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Iowa Football Stock Watch: Phil Parker Reigns Supreme

It’s time to position ourselves for the home stretch.

NCAA FOOTBALL: JAN 01 Rose Bowl Game - Stanford v Iowa
Snarky Kirk is on the buy list.
Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hi. Hello. It’s been a bit. Hope you’re enjoying your new found wealth. Wait, what do you mean you’re now flat broke after following my “advice”? Sir, this is an Iowa sports blog, not a financial adviser.

Regardless of that fact, we’re going to start our year-end reviews here and do as any good adviser might by re-examining our recommendations to-date with our rose-colored glasses to ensure we justify our pay (hint: we aren’t getting paid!).


If you’ve found a market to play these calls thus far, you have made a little bit of money following along here. Albeit, the key word there is probably “little.” So, let’s do our best to spin this to our advantage.

Sam LaPorta

We told you to get into the Sam LaPorta business back in mid-November after he had a rough go against Michigan State. At the time, he was coming off a 2 catch, 11 yard day but still had 13 total grabs and a team-high 128 yards. Since then, LaPorta has added 9 more grabs for 75 yards across three games.

Those aren’t great numbers, particularly as you’ve seen Shaun Beyer emerge as more of a playmaker than expected and LaPorta has yet to find the endzone, but you’re still net-net ahead given we bought the dip. Not great, but we’ll take it and might I suggest doubling down a bit here? Not necessarily for this year, but we expect better QB play in 2021 and Beyer will likely be gone. LaPorta should be integral next year given he’s already Iowa’s leading receiver this year.

Keith Duncan

This one is similar to the LaPorta call. Timing is everything. Has Keith been perfect this year? No. Is he going to win national awards? Maybe not. But we got in on him fresh off an 0-fer day against Michigan State. Since then, Duncan has missed three more field goals, but all were beyond 50 yards.

More importantly, the Kissing King has hit a total of 6 field goals in the last three games vs. 4 in the first three, and he remains perfect on the season on extra points. You didn’t hit a home run here, but you haven’t lost money and you got yourself some Apple shares at 52-week lows. Still OK adding to the position here if you can find solid pricing given Duncan is one guy rumored to maybe come back for an extra year.

Charlie Jones

I’m going to restate my prior caveat here: don’t read what I’m not typing. We sold Charlie Jones on the back of his punt return for a touchdown against Michigan State.


The sole reason was it’s hard to go much higher than that as a return man, particularly with Iowa getting starting WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette back the following week. That has really played out about as expected.

Charlie Jones has still proven to be a dynamic playmaker in the punt return game, on a similar level to ISM in the kick return game. He just hasn’t made any more house calls and his role on offense has been limited by the depth at the position. Getting out at the highs was a good move. Now, is it time to dive back in? Maybe!


Look, in the world of “investing” (or more appropriately, speculation), there are no losers. You’re never wrong. Maybe you mistimed things or maybe you had some bad info, but you weren’t wrong. Couldn’t be. And you’ll rarely find a money manager who will tell you straight out they lost you money. Sure you’re down year-to-date, but it’s all about the holding period, baby! Stick with us and we’re going to the moon!

So yeah, that’s where we are at The Pants Asset Management. Have we had some dogs so far? Sure, but they’re bound to go up! Here are some examples.

Spencer Petras

Did we say to buy Petras after the first two weeks? Yes, yes we did. Has he been better since then? No, no he has not. But look, unless he gets benched he can’t really go lower, can he? CAN HE?!?!?!

And let’s be honest, he isn’t getting benched. So, your options are to do some year-end tax loss harvesting and offset those gains we reminded you of above with a loss on your Petras shares, or you just ride this thing out and hope for something, ANYTHING, to go right. Maybe he’ll even finish the year with more touchdowns than interceptions?!

Ihmir Smith-Marsette

There has been perhaps no bigger victim of Petras’ struggles than ISM. Smith-Marsette is Iowa’s best deep ball threat and Spencer Petras can’t connect on a deep ball to save his life. The result: after “buying low” on ISM during his suspension, he has gone on to catch 9 passes for 89 yards in three games with 2 rushes for -6 yards (contrast that with 7 catches for 84 yards against Northwestern alone). Nebraska didn’t let him touch the ball in the return game and his opportunities have largely been highly limited with just one touchdown all year (granted it came after we bought in).

There’s no real way to sugar coat this one. ISM has been disappointing this year and the struggles at QB have likely cost him money in next year’s NFL draft.

The Iowa Defense

At different points this season, I’ve recommended selling the Iowa secondary and the rush defense. At the time of recommendation, the units were coming off great performances and seemed to be at highs. But guess what, Phil Parker seems to know what he’s doing.

The Hawkeyes are third in the Big Ten in both scoring and total defense behind just Wisconsin and Northwestern. They’re second in the country in yards allowed per play at 4.22 and 8th nationally in scoring defense giving up 14.8 points per game.

[Note, these statistics are taken from the official NCAA site and don’t reflect last week’s games, which would drive Iowa lower a bit nationally but not within the Big Ten.]

Put simply, the Iowa defense is damn good. They’re going to remain damn good. While you don’t lose money by selling share, you miss out on making it and with this call, that almost feels worse.

What Now?

So, what do we do now with just two regular season games left? Well, it’s that time of year where you re-evaluate your portfolio and set yourself up for the future without as much concern for levels.

Is the Iowa running game expense right now? Probably. But it’s likely to finish the year strong and be the foundation for any Iowa success. I’m buying it regardless of current levels. Get you some Tyler Goodson shares before he really explodes. Maybe grab some shares of Jack Plumb and Mark Kallenberger as those two have earned playing time at tackle and Iowa is set to lose both Alaric Jackson and Coy Cronk (maybe) after the year.

We mentioned the Iowa defense as one we missed out on and it’s certainly trading up. But that’s another one you just want to be in on. They gave up 21 points to Penn State and 20 to Nebraska. That might be about as good of a buying opportunity as you’re going to get this year. But it. Hold it. Never again doubt Phil Parker.

And finally, I might consider buying some Kirk Ferentz shares. Look, he’s made some questionable decisions. The fanbase is certainly ready to move on from Spencer Petras and we know that isn’t happening, but we’ve also seen some things from the Captain that should be exciting. The snark and pettiness out of KF against Minnesota and Nebraska is incredible. He’s to that point in his career where he has no cares left. It’s clear he isn’t a fan of PJ Fleck, Scott Frost and all those young bucks the national media has pegged as the future. I’m buying in on the old man to take his opportunities to show the dean of college football has hung around so long for a reason.