Iowa Hawkeyes Are Overrated
The Iowa Hawkeyes came out of nowhere last year to shock the Big Ten and roll to the conference championship game undefeated. But ever since that 12-0 start, the Hawkeyes have clearly been outmatched. This year, they're overrated.
1. The Hawkeyes lost to North Dakota State. It's not like North Dakota State is bad--after all, they're an FCS powerhouse with five-straight national championships. But when you're a Big Ten program ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll and playing at home, struggles and slip-ups like these are unacceptable. And they kill College Football Playoff dreams.
2. Iowa showed its cracks early. Traditionally, Iowa has prided itself on a strong ground game and a physical, stifling defense. While the running game is still strong, the defense showed its cracks early.
Against the Miami (OH) RedHawks, Iowa allowed 424 total yards. Saturday, the Hawkeyes allowed 363 yards against NDSU, making it the second time in three games Iowa was out-gained in total yards.
3. Kirk Ferentz has no reason to feel pressure. Earlier this month, the Hawkeyes provided Ferentz with essentially a retirement contract. Despite still having four years left on his contract, Iowa felt it necessary to give the 61-year old coach an extension through 2025, one that will see him paid $4.5 million per year and $49.5 million over the full 10 years.
Keep in mind this is an extension and pay raise for a coach who won more than eight games for the first time since 2009 last year. Iowa has locked in to "average" for the next 10 years, eliminating the need to strive for exceptional.
4. Poor timing for coordinator and strength and conditioning coach pay raises. The Hawkeyes agreed to give pay raises to its coordinators and strength and conditioning coach alongside the Ferentz extension. Unfortunately for Iowa, the timing could have been better; they lost to NDSU in the following days.
Not the best image for a program when the media gets a hold of pay raises for coaches on your staff, only to watch you lose in the following days at home to an FCS opponent.
5. The Ohio State effect is real. Ohio State astounded everyone when, with a third-string quarterback, it won the inaugural College Football Playoff national championship. With all that talent returning, everyone penciled the Buckeyes in to return to the CFP and contend for another title. But Ohio State looked complacent all season long and fell short.
Iowa looks to be dealing with similar complacency. After winning 12 games in 2015, making the Rose Bowl and returning the majority of its starters, everyone assumed more of the same from Iowa. But complacency is a real challenge, and to be so close to the top only to fall makes it even more difficult to climb the ladder of success again.
Iowa is still a contender in the Big Ten West, but their CFP hopes are likely dead; they'll need every possible break the universe can muster up to have even an outside shot. But it's time we face reality: Iowa just isn't that good.