8-4: Wash, Rinse, and Repeat

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Diesel's picture

Firing Barta would be a good start for Iowa athletics in general. You'd see some positive trickle down effects on the football program I'm sure. 

RIP Isosceles

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Diesel's picture

Scratch that, the chances of that happening are even slimmer now that he took OSU AD's place on CFP committee. Great.

RIP Isosceles

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

I just SMH about how that Fucktard is still employed - much less being PROMOTED (CFP Committee) and RAISES - considering his repeatedly proven (and REPEATED) incompetencies.  S.M.H.

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Beltway Hawk's picture

if there's one thing I've learned in my current location, the more powerful one becomes, the less accountability there is. This applies in all types of organizations.

"There is no reason in the world why we shouldn't fight for the preservation of a chance to live freely, no reason why we shouldn't suffer to uphold that which we want to endure." -Nile Kinnick

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

That's often true in non-public companies (i.e. non media-exposed companies/industries), but not as common in other places when the fuck-ups are so public and embarrassing to the company (college) - although, apparently, not nearly embarrassing enough to the UI or its mo$t important fanba$e.

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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ncthawk's picture

The thing that's toughest for an Iowa fan is the number of close losses which make one often think What could have been? For example see every loss from 2018.

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Hawk Guy's picture

Usually, the difference between 8-4 and special is a good record in one-score games. Our record in the close games last year was 3-3 (though this doesn’t count the Wisconsin loss which was skewed by the fuck you FB touchdown)

Waiting for the next time Michigan comes to visit

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ncthawk's picture

I definitely count the Wisconsin game as a close loss even if the point total says otherwise. I was just looking at the regular season so I didn't think about the bowl game which definitely was a close win. Score wise the ISU game was close though given the way the defense shut them down I didn't feel that much in danger. Nebraska was definitely a close win though so overall in the regular season I'd say they were 1-4 in close games.

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Hawk Guy's picture

Shit, I meant 2-3. But yeah, 2-3 will get you to 8-4 almost every year. One of those games goes the other way and it’s a completely different season.

Waiting for the next time Michigan comes to visit

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Costco Card Rammin' Greg Davis's picture

I agree with and acknowledge most of what you argue here, but I continue to struggle with one thing: Why can't this staff recruit commensurate with the program's on-field success?

A consistent 8-4 team in the B1G should be able to pull in top-20 recruiting classes from time to time. The coaches (for the most part) have been exceptional player developers. A two-star recruit can realistically become a draft pick in 4 years. Great! Iowa has squandered opportunities for national prominence, however, by failing to sign and develop more 4 and 5 stars into NFL players in 3 years. 

The multi-year recruiting rankings and final polls don't lie. If you want a top-10 program, you need to recruit big talent. 

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rosko-p's picture

I love the state of Iowa but I still can't sell it to a kid from someplace else.  I think everything is fine.  They could get goofy in marketing and employ some gimmicks but everybody doesn't love that.  Wishing for something more needs to be weighed against what we see in Illinois, Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, and similarly funded but struggling programs in other conferences.  And I am one whose optimism is buoyed by the last few years as we are seeing better athletes overall. 

Wiscillinowa Native

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C.I.owA's picture

This is a huge factor. And people who have never lived outside of Iowa, or very far from it, can't seem to wrap their heads around it. People don't even know where Iowa is! And that is sadly a factual statement, and not hyperbole. 

Once scissor-kicked Angela Lansbury at Moroccan casino. She knows what she did!! Best friends with Bill Brasky

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Costco Card Rammin' Greg Davis's picture

This is mostly true, but again: Lincoln, NE? Madison, WI? Stillwater, OK? West Lafayette, IN? Who the hell knows anything about those places? They all are home to schools that have higher rated classes than Iowa this year. Geography impairs Iowa's recruiting, to be sure, but it is not some insurmountable barrier to attracting talent.

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Calvin Poolidge's picture

I wouldn't mind a Wisconsin lineman or a few of their defensive pieces, but I give a hard pass to anyone on Nebraska, Oklahoma has lots of history (of beating up on overmatched foes in the Big 12/8) but still don't achieve much except every few years have a good run (sounds familiar), and Purdue is a one-off and should be back to their losing ways soon (and I doubt any of their good players this last year make it onto a KF squad because of the beyond-being-a-good-player expectations our staff have for recruits).

"I have something like 50 years left on this little blue marble, I don’t want to spend 50 weeks of it caring about stupid fucking Iowa State." ~TherealCatnuts
"This school spirit, it's contagious. It's alcohol." ~Airliner goer 1977 ranked ISU "Beat Iowa"

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Tad Ghostal's picture

The Stillwater reference is for Oklahoma State, not Oklahoma, which is in Norman.

null set

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RetroHawk's picture

"People don't even know where Iowa is"....

Especially those four and five star athletes who would benefit from our Sports Geography program (major).

RetroHawk

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DC_HAWK's picture

But I have a nagging question: Should we expect more out of Iowa football?

And the answer: probably not.

I do not think it is appropriate to ask and answer this question as a categorical matter.  As the author points out at the very end of this article, Iowa football is a cyclical and developmental program, almost to a predictable degree. 

To me, last year was a year to expect "more" because the players were developed.  A junior QB with solid experience under his belt, a relatively veteran (or experienced) offensive line, and as much talent on the defensive side of the field as we have ever seen under Kirk Ferentz.  I look at the Wisconsin, Penn State, and Northwestern game as games where Iowa was almost certainly had the better team but fell short for whatever reason. In those years, its OK to raise your expectations beyond 8 wins and be disappointed when Iowa fails to achieve it.  

But I think those years need to be taken with the understanding that other years will not be like that.  In these "developmental" years, Iowa's fan base needs to adjust its expectations.  I would unfortunately argue that 3 out of every 5 years the program is in development mode in key positions, or alternatively, not enough players are developed enough and the schedule is rough. I predict this year will be one of the latter years, and I think 7 or 8 wins is probably the ceiling for the 2019 squad.

But I think what keeps us watching is that Kirk Ferentz and Co. have, in seemingly random years, exhibited the ability to win way more than expected (e.g., 2015).  Although I predict 7 or 8 wins with the 2019 team, it also wouldn't be out of the ordinary for Iowa catch a streak of dumb luck and win 10 or 11 games.  This is why Kirk Ferentz earns every penny of his pay.  He does more with way, way less than his peers in the Big Ten, his players generally keep their noses clean, he is well respected by his players and other coaches in the profession, and he puts a shit load of guys in the NFL that have absolutely no business being there based on where they were 4/5 years prior.

So, I think the answer to the question posed is: it depends.

Garbage Blog Aficionado

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Beltway Hawk's picture

well said.

"There is no reason in the world why we shouldn't fight for the preservation of a chance to live freely, no reason why we shouldn't suffer to uphold that which we want to endure." -Nile Kinnick

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Isosceles The Mathematician's picture

You know, I just realized something.

When Ferentz decides to finally end his sideline gum-chewing days, I might have a mid-life crisis. I was a freshman at Iowa when Ferentz had his inaugural season at the helm, in all of it's 1-10 glory. Although I hate to admit it, Ferentz has been sort of a constant in my adult life; basketball coaches and wives have come and gone, but Kirk has just 'been there'. 

When he leaves, and a new era of Hawkeye coaching is ushered in... I don't know. I don't know how to explain what I know I'll be feeling at that time. I do know this, though: whether the next step after Ferentz is upward and out of 8-4 "mediocrity", or into less familiar doldrums of "obscurity", I look back on the decade plus of his tenure and my life with nostalgia and good memories.

Note: I don't think that this necessarily applies 100% to the article, but I wanted to get it out.

ἓν οἶδα ὅτι οὐδὲν οἶδα - "I know one thing, that I know nothing"

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IndyHawkeye's picture

This is exactly how I feel about Ferentz.  His first year was my junior year, and I'm not sure what I would feel when he eventually retires.

Side note: I'm old.

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Muck1979's picture

Whoa!  Ferentz's first year was also my junior year and I'm not old.

No, wait.  I'm definitely old.

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thunsicker's picture

His first year was my freshman year of high school.  (We're talking about his first year as OL coach, right?)

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Dip-shit's picture

Thanks for making an almost 40 year old man feel young!

55-24 #Woodshed

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Costco Card Rammin' Greg Davis's picture

Nostalgia will not be necessary. His son will be head coach and things will probably remain largely the same. This is neither a complaint nor an encouragement. 

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Calvin Poolidge's picture

I think I'm a year older than you, but same here.

It's how I felt when Hayden retired.  He'd been "Coach" my entire life (at least from earliest memories on).

"I have something like 50 years left on this little blue marble, I don’t want to spend 50 weeks of it caring about stupid fucking Iowa State." ~TherealCatnuts
"This school spirit, it's contagious. It's alcohol." ~Airliner goer 1977 ranked ISU "Beat Iowa"

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UtahHAWK's picture

I watched my first Hawkeye game in 1976, those were some tough games to watch. I'm not trying to be 'Mr. Johnny Positive' or anything but it could always be worse than mediocre. I believe every Iowa fan would love to win a Championship but as long as the effort is there on the field, I'm okay with the 'developmental talent' at Iowa going 8-4.

"Boys do what they want to do, men do what they need to do". Norm Parker

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Iagander's picture

Kind of related. Mansel's (The Athletic) preseason Top 25 has both Iowa and Iowa State rated. And he has ISU rated higher! Thought I'd never see the day.

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Dip-shit's picture

Hell really has frozen over!

55-24 #Woodshed

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chitownhawkeye's picture

It's sobering, but this is likely true.

Obviously, we don't want it to be, we'd like to see an uptick that moves the average up a win or 2 or more, but that is unlikely to happen.

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Kirk Ferentz's Notecard's picture

I hate articles like this...we do more with less than most schools in the nation.  We could be Indiana, or Purdue (in fact, they have inherent recruiting advantages that we don't).  We have very few D1 athletes in this state, and have competition even for those.  

This team went 12-0 in the last decade.  Go look up how many schools can say that.

I'm not saying we can't improve, but the massive improvements we've had mostly go overlooked.  "Same old Iowa and KF"....seriously, have you been watching the last 5 years?  As someone who has watched Iowa for 35+ years, and seen the entire KF era, we are VASTLY different than when we started.  We've evolved a lot but people don't want to see it.  We recruit better now than we ever have...we are sending 4 underclassmen to the NFL.  And yes...I get it..."we should be better with that talent".  The reality is that we are competitive, we are in every game, and every game we lose could have gone the other way.  Not many teams in the nation can say that they can handle any opponent and give them a game outside of the 6-8 national elite teams.

Not commenting on Barta, et al, I wouldn't mind a different AD, I'm not going to defend him but people go out of their way to not see the positives as well.  Just my 2 cents.

"Everybody got distracted by last week's game. Last week's game doesn't mean crap. It's what you do today." — Kirk Ferentz

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

In the end, the 7-5/8-4 is still the average output - despite the "massive" changes that KF's made - so those changes were just enough to keep the status quo.  

Imagine what the program could be if there were consistent efforts and philosophies to morph their weaknesses into average/above-average assets...

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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Vanilla Gorilla's picture

Watching the comments section with a bowl of popcorn and a grin.

Celebrating horizontal football since 2011

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HoustonHawkeye's picture

Nice post.  It's a pretty good summation of the feelings of many Iowa fans, with a couple of addendums:

  • It's about feeling pretty comfortable being "close" to winning - especially against even and/or poorer teams - which is an absolute Ferentzism. 
  • It's about the refusal to push the edges and eliminate some of those close losses - after all, in the end:  a loss is a loss. 
  • It's about KF's inability to manage games, as he's outcoached on gameday far more than he outcoaches the opposition. 
  • It's about KF's refusal to embrace more intelligent philosophies regarding offensive gameplay - even though it's clearly an impediment to higher levels of program development.

Overall, I was a Hawk fan long before Ferentz and will be long after.  I've had family play for the Hawks in the past, in the present and perhaps in the future.  I'll always be a Hawk fan - but it was installed in me long ago to run away from the status quo when there's ways to tweak/push things to higher competencies - and Hawkeye sports are no different.

I strongly prefer winning over losing.

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FUBAR's picture

Spot on HH. One thing that really bothers me about these arguments that we are performing as well (or better - "we go 8-4, with a 10+ win season every 3 or 4) is that I read that Iowa has the 17th most pros in the NFL. The 15-16 above us regularly finusged in the top 15. Us? We regulatly finish outside the top 25-30. We have GOOD players. We may have to develop them, but they are good. We aren't a better team because our coach is not a good game day coach. It is what It is. And finally, 7-5 or 8-4 is not that good. With 3 non-con cupcakes, that really means 4-5 or 5-4 against teams that have a pulse. Average? Maybe. Acceptable? Not to me.

F.erentz U.B.er Alles, R.ight?

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shimps1's picture

Garbage article.

Nice of you to serve some excuses up on a silver platter for all the Ferentz apologists. Everything else about the program has improved, facilities, budget, etc, but close losses and 8-4 average over the last 20 years shows the real issue. Yet articles like this just keep the coaching seat ice cold.

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