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The Pessimist’s Guide to Iowa Football’s Offseason

It’s not all sunshine & rainbows in the house of Ben!

Iowa State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images


You might be aware of the inspiring & exciting news Iowa secured its quarterback of the future in former Michigan Man Cade McNamara.

I’m here to tell you this development is futile, because every QB that comes to this iteration of the Iowa football program turns into a pile of skin.

Pour yourself a big bowl of Cheerios, ‘cus I’m about to piss in it.

The thesis:

I postulate that barring absolute, structural, wholesale changes—the likes of which we’ve never seen in 23 years of Ferentz football, the Iowa program has a high likelihood of digging itself into a trench so deep and dark, only those really terrormonster-looking fish can live in it. You know the kinds I’m talking about.

(Hilariously, I googled “deep-sea fish” after writing the above and learned of the Footballfish, which lives in depths exceeding 3,000 meters. I know some writers who use subtext, they’re all cowards.)

This might sound like fire and brimstone speculation to some, but here I aim to present it as the grim reaper at the door.

The facts:

Now, those three might seem like pimples on the butt cheek that is Iowa football, and one of these defections is basically moot with the above McNamara news. But consider this all an aperitif to the main course of what will surely come as more attrition from the team—more on that later.

Now, gulp it all down with additions to the division that isn’t going to be a division much longer:

The combined age of those two guys is still younger than Kirk Ferentz (don’t look that up). I’m gonna be sick.

No longer can we rely on easy wins from the Cornhuskers, padding a Charmin-soft nine-win season. We’ll still lose to Wisconsin on the reg, it’s just going to be even more frustrating because Fickell doesn’t strike me as a drunk or a dolt like Badger coaches of past.

Speaking of!

Michigan State v Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Add Illinois to the list of Doormats No More.

FURTHERMORE, the dissolution of East & West divisions is a knockin’. How do protected rivals of Wisconsin, Nebraska & Minnesota sound?

Like a .333 winning percentage.

And can I interest you in a trip to California, where high-powered offenses run by evil wizards have to muster just 17 points to defeat this former Bully of the Big Ten?

The near-certain truths

The good news is Iowa is poised to return all its offensive lineman of consequence (this offensive line produced many consequences) next year and add one of the best offensive lineman in the country.

The bad news!

The other bad news!

Guys growing up and adding another year in the program doesn’t necessarily get any better. See Stanley, Nate, & a host of other names I don’t feel like slinging mud at.

Speaking of people staying: you know who is definitely sticking around? The guy responsible for this:

You know who might not be around next year? This guy:

And while I can’t manhandle any specific stats to iterate LeVar Woods’ importance to this team, you have to wonder when a bigger job at a smaller school is going to put the worm on the hook for a guy who’s had a front-row seat to this circus for the past 14 years.


Here’s two quotes about two coaches who lost their job this year. Does Iowa football suffer from these problems?

Coach A is former Stanford coach and 2015 Rose Bowl winner David Shaw, who stepped down after the season. You can see who Coach B is, and where I’m going with this.

Is anyone going to get fired this season? Is Iowa going to change its offensive scheme? Does Cade McNamara know how to check down? Horseshoes? What about horse socks?

The doomsday scenario

I laid this out on this week’s Pants Party, and it looks a little like this:

  • The running back room thins out, as Kaleb Johnson is wooed by more lucrative suitors.
  • The receiver room, as it stands, includes a baseball player and a sixth-year senior who is a charitable 5’10’’ in pads. In total, there are currently four scholarship receivers on the roster.
  • A combination of Parker, Woods, and any other integral assistant coaches depart, fed up with the small window of upward mobility allowed within the Ferentz Family.
  • If Terry Roberts leaves, next year’s defensive backfield is Cooper DeJean and two guys who let Trey Palmer take a big dump in Kinnick on Senior Day.
  • Seth Benson & Jack Campbell, GONE.

As has been discussed before, Kirk has no coaching tree to speak of. His most recent additions to the staff inspire little confidence, therefore I’m left with little confidence in his ability to competently replace attrition among those who receive a paycheck from the university.

I remain extremely skeptical of Iowa’s current NIL efforts. McNamara is a nice get for certain, and apparently the Swarm collective has seen a two-fold increase in membership in the wake of his commitment. But can it compete with a reported $100k on the table for Proctor at Oregon? Can Iowa successfully woo other offensive skill players to come and play for a team that ranked in the bottom four of every measurable offensive statistic this past season? Does the addition of McNamara even matter with this offensive line and these offensive skill players and this offensive coaching staff?

Does Ferentz have the ability to plug the hole in what I fear could become a [REDACTED]-esque setback in the football program? Is it going to be any fun watching Nebraska, Illinois and Purdue surpass Iowa while Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan & Ohio State only widen the gap between the programs?

I’m ready for a fairytale ending, but I’m afraid we’ve all seen this slasher flick before.