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A Festivus for the rest of us!
Image from @KingsCowboyHat

It’s that time of year again, folks - the most wonderful time of the year. Tis the holiday season and ‘round these parts that can mean only one thing: the annual airing of grievances. For those of you poor souls who aren’t quite sure what that is, well….

TL;DR version of the video is this: There’s a made up holiday on December 23rd that stems from a Seinfeld episode. The crux of the holiday is out with commercialism and in with good old fashioned family, uh, fun. The holiday comes complete with feats of strength, an aluminum pole and of course, the annual airing of grievances.

We’ve got a lot of problems with you people, and now you’re gonna hear about it! So, as we did a year ago, we hereby commence the annual BHGP Airing of Grievances.

JPinIC: OK, OK, this year in Hawkeye sports has been, well, a roller coaster ride.

Last basketball season ended with some big time wins and renewed hopes of a trip to the NCAA Tournament. That was met with a total collapse against Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament and a second round loss to TCU in the NIT. Sigh.

The football season started with relatively low expectations, but after one of the better starts in a while and a QB who far outperformed anyone’s expectations, things were looking up. You know the rest.

Enter basketball season, where hopes were high among Iowa fans. Things got off to a rough start. Like, really rough. They appear to be headed in the right direction now, but damn.

Is it too much to ask for a little consistency from my Iowa sports teams? I mean, christ, Kirk Ferentz is supposed to be the definition of consistency. Instead we get the highest of the highs against Ohio State (and they can never take that away!) and follow it up with a home loss to Purdue. F*cking Purdue. Don’t give me that BS about Brohm and Purdue on the rise. I get it, I like him too, but that shouldn’t happen. Not this year, not ever. NOT IF YOU’RE EVEN CLOSE TO CONSISTENT!

Now, I could dive in for another 2000 words here on what, specifically, is making my blood boil, but I think if we polled our readers one of your top grievances would be the length of literally everything I write. So, instead I’m gonna hit you with some rapid fire.

Here we go:



How do you not replicate the gameplan from OSU to Purdue, or any other game for that matter?

What happened to the gameplanning we saw to start the year where we attacked what was given to us and adjusted game by game? We saw it against OSU, but outside of that we crammed a square peg into a round hole!

What’s it gonna take to get a timeout called in hoops?

Can we just once, run some semblance of a set play to end a half? You look so damn good out of timeouts, why not run one of those sets to end a half and actually get a bucket instead of a turnover?


Maybe practice some free throws?

And finally, PAINT THE DAMN WATER TOWER! It’s coming down soon anyway!

Hello Jerry: I feel like a lot of my pals here are going to dive into their issues with the actual product on the field/floor/mat. All of which will be justified and I stand by all of their individual grievances. With that said, I have a different issue. An issue I didn’t even know I had until Wednesday of this past week during the early signing period for recruits.

I’m not sure if any of you saw it or not, but Kirk Ferentz went on BTN and talked (or rather generalized) about the players our beloved Hawkeyes just signed:

Three things here:

  1. Do any of you really believe that Ferentz knows ANYTHING of substance about these kids? I get that these players have “impressed” you and that they have “tremendous demeanor” in your most humble opinion, but can you pontificate a little bit more on WHY? Maybe dive into what makes you so excited about your 37th ranked recruiting class? Serious question...Would any of you be shocked if Brian was standing behind the camera with SNL-sized cue cards with little bits of information about these high school players? I’ve literally never been more bored in my life listening to a coach talk about kids that can barely drive but hold the future of this program in their hands. Kirk, buddy, you just landed the Illinois and Indiana Gatorade Player of the year and got the No. 1 player in the state of Iowa to commit to YOUR school. CAN I GET A LITTLE EXCITEMENT OUT OF YOU? You don’t have to always be so Belichickian. You’re not giving away the farm by showing some general pleasure with the work you and your staff have done.
  2. The only time Kirk Ferentz smiled during that entire video was when he told the story about him discovering a recruit (of which he couldn’t remember what high school he’s from) on a 15” TV. A TV that surely has a VHS attachment on it. You make $4 million a year, can someone get Kirk a flatty?
  3. WOULD IT FREAKING KILL YOU TO SIGN OFF WITH A LITTLE “ON IOWA” OR “GO HAWKS”? It’s not hard to do. I say it every time I pass someone with a Hawkeye logo on their person. Do you know what happens when I say it? Glee fills the heart and soul of both parties. It’s a goddamned pleasure. Let us share in the Hawkeyes with you, Kirk.

BoilerHawk: While it might be easy to complain about the basketball team and their lackluster performance thus far, I’m really trying to hold off on my criticism of the (student-)athletes. It just seems wrong to hate on kids out there trying their best. They’ll care about the outcome of each game more than I’ll ever understand and work harder than I can fathom. (And this goes for football, too)

What I have no problem complaining about is Iowa’s offensive mindset of 2017 and fear that it will continue to be the same going forward. I mean, why would it change? It really hasn’t in the 19 seasons Kirk Ferentz has been the head man. But, it should. Here’s how last year’s regulation offense shook out:

First off, there’s more consistency in the Bitcoin market right now.


Now, one might say: 28.3 points per game in the Kirk Ferentz Universe is pretty good. And they’d be right. The 68th ranking is higher than all but one year since Brian has been on staff. But a slightly deeper dive tells a better story:

Taking away overtime and defensive points, as I did above, gets you to 25.5 points per game. 25.5 points/game ranks 85th in the country. Yuck.

Further, the median (exact middle) scoring output from the Iowa offense this year was 21.5 points, even if you include the defensive touchdowns. It was even worse in conference at 17 points per game. SEVENTEEN!

Now, I get that the offense and the (emerging) quarterback and the (all-time) running back were just cogs in the machine of every Kirk Ferentz football team. But for goodness sake, they have no business scoring less than 20 points in 6 of Iowa’s 9 conference games. Don’t be fooled by offensive outputs against a horrible Illinois team, a poorly-prepared Ohio State team, and a classic Mike Riley Nebraska outfit. Against Big Ten competition, this was a bad offense. BAD.

So, where do we stand going into next year? As I mentioned above, if Kirk wants his son to take over the family business (yes) to rollicking applause from the fans (probably not, but it’d be nice), Brian needs to demonstrate consistent competence. Competence for an offensive coordinator is running a unit which scores points. Lots of them. This means he needs to be unchained so we can better understand if he is actually good or being shielded by his father.

Next year, there are no more excuses of inexperience. Brian has a year under his belt. He’s worked a year with this staff. Nate Stanley has a year as QB*. The line loses only Sean Welsh. All the receivers are a year older.

*sidebar: how many Big Ten teams would prefer their QB situation over Nate Stanley? I count three, tops.

Also, Iowa’s defense could also be underwhelming. They’ll replace three linebackers, one of which was all-timer, and another Thorpe-nominated CB, I’m assuming. The line is only going to get better and I like what the leftovers of the secondary offer. But let’s be honest: to win, Iowa will need to score points. Lots of them.

Brian has shown he can be pretty good at this thing. He showed it against OSU and Nebby. I’ll even go so far as to say he’s better at drawing up plays than either Ken O’Keefe or Greg Davis.

2018 is the time to let him do everything he wants without Kirk-induced constraints.

Ben Ross: Let’s start with the obvious: Nate Stanley and Akrum Wadley are generational talents. Just complete world-beaters. Stanley will probably break or at least Chuck Long’s record of passing touchdowns in a season against Boston College. He threw four against Ohio State! And yet here we are, staring down the barrel of a seven-win season with TWO count em TWO unanimous ALL-AMERICANS on the defense. If I was Phil Parker I would calling up Nick Saban to see who’s filling Jeremy Pruitt’s shoes down in Tuscaloosa.

Akrum Wadley was managed more poorly than Chuck Grassley’s Twitter account this year. When James Butler went down it was run to the left with 8 men in the box, then again, then third and long. Rinse repeat. Akrum Wadley isn’t the best between-the-tackles runner. You know who’s pretty good? Toren Young! You know how many carries he got when James Butler was hurt? 10! And 8 of those carries came in garbage time against Northwestern Illinois! That’s right, for whatever reason, Kirk Ferentz decided the only running backs on the roster he can trust are a guy who’s been here four years and someone who transferred in July who had a bionic arm for the last five games of the year.

Why does Gary Barta still have a job?

I said this about Fran McCaffery last year:

Fran, I love you, but what’s with these late-season collapses my man? With all the reverse-Izzoing going on around here you’d think you made a deal with the Devil to swap places in March. Seriously, how can you peak in January, only to lose to Northwestern and Penn State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament and go in to the Tourney ass-first? You had a three seed locked up last year and fumbled that away.

Instead of late-season collapses we get early-season implosions! Everything else applies until I’m proven wrong. Which is never.

And finally, can we hurl everything WRNL-related into the fucking sun? Thanks.

Jordan Hansen: 809 days ago a Title IX complaint was filed against Iowa. 233 days ago Bruce Harreld announced a sweeping external review of the university. 214 days have passed since Iowa finished settling with Tracey Griesbaum.

I’ve seen very little ink about any of this since. Questions aren’t being answered. I guess that isn’t surprising when you have people like Chad Leistikow going out of their way to try and help with damage control.

We still don’t know what the result of the Title IX complaint (which brought federal investigators on campus) or this “external review” dragged up… that is, if said review even ever happened.

I never understood why he was allowed to stay after the trial verdict and settlement. I’ve been extremely clear how I feel about this. He disgraced Iowa and should have been fired.

There needs to be a change in leadership at the athletic level. Gary Barta has spent enough time screwing up some of the best programs at this school and needs to be replaced.

Speaking of which, why does Iowa softball coach Marla Looper still have a job? Once one of the best Hawkeye programs, Looper is 151-215 (.413) and haven’t had a winning record in the Big Ten since 2012.

Oh, and they’re 67-141 (.322) since Looper got a contract extension after the 2013 season. Basically once Gayle Belvins’ players were gone, the team started to fall into a black pit of despair that Iowa hasn’t (and probably will never) fully recover from.

I’m also annoyed Kinnick is being half torn down for luxury suites. It was a point of pride that the stadium held over 70,000 people and now it doesn’t. That’s stupid. Kinnick was fine the way it was.

Well, except for the product. I rewatched every game this year and I think what stood out to me the most is that you have to be a very specific type of football fan in order to enjoy what Iowa does on a consistent basis.

Speaking of rewatches, I dug out Tron: Legacy the other night and a thought occurred to me. Iowa football, in order to work consistently, has to be perfect. There can’t be very many mistakes, there can’t be a lot of irregularities and individual creativity isn’t really encouraged.

What makes other college football teams so fun is shuttered down at Iowa. Kirk Ferentz is trying to create a perfect system, but the system sometimes malfunctions and when the system malfunctions, well...

Perfection is impossible and when you base your entire offensive system around being perfect, it’s not going to work.

That’s not to say a team that plays imperfectly is going to have a better chance to win than Iowa, but that the single minded devotion to a system that has been proven as flawed perhaps is a problem in and of itself.

Also, I agree with Ben, burn WRNL to the ground.

Max Brekke: I get upset that Carver-Hawkeye Arena is a morgue, and that a 3,200 capacity arena in South Dakota is a better home-court advantage than that of a 15,000 seat arena. I’m upset that there’s a gold tiger hawk behind home plate at Duane Banks Field, as well as a black one in center field. I have a grievance with Nebraska fans, the worst collective group of people I’ve ever met in my entire life. I have a grievance with the people who call for the heads of head coaches at every chance they get. I hate when people tweet at recruits and student-athletes.

To repeat my sentiment from last year: nothing matters in the grand scheme of things. Act accordingly.

Rob Donaldson: First off, I’m a football guy, so I’ll stay on the subject of football with this write-up. Last year with this thing, I chose to call out Iowa’s lack of freshness, innovation, ability to adapt, and the sense of complacency surrounding the coaching staff, the team, and even the fan base. However, in many ways, the program made serious strides in the right direction last season, in my opinion. Whether be featuring younger players, experimenting with different ways to get playmakers the ball, and even, at times, fresh decision from the coaching staff regarding not only personnel but playcalling as well.

With that said, as the Hawkeyes stare down the barrel of another seven-win season and a trip to the lowly Pinstripe Bowl, the question still remains as to why this program can’t cement itself as a top-25 team year in and year out.

Is it a problem of location? Coaching? Recruiting? I don’t know the definitive answer. With that said, in the past 10 years, we’ve years of greatness (2009 & 2015) mixed in with three eight or nine-win seasons (2008, 2010, 2013, & 2016). In addition, we’ve seen the Hawks compete and even at times win against some of the nation’s most highly regarded teams over the years, whether it be in 2017 against Penn State and Ohio State, 2016 Michigan, 2015 Michigan State, 2013 Ohio State, and the list goes on… So why is it that after of years of success and demonstrating the ability to play with the nation’s best can the Hawks not find a way to get over the hump and cement themselves as an undeniable top-25 program year in and year out?

That’s the question that drives me crazy regarding this program. What will it take? Will the Hawks ever reach that point as a program? As a lifelong fan, I hope so.

So, now that we’ve had our shot, what about you, dear reader? What grievances have you? Hurry up and get this over with, we gotta get on to the feats of strength!