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Iowa Football: Do the Hawkeyes Have a Chance in Indianapolis?

Iowa fans have been disappointed in the Big Ten Championship Game twice before.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JUL 26 Big Ten Conference Media Days
Do you believe Kirk can finally deliver the trophy?
Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NCAA. Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Iowa Hawkeyes fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.

The Iowa Hawkeyes have overcome all the odds. Despite entering the final week of the 2023 regular season ranked 130th out of 130 division one programs in total offense, the Hawkeyes have won the Big Ten West with a week to spare.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a season with Hawkeye fans entering the season quite optimistic. When we kicked off this season, most Iowa fans had the team winning somewhere in the 9-10 games range. But that was with the expectation the offense would be improved with the addition of former Michigan QB Cade McNamara, his tight end Erick All and a pair of receivers on the outside.

Fast forward and both McNamara and All ultimately were injured, along with starting tight end Luke Lachey and star corner/return man Cooper DeJean. The offense went from bad to worse with the combination of the injuries and scheme.

And yet we enter the final week of the season right where the fanbase thought we might. Iowa is 9-2 on the year and a strange call against Minnesota away from being 10-1. Iowa enters the week ranked 16th in the College Football Playoff rankings and likely to be higher before game time on Friday. They’ve won the West for the second time in three years and are clearly the cream of the abysmal divisional crop.

And yet there is still some sense of apathy. That struggling offense, while looking a bit better in recent weeks, is the polar opposite of what we see with Iowa basketball. While Fran McCaffery and Lisa Bluder have teams fans want to watch, even in a loss, Kirk Ferentz’s brand of football might lead to loads of wins, but it can be genuinely boring on (frequent) occasion.

There is a reason Iowa, at 9-2 and atop the West division, is still ranked so low in the AP and until this week was unranked altogether in the USA Today Coaches Poll. Modern college football requires scoring points and the Hawkeyes have shown an inability to do that. Despite that, they continue to win and seemingly relish in their ability to do it in a way nobody else in the America could.

That’s Iowa football.

So with the West clinched and a return to Indianapolis as the FINAL representatives from dying division, are Hawkeye fans willing to again spend the time, money and devotion to go to Lucas Oil Field and cheer for this team?