The ‘State of the Hawkeye Nation' is a bit shaky right now, with fans wondering just want type of season 2008 will produce. That's only a part of the picture, as there are some people openly wondering about the direction of the program.
Back to back losses by a total of six points will do that; this year's team is an eyelash away from being 5-0, and the mood of the fanbase would be altogether different than it is right now.
Alas, the reality is the Hawks are 3-2, 0-1 in the Big Ten and some folks are in panic mode.
I am not going to sit here and tell you that everything is wine and roses, but I don't subscribe to the theories that all is lost and the program is circling the drain, either.
Here are a few thoughts that are running through my head right now. If you are a pessimist at the present time, I am sure you will want to shoot holes in all of this; I guess that's what the message boards are for.
Class of 2005 Circumstances
The Class of 2005, the highest rated class of the Kirk Ferentz era, isn't pulling their weight four years into their time on campus.
That class began with 24 players. Marshal Yanda was a member of that class, and he is in the NFL right now, having come in as a junior college player. He was a success, to be sure.
So that left 23 players that had four or five year careers ahead of them. 13 of those players are unable to play for
That takes the number down to 10 fourth year players to help this year's team win football games, which is a very low number. Very low, when you consider that
But the situation is even more challenging when were just three ‘full time' starters based off of this year's play and Saturday's roster; Shonn Greene, Kyle Calloway and Pat Angerer. Tony Moeaki is working his way back into playing shape, but he is not yet pain free. Rafael Eubanks is splitting time at left guard with Julian Vandervelde. Trey Stross is back on the field, but not for 60+ plays per game. Jake Christensen has lost his starting job to Rick Stanzi.
Three out of 23 full time starters, four seasons into a recruiting class, is…well, it's a lot of things, and none of them are good.
After watching the game on Saturday, two things flashed into my head….one of them was ‘2001 all over again'?
For those that have forgotten,
Another reason this year is reminding me of 2001 is that this year's team has played much better than last year's 6-6 team. I felt that Iowa's offensive line on Saturday looked as good as they have since at least the 2006 season, and maybe even dating back to 2005.
The offense was facing seven and eight man fronts all day, Northwestern was run blitzing quite often, yet Iowa was still able to run the ball with their zone blocking scheme. What that does is set up the other part of the offensive scheme they choose to employ, which is the play action passing game. You saw that work in the form of the 49 yard touchdown strike to Andy Brodell. He had four steps on his man, because his man bit on the play fake.
In my opinion,
Things like that are not a coincidence, they are hard core football logic.
Northwestern shouldn't have scored their first touchdown of the game at the end of the first half, that came after an Andy Brodell fumble at
But when you are -4 in turnovers, you lose 90 percent of the time or more. That too is college football logic. The fact
The key now is what
I know that coaches say one play doesn't beat you, and usually they are right. But since that one play
I hope that
We will find out, of course as the year goes along.
After watching the Michigan State-Indiana game late Saturday night on the DVR, I came away feeling better about
I honestly believe that the Northwestern offense will be the most precise that
No one is as profiecient running the spread offense in this league as is Northwestern, and
Kellen Lewis is nicked up for
If I look at things totally in and of themselves related to this football season, and I don't allow the trends of recent years to cloud my view, I see several reasons to still be optimistic about this football team.
The conference has never been this close, team 1-11, in my lifetime. That could be a good thing, or not so good, depending on what mood you are in.
Every one of
I would hope that Hawkeye fans don't abandon the ship; there are some winnable games on the schedule.
Afterall, the 2004 team began the season 2-2, right?
One final thought. My friend and fellow HN writer Rob Howe brought up some numbers Saturday related to Iowa football and close games over the past few years. His numbers of course are correct.
I looked up some numbers going back further into Iowa football past...
Between 2002-2004, Iowa was involved in ten games that were decided by a touchdown or less. That can mean one play. Iowa won nine of those ten games, which is a very high number for programs not named Michigan, Ohio State, USC, etc.
Between 2005 to the present, Iowa has been involved in 14 such games, and they are 4-10. That is probably beneath the norm.
All told, Iowa is 13-11 in games decided by a touchdown or less since 2002, roughly 54-percent.
If you are being honest with yourself, you will probably come to the reality that that's about what you can expect.
But that won't do much for the torch and pitchfork sales this week.