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Iowa Potluck, Tuesday: MVPs, Corn, and Bacon

Of award winners and long legends.

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Mmmm....Bacon corn...

Bacon wrapped, smoked corn on the cob

It doesn’t get much more Iowa than corn and pork, it is kind of what we do here. Ask some random American and ask them about Iowa, and they’ll probably say something about corn and pigs. But which one is more important? Which one is better?

After winning the Thorpe Award for best defensive back in the nation, Desmond King decided to return to get his diploma, making him the first winner to ever return to the college game. There is no argument that he is Iowa’s best player. However, you also won’t get much argument that C.J. Beathard is Iowa’s most important player. There were several game last year it seemed he won singlehandedly (Iowa State, Indiana, Pitt come immediately to mind). I know there’s a lot of tongue in cheek talk about his long legend, but he is getting some praise now. And coming off of sports hernia surgery, expectations are getting pretty high in Hawkeye land. What do you think of Beathard? Do you agree that while King may be better, Beathard is more important? Is there a similar situation on your team, where the most important player isn’t necessarily the best player?

Aaron Yorke: We’re talking about football, so many times the quarterback will be a team’s most important player because he has more control over the game than that talented defensive stud who might objectively be the team’s best player. I get that. While King might be a better defensive back than Beathard is a quarterback, it’s the senior signal caller who will play a bigger role in determining how far the Hawkeyes go this year. And expectations should be high considering that he completed 62 percent of his passes and average 7.8 yards per attempt in his first year as the full-time starter. In his second season at the helm, I’m thinking Beathard will throw for more touchdown passes (he tossed 17 last year) but fewer yards per attempt as Kirk Firentz starts to lean on him more as a playmaker.

Candystripes: Quarterback is absolutely one of the most important positions in football, if not the most important. If you have a very good one, your team is likely to do much better than they would with an average or below average QB (witness Indiana the last couple years). For the Hoosiers, our most important player is probably whoever ends up being the starting QB, but the best player going into the season could be any number of guys including the quarterback, because while Lagow is currently projected as the guy, there’s still quite a bit of mystery going on there.

Andrew Kraszewski: If it weren't for J.T. Barrett, Beathard would be the easy consensus for 1st-team All-B1G, which is something, even if damning with faint praise a bit. I think it's hard to say who's more important because we know diddly about the backup for either (taking as given that your importance is strongly correlated to how much better you are than the guy behind you). Bill C’s preview points out that Iowa has essentially no experienced depth in the secondary, and that they were very fortunate with injuries last year such that that didn't matter. To be sure, the chart behind Beathard is thoroughly unknown as well, but it could well be that the drop off from Beathard to Tyler Wiegers or whoever is far less than from King to [backup Iowa DB]. It's just easier to make these determinations in hindsight, is all I'm saying.

MNW: Talk of Iowa's most important player and we've not yet mentioned the punter? Disappointing, Stew. By the way, has Iowa figured out yet if they're going with Rastetter or the graduate transfer scholarship punter from CMU?

Clayton Thorson is very, very important, while Justin Jackson or more likely Anthony Walker are the "best."

Speth: Desmond King is the most overrated player in college football now that Christian Hackenberg has graduated. He’s Sojourn Shelton with slightly better hands. Sojourn Shelton has been thoroughly meh since his freshman year. Is King good? Sure. Will Rob Wheelwright catch a TD on him in Kinnick? Probably. King being good is more a reflection of the fact he’s a decent corner playing in a terrible passing division. Guy had two career picks before last year now Iowa fans can’t spend enough time on their knees for him even though a 5’9 corner generously listed at 168 is better against the run than him. Beathard’s a nice QB though, would trade for him for whatever Wisconsin starts at QB.

Nope. Corey Clement is our best and most important player. Doesn’t matter who plays QB if/when he runs for 2000 yards.

Jesse: I’m going to say that Beathard is legitimately the most important player for Iowa in that how well he fares, so will the rest of the team. Iowa loses a lot on defense, and while King is great, I think that you’re kidding yourself if you think he makes the difference between wins and losses next year. I think he’ll be good but the defense steps back a step or so.

As for Beathard, I’m not sold. I realize that Iowa fans might see that as me throwing shade, but I still think he’s a tad overrated in comparison to his production. He was a solid QB, but he also wasn’t asked to do all that much in the bigger scheme of things. His percentages were pretty good and his YPA was great, but that was also while throwing the 10th most times per game... There are 14 teams. That seems like the coaches weren’t sure what to do. If Beathard comes out as the best QB in the West, I see Iowa winning the division going away. We’ll see if that comes to fruition.

As for Nebraska, Tommy Armstrong, Jr. is the most important player on our team. He is not the best player on our team. He’s probably not the second best player on our team. This merits concern going into 2016. Luckily, I’d argue a lot of our best players are receivers, so maybe it all works out.

DJ: Apparently I’m the only one that will answer the corn vs. pork question. The answer is pork is better but corn is a great side dish that can accompany the pork well. Last weekend I smoked a boston butt and towards the end threw some corn on the smoker to cook. It’s probably the most delicious way I’ve had corn to date and was a great side dish that carried the smoke flavor over from the main dish to the sides.

As for Beathard, I think it could almost go without saying that the QB position is the most important on the field. Stability there can single handedly win you games. King is undoubtedly the best player on Iowa’s team but sometimes your best player is not the key to winning.

For example: Maryland’s best player is Will Likely. He is a lightning rod player who can play offense, defense and special teams and makes an impact on all three. Is he the most important? No, figuring out the QB position is the most important for Maryland this year as they’ll need to do that in order to win anything other than the OOC and Purdue.

Stew: Of course the QB is more important than a CB. What kind of idiot wrote this question? Anyway, I worry a bit about how much hype Beathard has gotten this offseason, from both within and outside the fanbase. His expectations have grown to outsized proportions, that I find it hard to believe anyone can live up to. Marc Morehouse and Scott Dochtermann, even said he had a chance to eclipse Chuck Long. He made some absolutely huge plays last season, and the talent is pretty obvious. I’m a huge fan, but I’m going to hold off calling him the 2nd coming for a little bit. But if he gets Iowa to another ROSE BOWL, I may be building a shrine.

Also, Speth, your HOT TAEK on King is absurd.

Creighton: Corn is obviously more important than pork. Corn is one of the main ingredients in livestock feed, and therefore none of you would enjoy your pre-game pulled pork sandwiches or burgers were it not for our little golden friend. Plus Nebraska has flooded the market with inferior corn, so Iowa corn farmers are as important as ever.

As for Beathard vs King? Beathard is no doubt the most important player on the roster. I’m not going to crown him as an All-B1G pick just yet, but Iowa is only going as far in 2016 as Beathard is able to take them. Having said that: He took them all the way to Pasadena last year on a pretty serious groin injury requiring post-season surgery. He’s got a young, but exciting receiving corps to throw to, and will have a solid defense to back him up.