6-1 feels like a long damn time ago.
Backtrack three weeks and a trip to the Big Ten Championship seemed more than possible for the Iowa Hawkeyes. The College Football Playoffs weren’t out of the realm of possibility. Some even thought this might be one of Kirk Ferentz’s greatest-ever teams.
And now we’re here.
The fanbase is blaming the refs for this weeks loss to Purdue (which is ironic because it’s something we say that Iowa State fans do all time time), blaming Brian Ferentz (partially true), blaming Phil Parker (probably less of his fault than it seemed) and blaming Kirk Ferentz going for two points on two separate occasions (there’s a whole argument to be had there).
Blame to the players (though not Nate Stanley, I thought people wanted him benched last week!?!) and the freshman corners (I mean they are freshman, this was going to happen eventually) and a whole host of other things. Much of this is even justified! It’s just, now...
...we’re back to where we have always been.
A few wins at the beginning of the season is enough to give most Iowa fans a bit of fleeting hope. Maybe THIS is the year we have another special year. Maybe THIS is the year that’s the start of a really nice stretch. Maybe THIS is 2002. Maybe THIS is 2009. Maybe THIS is 2015.
But, it’s not. It’s another 8-5 season. Maybe 9-4 if we remember how to play football, though that’s hardly even for certain — Northwestern looks good and for all the shit talking we’ve done about Nebraska, karma is probably going to give the Cornhuskers the win that will give them the 2019 TEAMS TO WATCH cred they so desperately want.
I don’t know where we go from here. I really don’t. I guess we wait until next year to have that classic season that has just barely escaped our clutches. We put on a happy face, think ‘ope, that’s alright, we were close’ and continue on in our lives as we watch the team we love put together yet another above-average season.
At least we’re consistent. I mean this all would be wildly disappointing if we went 1-11 one year and 13-1 the next. Who wants that?!?!?!
I suppose this is just the price to pay for loving a school that thrives on expectations but — and this is important — doesn’t get too caught up if things don’t go exactly as they could have in the best-possible simulation.
It’s been like this for the last 40 or so years and there’s nothing that’s going to change this now. We are who we are.
A football team that will wildly disappoint and wildly overachieve. A football team that lets us simultaneously believe and give up hope at the same time. A football team that is so incredibly frustrating for reasons that are — and yes, you can admit this to yourself — that are sometimes hard to understand.
OH it’s (some thing) and (some thing) and (some thing) and if (this) or (this) or (this) were changed, everything would be good. We’d finally be good for more than one year at a time.
It’s just not going to happen.
We’re Iowa and we always will be.
Some good, some bad, but mostly just mediocre.