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2015 Closing Arguments: Iowa Hawkeyes

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The quest for moving on from “That’s football.”

I LIKE TO MAKE BUNNY EARS
I LIKE TO MAKE BUNNY EARS
Eric Francis/Getty Images

With all of the complaints related to the football program this offseason, it's easy to miss the little things that Iowa has done over the past eight months. From moving on to the "riskier" option at quarterback, shuffling coaches and dedicating Ferentz the Younger to the run game, the Hawkeyes are giving fans the impression that they're at least trying to mix things up. The question is: Will it be enough?

I. Case History & Opening Statement

A. Case History

What hasn't been said about 2014? Lofty expectations, the typical non-conference let down and laughable loss to Iowa State, the thumping at the hands of Minnesota, the November meltdown and the TaxSlayer Bowl embarrassment. If I could encapsulate the 2014 season in a GIF it would be Iowa in a relatively normal situation, seeing things getting worse and for some reason doing something absolutely inexplicable to exacerbate the situation. Oh, wait there's actually a GIF of that:

If we're talking about "what's different" from 2014, consider that Iowa is replacing its starting QB, RB, WR, LT, C (kinda) and RT on offense.  There hasn't been this much uncertainty on the offensive line in nearly a decade. It's impossible to talk about how C.J. Beathard is going to successful without evaluating who in the world is going to block for him. On the opposite side of the field, Iowa lost two starting defensive tackles and their MLB. The middle of their first level graduated and their replacements aren't exactly long in the tooth.

B. Opening Statement

At this stage in the Ferentz-era one could come to the conclusion that Iowa is rarely going to underachieve, rarely going to overachieve and instead will fall squarely in the middle of the Big Ten. So if you are of the opinion that Iowa is going to tank in 2015, you're going to be disappointed. If you are of the opinion that Iowa is going to win 10 games in 2015, you're going to be disappointed. The Hawkeye express isn't going to get to the station late or early. It's going to arrive on time. Feel the excitement.

If there's reason for excitement it's the supernova that is C.J. Beathard. If you're an outsider you probably aren't too familiar with the Sex Cannon. Last season he didn't even have 100 attempts, completed less than 60% of his passes and only started one game. He can also throw the football a quarter mile, drinks Jack Daniels and his favorite movie is Gator.* Beathard was widely accepted as the riskier option at QB because of his penchant for taking chances and surprisingly, Ferentz settled on him.

* - This isn't true. Uh...I think.

To go along with his QB is WR Tevaun Smith,  RB Jordan Canzeri and TE Jake Duzey. All three players are seniors, all three have plenty of experience and all three have to want to know what it is to actually win a bowl game before they graduate.

It's worth being concerned about both the offensive and defensive lines. It goes without saying that there will definitely be some going pains early in the season for the offensive line. However, if we can trust Kirk Ferentz to do one thing, it's figure out how to make a capable offensive line. Here's hoping that Iowa doesn't have to drop an inexplicable game in the process. On the defensive line? Just look at the talent. They're young, but it's there.

Finally, even if the linebackers are questionable (they are), the defensive backfield is solid. Desmond King and Greg Mabin have the corners locked down and Jordan Lomax reigns over the safety spot. If the linebackers can show even the slightest improvement, the quality of the defensive backfield could make Iowa's passing defense one of the top units in the Big 10.

There are a kicker and a punter. Allegedly.

C. Timeline of Events

Date

Opponent

Time

September 5

Illinois State

11:00 AM

September 12

@ Iowa State

3:45 PM

September 19

Pittsburgh

7:00 PM

September 26

North Texas

TBD

October 3

@ Wisconsin

TBD

October 10

Illinois

11:00 AM

October 17

@ Northwestern

11:00 AM

October 31

Maryland

TBD

November 7

@ Indiana

TBD

November 14

Minnesota

7:00 PM

November 21

Purdue

TBD

November 27

@ Nebraska

TBD

II. Discovery

A. What We've Written About Iowa This Offseason

Iowa Cocktail Party Preview

On Iowa & the B1G's Season Tickets

The Iowa Hawkeyes Potluck

Iowa Starters & Their Other Offers

Iowa and the Girl You Love

B. What We Can Learn From Pop Culture

See I was originally thinking Same Old Song by the Weeknd but then I remembered The Killers from when I was younger and asked "Is there room for one more son?" Well, Kirk...is there?

III. Emotional Plea

I already made a train metaphor earlier so we'll just call give Ferentz the Mussolini label because he makes the trains run on time and this train is a 6-6 to an 8-4 football team. If nothing else look at the schedule. The most difficult non-conference matchup is at Iowa State. I mean, it's not even that Iowa State is good. In fact, they're terrible. It's just that Kirk Ferentz mysteriously cannot beat them and needs to make a deal with Mephistopheles to go undefeated in the non-conference.

Trips to Wisconsin and Nebraska are almost guaranteed losses (assuming Mike Riley doesn't go full Bill Callahan in his first season) and Northwestern always provides a unique challenge for the Vanilla Express that is the Iowa offense (ok seriously I can't stop making train jokes now someone send help). What else is such a daunting challenge?

Maryland is a shell of itself. Indiana's defense couldn't run down Jared Lorenzen (like, Jared Lorenzen today and not even Jared Lorenzen back in the day). Purdue? More like Purdon't. Minnesota? It's a night game that is preceded by a wrestling match and has Iowa unveiling alternative uniforms. Too turnt. Do you know how much 4Loko Iowa students will have drank by the time that game rolls around? Do you know how much 4Loko I will have drank by the time that game rolls around?

You'll notice that I only mentioned four games as probable losses. That's because Iowa has to lose one improbable game. WHAT IS EVEN YOUR PROBLEM DAN MCCARNEY?

IV. The Verdict

As expected, OTE has Iowa averaging 7-5 (4-4). Predictions range as high 8-4 thanks to some lovely selections from fine gentlemen (and lady) such as Aaron Yorke, MNWildcat, Hilary Lee and Graham Filler and has some less than respectable predictions from suspected ISIS members LPW, WSR and InsertName. (It's worth noting that they were SUSPICIOUSLY high on their teams predictions this season). #HOMERSOTA

See you at the Foster Farms, boys.

"Writer"

Prediction

Aaron Yorke

8-4 (4-4)

Brian Gillis

7-5(4-4)

MNWildcat

8-4 (5-3)

Ray Ransom

7-5 (3-5)

DJ Carver

7-5 (3-5)

Candystripes

7-5 (3-5)

Babaoreally

7-5 (4-4)

Jesse Collins

6-6 (3-5)

Mike Jones

7-5 (4-4)

LincolnParkWildcat

5-7 (3-5)

GoForThree

6-6 (3-5)

Hilary Lee

8-4 (4-4)

WhiteSpeedReceiver

5-7 (3-5)

InsertName

5-7 (3-5)

Graham Filler

8-4 (4-4)

OTE Staff Average

6.7 - 5.3 (3.5-4.5)