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Overreaction Monday: Iowa Football, Basketball Can’t Get No Respect

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The members of the Big Ten media released their pre-season rankings for football. They didn’t love Iowa. Some others ranked basketball. They hated Iowa. What gives?

Maryland v Iowa
Is it so much to ask for a little respect around here?
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Well, here we are. Another weekend has come and gone and we are right back where we started: Monday morning. And you know it wouldn’t be Monday without a little overreaction. And it wouldn’t be Iowa athletics if we were getting any respect. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Big Ten media days kick off today (for those of you wondering, Kirk Ferentz takes the stage at 1:15 CT) and that seems like a good place to start. Last week the Cleveland Plain Dealer released their annual poll of media picks for the team finishes in the Big Ten, as well as several player rankings. Not surprisingly, Ohio State is the favorite in the East and Wisconsin in the West.

What may be a bit surprising is how things are projected behind Wisconsin in the West. Specifically, the media picked Northwestern to finish second (and five members actually picked them to win it) and Nebraska to come in third. I’m not sure who the two people choosing them to win the division were, but I assume they were Omaha and/or Lincoln writers who pay more attention to recruiting rankings than actual performance on the field.

Here’s the full rundown of the West.

BIG TEN WEST

All voters ranked teams one through seven and could include ties. Points were assigned on a reserve basis, with seven points for first place, six for second and so on.

1. Wisconsin, 259 points (31 first-place votes)

2. Northwestern, 219 (5)

3. Nebraska, 176.5 (2)

4. Iowa, 164.5

5. Minnesota, 131

6. Purdue, 57

6. Illinois, 57

For those of you who care about the other side, here’s a look at that as well. As I said, not much of a shock at the top. Michigan loses a lot and PSU has plenty coming back so I don’t have a problem with PSU at 2 and UM at 3. I’m not going to pretend to know or care about Maryland or Rutgers, but I do find it interesting that MSU is picked to be resurrected from the dead for a 4th place finish after that abysmal season last year. I guess I don’t know where I’d put them, but that was definitely something that made me go -insert thinking emoji here-.

BIG TEN EAST

All voters ranked teams one through seven and could include ties. Points were assigned on a reserve basis, with seven points for first place, six for second and so on.

1. Ohio State, 260 points (34 first-place votes)

2. Penn State, 231.5 (7)

3. Michigan, 192 (1)

4. Michigan State, 128

5. Indiana, 114

6. Maryland, 100.5

7. Rutgers, 38

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some really baffling picks. Exhibit A: the picks for defensive player of the year. Notice the name at the top of the list. Specifically, notice it isn’t Josey Jewell. Also of note, Jewel had more first place votes, but somehow finished lower. Some idiot didn’t include.* I hate Nebraska.**

PRESEASON BIG TEN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Players received three points for a first-place vote, two for second and one for third.

1. Tyquan Lewis, Ohio State DE, 61 points (11 first-place votes)

2. Josey Jewell, Iowa LB, 59 points (12)

3. Rashan Gary, Michigan DE, 23 points (3)

4. Tegray Scales, Indiana LB, 19 points (4)

5. Jerome Baker, Ohio State LB, 12 points (2)

6. Sam Hubbard, Ohio State DE, 11 points (2)

7. Jack Cichy, Wisconsin LB, 10 points (1)

8. Maurice Hurst, Michigan DT, 9 points (1)

9. Marcus Allen, Penn State S, 9 points

10. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin LB, 7 points (1)

11. Nick Bosa, Ohio State, DE 4 points (1)

*Note: I have no idea if someone actually left him off, but I don’t know how else this happens. I guess multiple people just ranked him egregiously low? Whatever.

**Note: I have no idea if it was someone from Nebraska, but I still hate them. And it probably was.

And now, for the slight to end all slights: the preseason picks for offensive player of the year. It’s not the top pick. I get it. Saquon Barkley is a stud. The Hawkeyes witnessed first-hand just how good that dude is. J.T. Barrett, very good player. Probably wouldn’t have put him at 2, but no major issues. Same with Trace McSorley and Justin Jackson at 3 and 4. But what I do have an issue with is who is noticeably absent on this list. Go ahead, take a look. I’ll meet you at the bottom.

BIG TEN PRESEASON OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Players received three points for a first-place vote, two for second and one for third.

1. Saquon Barkley, Penn State RB, 103 points (30 first-place votes)

2. J.T. Barrett, Ohio State QB, 59 points (5)

3. Trace McSorley, Penn State QB, 30 points (2)

4. Justin Jackson, Northwestern RB, 25 points (1)

5. Mike Weber, Ohio State RB, 2 points

5. L.J. Scott, Michigan State RB, 2 points

5. Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin QB, 2 points

5. Rodney Smith, Minnesota RB, 2 points

9. Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin TE, 1 point

9. Simmie Cobbs, Indiana WR, 1 point

9. Jamarco Jones, Ohio State LT, 1 point

That’s right, 10 players with at least 1 point, none of them are named Akrum Wadley. Akrum Wadley, who is on the Maxwell Award watch list, can’t even crack the top ten for the preseason offensive player of the year in the Big Ten. Again, no problems with some of these guys getting some love, but if you think Akrum Wadley isn’t better than every player from 5 (all of them) down, you didn’t watch a second of football in the Big Ten last year. And I could make an argument to put him in the top 3. I don’t know who the voting members are, but the fact not a single one of them thought Wadley was a top 3 player but thought Troy Fumagalli was? What do I need to do to get a vote?

The Hawkeyes can never seem to get any respect.
Via quickmeme.com

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the most egregious example of a complete lack of respect for the Iowa Hawkeyes. This one comes from the basketball world. Last week, CBS Sports released an early set of Big Ten power rankings. I’m going to save you the reading and hit you with the list:

1 Michigan State

2 Purdue

3 Northwestern

4 Maryland

5 Minnesota

6 Wisconsin

7 Penn State

8 Michigan

9 Indiana

10 Iowa

11 Rutgers

12 Illinois

13 Ohio State

14 Nebraska

Suffice to say the good folks at CBS apparently haven’t been watching any of the Prime Time League highlights or reading this fine site. I mean, I get the league is going to be loaded this year. I have no qualms about Michigan State sitting at 1. They return a ton, including a stud in Miles Bridges. Similar thoughts on Purdue. I could argue Minnesota should probably be higher, though I think they inevitably disappoint (the talent is there on paper, which is what you do these ranking from). But I don’t think there’s anything in there anywhere close to as egregious as that Iowa ranking.

Here’s what they had to say about Iowa:

The Hawkeyes also are looking for a sophomore bump. Jordan Bohannon leads the class and should get help from Tyler Cook and Cordell Pemsel to offset the loss of Jok (19.9 ppg, 38 percent 3-point shooting).

You all know the hype we’ve been building by now. Sure, Iowa loses one of the best pure shooters I’ve ever watched live in Peter Jok. But they bring literally everything else back. They add a pair of 6’10” freshmen who can play inside and out. And all those freshmen who were integral parts of the roster last season are now sophomores. Jordan Bohannon, you know, the guy who did this to Wisconsin?

Iowa v Wisconsin
Yeah, you may remember this.
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Yeah, he’s back and he’s a year older. And he’s apparently added a floater to he arsenal. And in case you forgot, he’ll be joined by fellow Big Ten All-Freshmen Team member Tyler Cook. You may remember him as the guy dunking all over every rim in the conference and staring down All-Big Ten players after he puts them on a poster.

But that’s just two of the sophomores. The Hawkeyes also return the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in the conference in Nicholas Baer. The guy is literally the embodiment of Iowa. Always overlooked, not considered big enough, fast enough or strong enough, but always doing the little things right and flat out beating people considered better than him. But even the Baer Cage got enough respect to get some recognition. The Hawkeyes as a whole ain’t gettin’ no R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

No, despite returning everything except Jok from a team that was a blown call at Minnesota away from yet another NCAA Tournament appearance under Fran McCaffery, the Hawkeyes are picked to drop 2 spots in the conference standings this year. Worse yet, they are picked to be passed over by Indiana and Penn State. Pennsylvania effing State. I just don’t get it, guys.

Here’s a look at the final standings last year:

Via bigten.org

And as our guy BoilerHawk pointed out in a really great post back in May on the returning production in the conference, Iowa is behind only Minnesota in terms of what they have coming back.

Returning KenPom Figures

Team Record Conference 2017 AdjEM (KenPom) B1G Margin/100 Poss Maximum Continuity
Team Record Conference 2017 AdjEM (KenPom) B1G Margin/100 Poss Maximum Continuity
Minnesota 24-10 11-7 16.00 3.4 87.26
Iowa 19-15 10-8 10.48 -1.2 85.60
Ohio State 17-15 7-11 10.20 -3.9 81.32
Northwestern 24-12 10-8 15.82 2.5 79.78
Penn State 15-18 6-12 7.30 -5.7 78.96
Michigan State 20-15 10-8 15.51 2.9 77.98
Purdue 27-8 14-4 23.12 11.6 75.22
Indiana 18-16 7-11 14.49 -3.1 66.26
Maryland 24-9 12-6 14.33 5.6 61.46
Nebraska 12-19 6-12 5.13 -8.3 54.88
Rutgers 15-18 3-15 2.22 -15.7 52.48
Michigan 26-12 10-8 23.05 8.4 43.62
Wisconsin 27-10 12-6 22.99 7.8 38.98
Illinois 20-15 8-10 11.31 -3.6 33.64
KenPom $

Like I said, Minnesota should probably be higher. Iowa is getting seriously disrespected. This team will finish top 8 and make the tournament. I expect them to finish closer to the top 6, but a really tough conference could mean some bumps along the way. At the end of the day, perhaps it’s better to go under the radar this year and burst onto the scene come January/February, but it gets old always being on this end of things.


Oh, hey, weird, here’s some footage of one of those 6’10” incoming freshmen I mentioned above. Yeah, they probably won’t contribute much or really be able to compete in the Big Ten. (GIANT EYE ROLL)


One guy finally getting the respect he deserves is former Hawkeye and current Green Bay Packer DT Mike Daniels. If you follow the NFL at all you know Daniels has been making a name for himself of late, appearing in the last couple NFL Top 100 rankings and absolutely destroying people in the NFC North (sorry Bears fans). What many people may not know, and I certainly didn’t until my Twitter feed starting being infiltrated last week, is Daniels isn’t just a massive human being who is good at football, he’s also really into ComicCon.

Like, really into it.

But Daniels wasn’t the only former Hawkeye participating. Former OL Adam Gettis got in on the action as well.

These guys seem to be having a ton of fun with this. Good for them.


We talked a few weeks ago about the insane amounts of food new OL coach Tim Polasek was feeding his guys. This week it was the WR groups turn to eat together. As you might imagine, the grub wasn’t nearly as abundant or spectacular. What is of note, to me, is that new WR coach Kelton Copeland needs to look into his eligibility. Good lord that man is jacked (he’s the one standing in the back left that looks like he could line up at TE right now).


Speaking of big dudes, new OL Tristan Wirfs continues to show he is really good at being strong and throwing things. I assume an ISU DL is basically a hay bale, right?


In other offensive linemen news, 2019 commit Ezra Miller tried out for a position change over the weekend. He’s sticking on the line.

Gotta love seeing these guys have some fun and it’s great when you catch a glimpse of them with a sense of humor. Good stuff.


And finally, let’s take a moment this Monday to just appreciate what we have coaching our various teams here at Iowa. I mean seriously, we may complain from time to time (all the time), but between Kirk Ferentz, Fran McCaffery, Tom Brands, Lisa Bluder and Rick Heller, we have a pretty damn good group of coaches in the major sports. We joked about it last week, but we don’t have to worry about reading that one of them is resigning for calling an escort service. And we don’t have to come across stuff like this on Twitter:

At least not until 2026.

Happy Monday people. Go earn that respect. Go Hawks!