Alright, listen. I’m not here to piss in your Cheerios or entice you to give away your tickets to Iowa’s late November matchups against Minnesota or Illinois. I’m here to steady your hand. A voice of reason in these troubled times of Fake News, fad diets and Area 51.
Come with me, to the land of tempered expectations and football-free Saturday afternoons. A land where eight wins, a pork tenderloin sammy with a cold Hamms is more than enough to keep me from thinking about the new car my neighbor has sitting in their driveway.
So here’s why we can’t have nice things:
1. The schedule
Let me break it down in simple terms. Iowa is staying Iowa, while everyone else is either staying the same or getting better. Wisconsin is probably regressing but also probably not because Wisconsin.
And we can do this thought experiment not by looking at who Iowa is playing, but when.
Miami the Lesser: Why is this game at night? The first game of the year needs to be at 11am and hidden away from women and children while the Redhawks keep this game close for at least 51 minutes.
Rutgers: Remember when an injury to Rutgers’ only offensive player of consequence was what kept Iowa from losing in Piscataway in 2017? Me neither.
Iowa State: This year very well could spell legit, like, the best ISU team ever. Even the fifth-year seniors on the Cyclone roster haven’t tasted victory over Iowa. This team is MADONLINE and while a loss to Iowa State won’t dash Iowa’s B1G hopes, it’ll set the table for disappointment. Soups on!
@ Michigan: Kirk Ferentz hasn’t won in Michigan since 2010, when Rich Rodriguez was trotting out a sprinter to play QB. Iowa couldn’t even beat Brady Hoke with a quarterback who would go on to start for Michigan two years later. Jimmy H won’t survive a home loss to Michigan AND another loss to Ohio State this year so we got Dr. Lactose coaching for his life right now.
Penn State: If we didn’t beat Penn State in 2017 or ‘18, it ain’t happening in ‘19. Third time’s a charm doesn’t happen in the real world, sweetheart.
Purdue: And now things get hairy. How do you think Iowa is going to play against Purdue after Michigan and Penn State?
Jeff Brohm lives in between Kirk Ferentz’s ears.
@ Northwestern: Jeff Brohm allows Pat Fitzgerald to use his condo in Kirk’s head once a year. It’s a weird timeshare deal.
@ Wisconsin: If Iowa never beat Alex Hornibrook, what makes you think it can beat a 19 year old who stole his job?
See that above there? That’s four consecutive games against teams Iowa lost to last year. We’ve seen this movie before and it STINKS.
Minnesota: Iowa will win this one.
Illinois: Yeah this too.
@ Nebraska: Iowa ignores the opportunity to go up three scores in the third quarter for the second year in a row and it finally bites them in the ass.
Damn, I think I just talked myself into a 5-win season.
B. The lack of a run game
Iowa has approximately zero 1,000-yard rushers on its roster, and likely won’t break that streak if we can’t decide who’s going to be running behind an interior line that will have 7 combined starts between three players.
All of Iowa’s truly great teams have had elite rushing offenses and sorry buddy that just ain’t happening here. They say if you have two quarterbacks you have none, and the same goes for three running backs. If Iowa can’t decide on which guy they’re gonna give it to before they fumble it away or run into a pulling guard, then Nate Stanley is gonna get all trigger happy.
Every year I’m losing more and more faith in Brian Ferentz as offensive coordinator. His days as run game coordinator in 2015 are a flickering candle of a memory. I’m sick of being so good at predicting Iowa’s plays. It’s put up or shut up time for BF and I’m ready to put my money where my mouth is.
IV. Let’s go back to that
So I know some other guy yesterday was singing Nate Stanley’s praises, but he conveniently omitted some facts about our quarterback:
- 1-6 against ranked teams.
- 5-5 on the road.
- The above clip.
I friggin’ love Nate and I want him to break all the records in the world but let’s not treat his senior year as a given that he’ll turn a corner.
And oh yeah Iowa’s two leading returning receivers had a combined 800 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. Nate Wieting, Iowa’s projected starting tight end, had 2 catches last year. Fullback Brady Ross had twice as many catches. Let’s calm down.
Five: The defense will be great but it won’t matter
Because this team won’t score points.
I’m sorry but this is 2017 written all over it. That team allowed 19 points a game and last year’s allowed 18. And those teams won 8 and 9 games. I’m not hung up on Anthony Nelson or Amani Hooker leaving early for the NFL, I fully trust this defense will reload and be salty.
But will it matter?
Heroics on defense won’t get you much if your offense can’t find the end zone, and I think I made it pretty clear that it’s gonna be tough sledding in that department.
AJ Epenesa could be leading a defensive line that has shades of Clemson’s from last year, but that team had a Heisman caliber quarterback leading the way. Kinda depressing that you need a generational talent at quarterback to fully realize the potential of four generational talents on the defensive line.
So to recap:
- This is Iowa.
- Iowa goes 8-5 every year.
- This year will be no different.
- Eat Arby’s.
And I didn’t even mention the punting!