It's a Flex Flex Flex Flex Flex Machine Watch it Get First Downs. Things must be good in the Iowa football offices. Not only is Kirk Ferentz sitting down for a half-hour on the record with Marc Morehouse (an unprecedented occurrence, at least in the last decade), but he's dropping that 'S' word that he doesn't much like using:
Q: ...I've done a couple of radio deals that were national. First of all, four weeks ago, no one was calling. All of the sudden on Sunday, we had a list (10 to 12).
Q: Guys you haven't heard from since . . .
A: Since we were sexy the last time.
Kirk has famously not just said that Iowa football isn't sexy. He's basically recruited on that premise. Iowa doesn't chase too many top prospects, because guys with those kind of recruiting accolades don't generally go for a program like Iowa. And yet, the new thinking throughout the program could be moving Iowa toward sexiness. That new building is sexy as hell. The innovative running game, the suddenly explosive offense, the new recruiting coordinator who has refocused Iowa on top talent, all of that is sexy to the right players. Throw in a dollop of NFL success and suddenly Iowa looks attractive. We're living in the Bizarro World at the moment. Might as well enjoy it.
As for the rest of the interview, it's exactly what you would hope for: Less Q&A and more wide-ranging discussion of Iowa football on the precipice of something we've not seen in years. The New Kirk discussing New Kirk stuff. A discussion of program philosophy that finally puts "That's Football" in the past. Excerpting it here would not do it justice. The whole thing is as must-read as anything out of Iowa City this year.
Bumper Bowling. Another week, another Outback Bowl appearance for Iowa from Jason Kirk (meanwhile, a team that lost to Northwestern is in the Playoff, so whatever). CBS Sports' Jerry Palm gets Iowa into the New Years' Six, with the Hawkeyes facing Houston in the Peach Bowl. ESPN splits on Iowa, with Mark Schlabach putting the Hawkeyes in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame and Brett McMurphy (who ranked Iowa lower than any other voter on his AP ballot) putting Iowa in the Outback Bowl.
Dinner at the Pom. Ken Pomeroy, a man worshiped as a deity among some at this site, dropped his preseason basketball rankings Sunday. Iowa: 36th overall and seventh in the Big Ten. Kenpom is way up on Wisconsin (blergh) and surprisingly down on Maryland. It can't even be chalked up to youth, as Indiana is projected 13th.
If Pomeroy is correct, Iowa will finish 17-11 (10-8), sitting atop the second tier of Big Ten teams entering 2015-16 with Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois and Minnesota trailing closely. The Marquette-Dayton-Florida State string in November could have outsized significance, and with an extremely young team on the court, that might not be the best time for an important string of games. We'll talk about this in far more detail tomorrow (you're going to want to be here all day tomorrow; we'll explain why at noon).
The Hawkeyes' 3-point win over Pitt is looking better and better and they also have wins over Northwestern and Wisconsin -- each are 6-2 and both of those wins came on the road.
And that hot take brought out Ohio State fans talking about "creditability":
@BruceFeldmanCFB You lose ALL creditability with Iowa....get real! OSU will be favored by 28 pts!— Chris Derrow (@ChrisDerrow) October 25, 2015
You really got him there, 80s Cop Drama Extra.
ESPN's Brian Bennett profiles Desmond King and reminds us of something we've long forgotten: Iowa didn't offer King a scholarship until a week before Signing Day, after King had committed to Ball State. Absent that offer, Iowa probably loses to Ball State last season, misses a bowl and goes looking for a new coach in December.
C.J. Beathard and Ike Boettger paid a visit to a 101-year-old Iowa fan. The women told Boettger to step up and protect his quarterback. Seriously.
Iowa commit T.J. Hockenson has been a beast this year at Chariton: 81 catches, 1,100 yards and 17 touchdowns (!) at a level of football where quarterback play can be spotty. Rumor has been for months that Iowa coaches think Hockenson might be the best player in this class, even with more highly-rated guys in the fold. If this keeps up, they'd be right.
Iowa wrestling picked up commitments from three-time state champion Carter Happel, two-time state champion Jack Wagner, and two-time state champion Brock Rathbun. I have no idea what any of this means, but seven state championships feels like a lot.
Our favorite blog, the Northwestern steampunk blogspot outpost Bring Your Champions They're Our Meat, tries to make sense of the first half of the Wildcats' season. There is no sense to make of that, but at least there's a picture of an old bullpen car.
Nebraska lost again, and is now 3-5 on the season. The Huskers' problem: They're a lot like Iowa has been in the last five seasons.
Roy Devyn Marble earns a roster spot with Orlando, and Iowa beats Iowa State again:
.@OrlandoMagic have waived F Melvin Ejim. Ejim, who got a camp invite after a strong summer league, was beat out by Devyn Marble.— John Denton (@JohnDenton555) October 22, 2015