All across SB Nation’s college community, blogs are taking stock of the programs they write about and making predictions on what the next five years will hold in football. Some blogs might have a whole lot to say in terms of what might change for their program - they might see a new head coach, maybe they’re expecting a national championship contender, or maybe they might change conferences.
Not here at Black Heart Gold pants, though! As Iowa fans, we’ve become accustomed to things staying the same. Kirk Ferentz is signed through 2026 and Iowa probably isn’t going to join the SEC any time soon, so it feels like more of the same is in store for Iowa fans for the foreseeable future.
Of course, we’re not going to let that stop us from joining in on the fun. What do we expect from Iowa football in the next five years? Let’s find out.
Brian Ferentz will be real change.
This is probably the best place to start since Iowa has a brand new offensive coordinator. Iowa’s offense has essentially looked the same since Kirk Ferentz arrived in Iowa City all those years ago, but with the promotion of Brian Ferentz to OC, can we maybe expect some actual change on that side of the ball in the coming years?
My prediction? Yes. Things won’t be drastically different, but can things be much worse than they were under Greg Davis? It’ll be interesting to see what Brian envisions for the offense and how his philosophies differ from his predecessor. We already know that the new offense wants to use tight ends in the vertical passing game more often, but other than that? Obviously we’re going to expect to see a lot of your traditional power football.
I actually think Year One for the offense under Brian Ferentz is going to be the most interesting - how will the offense look with a young and unproven quarterback? Will he allow the starter to work out the kinks and air the ball out, or will they become overdependent on the ground game? Year One won’t decide whether or not Brian is a good fit as offensive coordinator, but it will certainly be telling as to whether or not he has the keys to the offense.
Peyton Mansell Dethrones Wiegers and Stanley
This is a bit of an overreaction to what we saw in the spring game, but after C.J. Beathard was able to unseat Jake Rudock as Iowa’s starting quarterback just a few years ago, who’s to say it can’t happen?
Both Tyler Wiegers and Nathan Stanley have seen some game action in their time as Hawkeyes, and even though it hasn’t been substantial playing time, the two haven’t shown a lot of flashes minus the drive Stanley led against North Dakota State.
Enter Peyton Mansell. An accurate passer who can move his feet and keep defenses honest with his legs. This is exactly what Iowa needs - someone who can keep plays alive when the pocket collapses and has the ability to complete the short passes that we’ve grown accustomed to in recent years.
Mansell definitely passes Wiegers on the depth chart. Will he be able to become the starter while Stanley is still enrolled? Well, given some time, why not?
Iowa finally paints the water tower and puts a Tigerhawk at midfield.
I had a friend a while back tweet at me that there might be a time in the not-so-far future where the water tower that has long been a part of the Kinnick Stadium Experience™ might one day be torn down. Now, I don’t know if this has to do with the hospital or what have you, but that would be something akin to a travesty.
I pulled out NCAA11 the other day and was playing as Iowa. Low and behold, that water tower was just sitting there. White. Boring. Nothing on it. I mean for godsakes my hometown of Marion came up with a trash logo to put on all their water towers and Iowa City can’t even put a damn Tigerhawk on that tower. Even Coralville. Coralville! Has stuff on their water towers. Drive to any small town in Iowa with a water tower and you’ll see it as well. This is making me heated, guys.
Anyways, I think sometime in the near future the Hawkeyes will also get a Tigerhawk at the middle of the field. Perhaps it will happen when Iowa replaces the turf at Kinnick Stadium. Who knows, really.
The ‘Iowa Way’ Mutates
With the promotion of Brian Ferentz and the hiring of Tim Polasek, Iowa introduces the ‘slightly-shady-win-at-all-costs-but-only-within-the-rules’ style of the Patriots and the mauling, clockwork style of the Bison into its DNA. This creates a brutally efficient offense that runs on talented, albeit scrappy and somewhat unconventional, recruits who exploit X’s and O’s like rogue computer hackers. The consequence? Iowa becomes a perennial Big Ten Title contender but the NFL pipeline dries up. The program produces several Eric Crouch types each year that fizzle at the next level but achieve immortality in the basements of crusty, old Iowa fans who say things like “we used to cook everything with lard and I turned out just fine.”
Punting stays winning
If there’s one thing I respect about Kirk Ferentz over all the other things, it’s his desire to stick to what he likes to refer to as ‘fundamental football.’ Iowa takes advantage of special teams and defense to give itself field position. You know what? It works. Ferentz gets his teams to do certain things well and it’s how he believes the game should be played.
I respect it and really see no reason why Kirk won’t continue to do that. While the new facilities have definitely contributed to the uptick in recruits with a little bit of pizazz to their name, Iowa’s never going to be a school that sees 4 and 5 star recruits on a regular basis. It just won’t be. That’s how it is. But the thing that sets Iowa apart is its commitment to the obscure parts of football and looking for any advantage it can get against its opponents. That might be a bit hyperbolic, but seriously, along with developing unheralded talent, it’s one of the things Iowa continues to do best.
I have very little doubt it will change.