I’ve had my Kirk Ferentz hat on lately and been living in the past. KF compared this year’s team to 2008 and 2013. And I can see both of those as valid comparisons. The question I’ve been asking, though, is twould I be happy with 8-win regular seasons like both of those years…with this schedule?
I want to say, yes… 8 wins is a step back in the right direction. It could mean another Florida bowl trip. It might even mean an opportunity to be a sacrificial lamb against Ohio State in the B1G title game. But it’s probably going to matter what those 8 wins are…
The Hawkeyes could get to 8 wins in a lot of different ways. (495 to be exact. Math!) The 2008 route is more of the classic Ferentz season to go. It started off okay, but there was a close loss in the non-con on the road. Then a couple more tough losses as the team was trying to figure things out. But then, bam, the team peaked at the right time, knocked off #3 Penn State and ended up rattling off 13 straight wins over 2008 and 2009.
2013 was a little more steady in terms of performance. Of course, there was still the non-con loss, but the other losses came against teams undoubtedly better than Iowa (Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin) and Iowa pretty much took care of business against the lesser teams in the conference, then ended the season with a good win over Nebraska.
So 2015… It isn’t inconceivable to me that Iowa could go anywhere between 1-3 and 4-0 to start the season. So let’s look at that.
What if Iowa loses to Illinois State and suffers its first loss to a FCS school? Is that a season-ender right away? As bad as that loss would be, I’d think not. In 2013 after losing to Northern Illinois I thought the worst, but the season turned out okay.
How about another loss to Iowa State? We’ve seen it a million times…it’s not the end of the season.
Pitt? That was exactly the loss Iowa needed in 2008 to shake things up.
But Kirk Ferentz’s eternal goal is to win the B1G, so what if Iowa beats up of the lower teams of the conference but can’t get over the hump to beat Wisconsin or Nebraska. 6-2…tied for first in the West. That might be okay. At least there'd be a win over, uh, Minnesota.
Really Iowa could easily go 8-4 and still no have a trophy in its trophy case for a second straight year. That’d be a pretty hollow 8-win season.
Is there any way 7 wins would be a success? I suppose a terrible non-con and an amazing perfect November might be acceptable, but that’s hard to imagine. And I’d say 9 wins, no matter who they came against, would be a pretty excellent year.
So how will you define success for Iowa this year?