In an interesting turn of events, more digital ink has been spilt over the last week by both national and local media covering the conduct of Hawkeye fans at last week’s game than on the actual game itself.
As a reminder, that was the game of the week pitting #3 Iowa against #4 Penn State. The Hawkeyes won in thrilling fashion and jumped up to 2nd in both the AP and Coaches Poll this week. But virtually nobody is talking about that as all attention has been placed on the myriad injuries that Penn State players apparently suffered a week ago and the reaction of Iowa fans to them.
Because of the back and forth between head coaches Kirk Ferentz and James Franklin and the condescending hand-wringing of PSU keyboard warriors, we asked Iowa fans to answer some questions on the topic in this week’s edition of SB Nation Reacts. The results are frankly not that surprising, unless of course you’re a Penn State fan looking to paint the world with a blue and white brush.
An overwhelming 91% of respondents voted that they are in fact NOT in favor of booing injured players. Why, then, did Kinnick Stadium erupt into boos when JaQuan Brisker went to the ground shortly after a Tyler Goodson run?
Well, turns out a similarly large majority of fans thought Penn State had players faking injuries. A full 77% of respondent voted as such. And these aren’t small numbers either. We’re talking more votes than you’d get in a traditional pre-election survey. The results are statistically significant.
So, despite the narrative being spun by those (presumably) looking to steer attention away from Iowa’s win over the Nits, the general consensus here is Iowa fans are not terrible sports, but simply “smelled a rat” as our beloved Captain might say.
On to things that actually matter going forward.
Have you heard Iowa is ranked #2 in the nation for the first time in more than three decades? It’s true!
But we wanted to know if Hawkeye fans feel like Iowa is truly the second best team in the country. Not whether they deserve to be ranked there (there really isn’t any argument against that given the resumes), just whether they are actually that good. Hawkeye fans are torn on the matter, but the majority actually believes that no, Iowa is NOT the second best team in the country. A full 57% of respondents voted as such this week.
Furthermore, nearly the same percentage, 56%, don’t believe Iowa will hold on and make the College Football Playoff this fall. That fits in with a full 88% of Hawkeye fans saying they have indeed not booked tickets or travel reservations for a return trip to Indianapolis on December 4th.
Interestingly, though, the national results are more positive for the Hawkeyes. In fact, nearly three quarters of national respondents said they think Iowa deserves to make the playoff. That was third amongst all options behind only current #1 Georgia (96%) and #3 Cincinnati (75%).
Here’s a breakdown of the full results for the national CFP debate:
While there might be some homerism going on for a few of these, it’s clear the national public actually believes Iowa might have something here.