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AN OPTIMIST’S GUIDE TO THE IOWA FOOTBALL SEASON

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SUNSHINE AND ROSES AND NATE STANLEY TUDDIES

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

PREVIOUSLY: a pessimist’s guide to the Iowa football season.

Hello it is I, Ben Ross, your cheery, happy-go-lucky, sunshine and roses managing editor.

I am here to tell you all about how Iowa is going 10-2 in the regular season this year.

I am not sure why you need me to do that for you, since it is so plainly obvious.

But seeing as how I’m a nice guy and don’t think any of you have parents who also happen to be cousins, I will do my best to outline all the reasons why you should be at least as optimistic as I this upcoming season.

Let us start with the most obvious reason: the schedule.

If you are unaware of how 10-ply Iowa’s slate is this year, allow me to enlighten you:

There are literally two games on that schedule I could reconcile a loss: Wisconsin and Penn State. The rest should be gimmes.

And no, I’m not knocking on wood.

To give you another idea of Iowa’s joke of a schedule let me present you with some numbers:

77-62. That is the combined record of Iowa’s 2018 opponents from last year (excluding Northern Iowa).

And, well, shit I thought it was going to be a lot worse than that. 77-62 is actually really, really strong.

Well, when you throw out Wisconsin’s 13-1 and Illinois’ 2-10, you get 62-51 which is still pretty dang good.

Damn, maybe Iowa’s schedule is tougher than I thought.

No matter! Iowa has all-world quarterback Nate Stanley returning, and Iowa quarterbacks always improve in their second year as a starter. I mean this is well-documented history!

*Checks notes*

Wellllll at least Stanley has a crop of sure-handed, game-tested veteran receivers to throw to.

Of course the running back situation will be strong! I know our No. 1 running back only has 20 carries to his name, and has flirted with fumbilitis in the past... but that just means he’s got fresh legs to run behind our massive offensive line, a unit full of veterans and good decision-makers, who will surely assert their dominance when they are at full strength … in week two.

And oh boy, how about this defense!?!

Replacing not one but TWO all-Americans won’t be easy, but if anyone can, it’s Phil Parker.

Am I nervous that the three most-likely starters at linebacker have a combined 15 career tackles? NO! YOU’RE NERVOUS.

Am I nervous that our best interior defensive lineman is a converted end? Am I nervous our second-best interior lineman can’t tell the difference between a taxi cab and a police cruiser? Am I nervous that possibly our best defensive lineman overall ISN’T EVEN A STARTER?!?!

No. I am not, because everything happens for a reason, Kirk Ferentz knows what he’s doing and Brian Ferentz is most comfortable while perched upon a high horse.

And the defensive backfield. A presumed starter at safety is gone, probably because the competition behind him was so strong. Right?

Of course.

I have no problem whatsoever with relying on an 18 year-old to come in and contribute immediately, year after year after year. And neither should you. This is surely a sustainable model for building a cornerback room.

What perhaps gives me greatest optimism isn’t Nate Stanley’s hand cannon or Anthony Nelson’s death grip or Amani Hooker’s ball-hawking skills: it’s Miguel Recinos’ leg.

The guy went 11-13 on field goals last year! We’ll be fine, even if he apparently still may not have won the job from Keith Duncan or the other kicker who’s name I can’t remember and don’t care enough to look up. Sound kicking has never been pivotal to Iowa’s past successes anyway.

I’m not even going to get into the punting the situation. Iowa always uses punters as a weapon, last year was an anomaly and won’t happen again and if it does Nate Stanley will just be the full-time punter, OK?

Now there. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

There you have it, in plain English for all your fools to see: Iowa is going 10-2 because the schedule is a joke, Nate Stanley is a goddam gunslinger and because I said so. I can send you a dictated version to you as well to play for all your friends at your next ether frolic.

There is absolutely no reason for concern.

Now, where’s the gin?