it’s not necessarily the outcome that makes everything so unbelievable, it’s the details. It’s the 66 total yards of offense. The 25 rushing yards on 26 carries. The 8 completions on 24 passes. It’s the 5 first downs all game. The 0 first downs in 13 third down attempts. It’s the 50 total offensive plays run. It’s forcing 4 turnovers, including to interception returns for a touchdown and still getting absolutely NOTHING going offensively.

These are beyond frustrating numbers. They’re mind boggling.
Stats via espn.com

It’s mind numbing. There are no words. I’ll be honest, I didn’t even watch the end of it. I turned the damn thing off midway through the third quarter. I checked in twice after that and decided there was no point wasting any more time or any more gray hair. It had to be a nightmare.

But alas, it’s not a nightmare. It’s life as a Hawkeye fan. It’s the inevitable letdown the moment everyone gets their hopes up. It’s the complete domination by a rival in front of a national audience the moment the nation takes notice of little ol’ Iowa.

It’s frustrating. Not necessarily that it happened - it was going to happen and might as well get it out of the way - but at how it happened. To have Josh Jackson, after his national coming out party a week ago, haul in two pick-sixes and get absolutely no backup is frustrating. To have the defense, outside those turnovers, get manhandled for 60 minutes is frustrating. To have an offense that executed so well just a week ago get so completely stuck in the mud is beyond frustrating.

Look, I get it, Wisconsin runs a 3-4 defense. It’s a little different than what the Hawkeyes have seen so far this year. They run it really, really well. So well it’s incredibly difficult to prepare for in a given week. But 66 yards? That’s 220 fewer than Illinois. ILLINOIS! I mean, if Illinois can muster 134 rushing yards against this defense, there is literally no excuse I can think of for 66 total yards.

Coming down off an emotional win. Letdown game. On the road in a tough environment. Weird scheme. Opponent playing for the playoffs. Yada. Yada. Yada. I don’t want to hear any of it. It’s pathetic and this team is better than that. Better than the drops, the missed blocks, the bad snaps, the awful punts - better than all of it.

But that’s life as a Hawkeye fan. Will they come back and win the next two now? Probably. They’ll probably get slated into some mid-level bowl against an opponent who’s not much better than them and get utterly dominated again. Because that’s life as a Hawkeye fan. And I’m over it.

At least basketball is here to serve up some hope. There will no doubt be some bumps in the road for them as well. I’m incredibly nervous about the lack of backcourt depth. We saw some long stretches without much offense when Jordan Bohannon and Isaiah Moss weren’t on the court with freshman Connor McCaffery out due to injury. Brady Ellingson is a serviceable player and good shooter, but he isn’t exactly dynamic and the offense stagnates with him at the point. Maishe Dailey has shown some flashes of potential, but he isn’t close to being ready to direct the offense.

And with all that, this team is a ton of fun to watch. They’re exciting, even in games against a pair of nobodies. They’re averaging 93.5 points per game, and that’s with those long slumps in there. They drill threes, hammer dunks and get out and run. They are, in summary, the opposite of the football team from a personality perspective in every instance except that Ohio State game.

So despite the struggles we’ve seen out of Fran and the hoops team come March, I feel more confident putting my faith in a turnaround there than on the football field. There will no doubt be moments of sheer elation. A week ago was one of them. But there will be times we collectively turn the game off in the third quarter. I can’t say the same about Fran’s team. I hope I never do. I hope the Ferentz family can change my mind.

And I hope you have a better week than this guy.

Happy Monday. Go Hawks. It’s hoopy-ball season!