Monday night, I was laying in bed watching the now Zach Wilson-led New York Jets when the SpoCo bunch started talking about certain throws our QB’s can’t make (we were still very much in depression over Justin Fields start on Sunday for the Chicago Bears) compared to teams/players we watch for fun (i.e. Josh Allen early in that MNF game).
At almost the same exact time, the Black Heart Gold Pants Discord channel (you should join, it’s fun!) started talking about how Iowa develops a ton of NFL talent (TRUE!) but NOT at the premium spots (i.e. QB) but more so at the marginal positions (something I and I’m sure many others believe directly corelates to HOW Iowa likes to win).
That’s when my brain started to twist and turn...
Iowa under Kirk Ferentz is infatuated with winning inside those margins consistently; it’s Colonel Ferentz’s Secret 200-spice recipe. The staff as a whole doesn’t care about recruit rankings or hype over what they perceive and evaluate on their own. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever; especially when it comes to Phil Parker’s defense and LeVar Wood’s special teams unit. In principal, they want to develop and develop and develop some more and they don’t care if you’re a 5-star or a 0-star kid; they will coach you the same regardless of your stature. It’s something I personally as a fan and alumni of this great university am extremely proud of.
Did We Really Get Beat that Bad?— parker fleming (@statsowar) September 11, 2023
Net Success Rates in Week 2 Games pic.twitter.com/7tvPxXZbmh
That also means that more often than not, the guy that does all of the little things right in those margins plays over guys that maybe have an absorbent amount of talent but lack discipline or focus on the smaller details or lack of a motor. There is no “turn it on for the games” at Iowa.
WE ARE TALKING ABOUT PRACTICE, MAN.
That’s FOOTBALL. At least, that’s our favorite teams favorite brand of football.
But what if it wasn’t our football... what if it was different?
Suddenly, I started to drift into the deepest parts of my brain and wondered what my football
hell life would be like with a college and/or NFL offense that revved like a Porsche? I smiled as I envisioned how fun my Thursday thru Sunday’s would be as I watched an up-tempo, fast paced, WE GOT THE JUICE offense that could score on anyone at any time. Oh the vertical passing! Oh the break away rushes! Oh the mismatches that our tight ends created.
An offense matched with Phil Parker’s defense! OH BABY!
Snap out of it! Snap out of it! Snap out of itttttttttttttt!
Zach Wilson was back in focus but the damage was done. I was suddenly excited and depressed all at once. My imagination was already in mid-season form.
God damn Bears.
God damn Brian.
That’s when I started to wonder... if in my dreamiest of dreams, my personal aspiration for the Iowa Hawkeyes is to run like a Porsche... what kind of car would the program best be labeled as right now? The question made me laugh as a picture of a purple Honda Civic came immediately to the forefront of my brain. But the more I thought about it, the more I knew it wasn’t right. While the Civic will get you where you need to go at an insanely economical price, it just wasn’t the right choice.
So I kicked that very question back to the SpoCo Group...here’s most of the exchange:
Me: If you had to label the Iowa program as a car, what would you say they were?
The People’s Champ: I’d say a Ford Focus.
Zach: Ford F-150. Regular Cab. 4 Wheel drive. No power windows or locks.
DC: GMC Yukon. It’s not as popular as the Chevy Tahoe nor as big as the Yukon XL or Suburban but it’s the same car and it’s perfectly happy with that.
Zach: It’s gotta be something whose performance (aka offense) was considered acceptable 20 years ago but now is embarrassing.
Me: Like a Dodge Avenger?
Zach: More like a PT Cruiser.
Me: I don’t know if Iowa’s weird enough to be a PT Cruiser.
DC: Furthering my Yukon take: it has to be bigger than a normal SUV (Hello Big Ten West) but it doesn’t believe it needs all that space the XL takes up. Instead, they’ll cram themselves and their cargo into the truck and make do.
Zach: But have you ever been embarrassed in a Yukon?
DC: When you pull up next to an Escalade, yes.
Me: Especially when the hood on your Yukon is sun beaten and faded.
DC: Oh yeah, it’s definitely a 2004 with 200k miles on it (200 wins!).
I don’t know about you, but I can’t stop laughing at Iowa as a grey 2005 Ford Focus (something I 100% drove around Iowa City while I was on campus back in the early aughts). It’s almost perfect - but not quite there. Same with the Yukon and F-150 with powerless everything.
So that’s where I leave it to you...
If you, my humble reader, had to label the Iowa program right now as a car/vehicle, what would you say they were and why?
Best comments get a gold star and I will pick my favorites and put them in next weeks Monday Morning Musings.