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It's Monday morning. Throw it deep.

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11-0, Mike Daniels?

Whatever Happened to Predictability? One of the basic criticisms of Iowa's 2014 offense was that they were formation-predictable; in other words, defenses could easily determine what Iowa intended to do based on how the offense was aligned.

Morehouse points out this morning that Iowa's formations haven't changed much, but the offense has nevertheless been more effective

So, in short, yes, what Iowa does out of personnel groups is predictable. But, certainly this year more than last, you see the idea behind it. 1) There's the cumulative effect of a defense not being able to stop the run when it knows the run is coming. And 2) it sets up a defense for when the offense does go against tendency.

This is, in part, the Beathard effect.  Last season, Iowa's offense was a vicious cycle.  Jake Rudock's arm strength was an issue, and Iowa was unable to throw downfield with any consistency, so there was almost no downside to moving up safeties to stop an already-mediocre Hawkeye running attack.  While Iowa's yards per attempt is only slightly higher under Beathard, yards per completion (essentially as a measure of where Iowa is completing passes) is up almost two yards per completion this year.  Iowa's receivers have become better downfield route runners and have a quarterback who can deliver it when open (and sometimes when not).  The play action game, as Morehouse discusses, is punishing defenses for cheating the run.

But the bigger part of this is the running game.  Iowa has broken a run of 40 or more yards in five of its last six games, and in seven of its eleven games this season.  Iowa had a running play go for 40+ yards just three times in the previous three seasons combined.  Like big passes, big runs come when the secondary is out of position.  In the Weisman years, Iowa could only take advantage of a stacked box with trickery (Jonathan Parker had Iowa's only run over 40 yards last year on an end-around against Indiana, for instance).  With the halfbacks used in 2015, one bad step by a cheating safety can lead to total disaster, and Iowa's new variety in the running game has kept defenders off balance.  Safeties stay back, then, which allows Iowa to consistently run for 4-5 yards per carry.  The vicious cycle is now virtuous.

TL;DNR: Big play ability, and playcalling that exploits it, is the entirety of Iowa's offensive improvement.


Desmond King told reporters on Saturday that he is undecided on whether to return next season or enter the NFL Draft.  Iowa guys usually put their names in the draft grading service pool and decide from there; I'd expect nothing different from King.

If you're headed to Indianapolis in two weeks, the Indianapolis Star provides a list of things you can do when not watching Iowa win the Big Ten title.

It's really happening: ESPN finally moved Iowa to the top of its Big Ten power ratingssome talking heads have put the Hawkeyes in the top two, and Spencer Hall moved Iowa ahead of Alabama, which brought Alabama fans out of the woodwork, which prompted THE MOST IOWA COMMENT IN THE HISTORY OF THE INTERNET:

iowa comment

Could the Augustana exhibition loss be exactly what Iowa basketball needed? BT Powerhouse thinks it was.

It's not exactly applicable, but Ian Boyd's post about the use and effect of rangy strongside defensive ends could show how Iowa will utilize Matt Nelson.  Iowa doesn't run a 3-4 like Oregon, but the 4-3 front that Iowa uses (with a strongside linebacker effectively at the line of scrimmage) uses some of the same concepts.  It's worth mentioning that Nelson got more snaps against Purdue than he had in any other game to date.

If you've been under a rock for the last couple of days, Ohio State halfback Ezekiel Elliott criticized the playcalling in the Buckeyes' loss to Michigan State and announced he's leaving early for the Draft.  With every old sports reporter in the world claiming it's the worst thing that's ever happened, Eleven Warriors asks: Did Elliott act out of love of his team or something else?

While Iowa was celebrating its Big Ten West title, every Iowa fan's favorite mid-major was knocking off North Carolina in basketball and leaving the Tar Heels 0-2 against Iowa teams in the last two years.

iowa Nice Guy is all about Nebraska week.  And rightfully so.