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The Comment Bag: Credit Where Credit’s Due

Did Iowa lose the game or did Wisconsin win it?

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

You know the drill. I write a little column, you submit your questions for this weeks bag in the comments or on Twitter @JerryScherwin. Since it’s a bye week after a loss, I expect big, big things from you all in hopes of drowning my pain.

I’m going to do something different. Rather than bash Brian Ferentz and Kirk Ferentz and Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Nate Stanley and the entire defense and Kyle Groeneweg, I’m instead going to congratulate Alex Hornibrook and the Wisconsin Badgers for walking into Kinnick Stadium and figuring out a way to win a football game they desperately had to win to keep any hopes of a playoff push alive.




I know. I know. I can go you know what in my you know where.

Despite the world briefly coming down on Saturday night/early Sunday morning (and maybe part of Monday as well), I’ll leave all of that to my guy JPinIC, who did a tremendous job going into all of that in his weekly Overreaction Monday column.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it’s been shocking to see and read all over the internet people neglecting the fact that Wisconsin did a lot of great things to be in that position to win. It’s not as if they didn’t make plays to win. It’s not as if Alex Hornibrook threw four picks and Jonathan Taylor fumbled twice. It’s not like the offensive line allowed six sacks. It’s not like Wisconsin is some deadbeat FCS team that stuck in this game much longer than they ever should have.

We lost to WISCONSIN. This isn’t something new.

Last I remember about the Badgers (before their shocking, down-to-the-wire loss to BYU) was that many pundits around the college football world pegged them as Ohio State’s direct competition to make the playoff.

I know they showed some of their flaws and some have tempered that point of view, but that doesn’t dismiss the fact that this is still an extremely good Big Ten football team. An extremely good Big Ten football team that many of you — the same people that are angry on the internet — pegged Iowa to lose to, might I add.

This is college football folks. Weird things happen. Weird things will continue to happen.

But pretending as if there wasn’t a solid as hell football team on the other side of that win is just wrong. Iowa had a game plan (a smart one might I add) to keep everything in front of them, stop Taylor from doing Taylor-like things and force Alex Hornibrook to make plays.

It was the lesser of two evils. And had we all been in on those meetings, we would’ve rolled the dice on Hornibrook too.

But, credit to him, he made plays when the plays needed to be made most.

Does that mean Nate Stanley should be benched for Peyton Mansell? Does that mean Amani Hooker should be replaced by Geno Stone permanently? Does that mean Brian Ferentz overall philosophy and football acumen is detrimental to this team?

Hell no.

Iowa got cute. Iowa wasn’t cute enough. Iowa should throw more. Iowa should run more. Iowa should recruit better. Iowa shouldn’t chase 5-star’s. Iowa should play more dime. Iowa should only play their base 4-3. Iowa should only play tight ends. Iowa should run more RPO’s.

Hindsight is always 20/20. But for everyone to only see the flaws in Iowa while completely ignoring the fact that they lost a tight game that was played in a phone booth against Wisconsin seems like, well, a complete overreaction.

Do I think Iowa is now out of the Indy picture? I don’t. I think it’s going to be very hard for the Badgers to get through their road schedule of Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and the shock jockey’s of the Big Ten, Purdue without another loss or two. That’s not a slight on them as much as it is on the Big Ten right now. Outside of Ohio State and maybe Penn State, anyone can come away with a win.

At the same time (and I know I’m the optimist on this site), it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Iowa to get healthy this week, tweak a few things in all three phases that desperately need tweaking and then hit the ground running next week against that clown, P.J. Fleck.

Just because we lost to Wisconsin does not mean that the Hawkeyes don’t bolster one of the deepest defensive lines in the country. It doesn’t mean that Nate Stanley still doesn’t do a lot of great things at the helm (including making the offensive line look good). It doesn’t mean that our secondary is below average. It doesn’t mean that we need to go back to fair catching every punt that comes our way.

That loss hurt’s most because it should’ve been a win. But Iowa didn’t just give it away. It’s not that simple. It never is. Wisconsin took it. Just like they've done six other times this decade.

Regardless of if we agree or disagree about this, I love you all.