So way back in August, when we were on the cusp of the college football season, this guy made some B O L D predictions. Some were spot-on. Most were not.
Hindsight, of course, is 20/20, but honestly I still feel good about a lot of the things I said. And given enough whiskey, I’d be willing to argue up some of these musings again! It’s too early to a call one or two of my predictions, but I feel good enough to revisit my words from then now, and show my ass to the whole world.
Let’s start with a wrong one!
1. Alaric Jackson will be the first Hawkeye taken in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Even if Jackson had played the entire season, he would’ve had to totally and completely outclass Tristan Wirfs, who was just named Big Ten offensive lineman of the year. I’m not ready to call the season a disappointment for Jackson outside the time missed due to injury, but I did have really high expectations for him this year.
The only way this becomes true is if Jackson is the only Hawkeye that declares for the draft this year.
Which I’d take, by the way.
2. Mekhi Sargent is going to be a second-team all-conference selection.
Oh boy what was I thinking? Sargent wasn’t even the best running back for Iowa this year, but to be fair, no one could have predicted Tyler Goodson’s emergence.
3. Geno Stone will be Iowa’s player of greatest impact on the defense this year.
I think you can make the case for Stone here, despite AJ Epenesa’s dominance down the stretch and Kristian Welch’s play. Stone was a ... rock for the defense all season long, played like a linebacker in the defensive backfield and I can’t remember him missing a single tackle.
Iowa’s defensive line is stacked with more-than-capable players, and our defensive backfield was a hodgepodge at times this year. I’m not sure how things would’ve shook out without Stone as the field general for the defense. But I know it wouldn’t have been great.
4. No Iowa player will have more than six receiving touchdowns this year.
I was right! Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith had 4 apiece. Iowa’s offense really was a lesson in coaching malpractice.
5. The Iowa-Iowa State game will have a hand in deciding the College Football Playoff.
Nope, but it’s fun to think about!
6. A loss to Iowa will cause an opposing coach to lose his job this year.
Chris Ash got canned three weeks after getting shutout by Iowa, so I’m not gonna blame the Hawks for that. Lovie Smith and PJ Fleck and Jim Harbaugh put together pretty good years, and they’re the other guys who I would’ve guessed were on the business end of this proposition.
7. LeVar Woods takes a job at another school unless he gets promoted after this year.
Probably not gonna happen one way or the other.
8. Nate Stanley is the first Big Ten quarterback taken in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Maybe! It’s between him, Shea Patterson and Brian Lewerke since Justin Fields isn’t eligible yet. Some guy named Walter has Stanley as the No. 11 best QB in the upcoming draft, which is the highest Big Ten signal-caller.
9. AJ Epenesa has a profoundly disappointing season.
I went back in the comments after writing this and said I wished I removed “profoundly,” but I think the only way you can label this season as a disappointment would be due to the fact AJE didn’t literally rip an opposing quarterback’s head off.
10. This is the year that will define Kirk Ferentz’s career at Iowa.
In a way, it does. It’s only the seventh nine-win season for Kirk, and would be the fifth 10-win season if Iowa comes out ahead in the bowl game. We saw KF make the same head-scratching decisions over and over again, and he’s still only beaten Wisconsin once this decade.
You could make the argument KF has done less with more recently, while his trademark has always been more with less. He’s left his son to mind the offense, and to say that’s gone with mixed results would be generous.
It’s tough to say Kirk will be defined by a 10-win season when there’s 12-0 and Orange Bowls to wax on about. It feels dumb to say that 10 wins this year will be mediocre, but I’m going to stand by it. For now.
11. BONUS PREDICTION!!!
The Big Ten will have a participant in the College Football Playoff, but that team will not deserve to be there over Notre Dame or the Big 12/SEC runner-up.
Clemson/Georgia/Oklahoma is going to absolutely boatrace whoever wins the Big Ten, catapulting the conversation for playoff expansion to new heights.
Yeah, this just ain’t it.