Will Hawkeyes bounce back and make bowl?

Everyone associated with the Iowa football program would love to forget the 2012 season. It was a struggle all around, in pretty much every facet, as the Hawkeyes finished 4-8 and missed out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007. Can this year’s new-look team get back to the postseason? BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart and Brent Yarina offer their thoughts in this post.

Question: Will Iowa get back to a bowl after missing the postseason in 2012?

Tom: I don’t think so. The Hawkeyes are trending down. There’s no other way to put it. From 11-2 in 2009 to 8-5, 7-6 and 4-8 last season. In fact, the 4-8 mark in 2012 was Kirk Ferentz’s worst since a 3-9 record in 2000. A sure sign of trouble is when a coaching staff is shuffled. Well, Ferentz’s staff has been a turnstile the past two offseasons after being a bastion of stability since he took over in 1999. But, a head coach can only shuffle his staff so many times. On the field, the Hawkeyes’ offense is littered with questions. Who will catch the ball? Is there a quality quarterback in the house? Will coordinator Greg Davis’ offense work? On defense, the line is searching for difference makers. And special teams? They have been a sore spot in Iowa City for years. I’ll stop there. Add in an ever-improving Legends Division, and it’s not far-fetched to think Iowa could finish last.

Brent: I’d be shocked if Iowa is bowl eligible this year. It won four games last season and finished 2-6 in the Big Ten, tying Minnesota for the Legends Division basement. Most troubling, the offense was a mess in coordinator Greg Davis’ first season, scoring a Big Ten-worst 22 touchdowns, including seven through the air. And that was with veteran James Vandenberg – the same guy who threw 25 scores as a junior in 2011 – under center. This fall, the Hawkeyes are guaranteed to break in a quarterback with zero FBS experience. The receivers? There’s not much experience there, either. The line could be a strength, and RB Mark Weisman is a beast – assuming he can avoid AIRBHG. But, unlike Michigan State, another team with questions on offense, it’s not like Iowa has a stout defense to rely on. Perhaps most important, in terms of making a bowl, the Hawkeyes trade Indiana and Penn State for Big Ten favorite Ohio State (road) and three-time reigning champ Wisconsin (home) on this year’s schedule. From a talent and schedule perspective, it’s hard to envision Iowa reaching six wins.

View Iowa’s complete 2013 schedule:

Day Date Opponent Time TV Result
Sat. Aug. 31 vs. 22 Northern Illinois TBA
Sat. Sep. 7 vs. Missouri State TBA
Sat. Sep. 14 at Iowa State TBA
Sat. Sep. 21 vs. Western Michigan TBA
Sat. Sep. 28 at Minnesota TBA
Sat. Oct. 5 vs. Michigan State TBA
Sat. Oct. 19 at 3 Ohio State TBA
Sat. Oct. 26 vs. 17 Northwestern TBA
Sat. Nov. 2 vs. Wisconsin TBA
Sat. Nov. 9 at Purdue TBA
Sat. Nov. 23 vs. 24 Michigan TBA
Fri. Nov. 29 at 25 Nebraska TBA

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11 Comments

Your Opinion?
Show Comments (11 Comments)
Charles Taylor on 4/23/2013 @ 12:36pm EST Said:

Wow. Brutal analysis. Please remember, Iowa lost by 3 to Iowa State, by 1 to Central Michigan, by 3 to Purdue, and by 6 to Nebraska. All games were decided on the final possession. Iowa had a first down inside Iowa State’s 25 yard line when they threw an interception. Purdue and C. Michigan beat them on long, game-ending field goals. Iowa thoroughly outplayed Nebraska for most of the game.

I’m grateful for your negative outlook on Iowa. That is when they are at their best. They are going to surprise a lot of people this year.

Nicholas Push on 4/23/2013 @ 12:39pm EST Said:

Not to mention Iowa has been terrible on the recruiting front for the last several years. Hard to win in the B1G with mid-level MAC talent.

Luke on 4/24/2013 @ 12:49pm EST Said:

Charles, how does a team that “thoroughly outplayed” Nebraska end up on the short end of the yardage stick? You also neglected to mention that in addition to the close losses you mentioned, Iowa also had razor close wins over Northern Illinois and Michigan State in games both teams had basically won until they blew it right at the end….you could’ve just as easily been 2-10 last year as 6-6 or 7-5.

The real elephant in the room though is Iowa’s schedule. They had Purdue, Iowa State, and Nebraska at home last year and will have to travel for those. And of course they substitute Indiana and Penn State for Wisconsin and Ohio State in their cross-division games.

I think getting back to 4-8 this year would be an accomplishment for the Hawks.

JD Kinnick on 4/26/2013 @ 9:29pm EST Said:

Iowa’s ceiling is 5-7, could win as few as three games. Ferentz career is toast….

how on 4/27/2013 @ 11:37pm EST Said:

I am going be the real Iowa fan and stand on the edge Iowa will win them all go hawks

Allen Levy on 5/30/2013 @ 2:24pm EST Said:

It is true that Iowa is “trending down.” But a transition year, such as last year, when Davis came in, is always difficult. Thing went completely south when we had injuries to the left side of the the o line so that Weisman couldn’t run effectively—and then he got hurt. If we can run that play and get some good running from our other running backs (and I think we will), we will be back above .500. Not by much—Ferentz will not allow two losing seasons in a row. Iowa goes 7-6, losing in a bowl game.

DontGiveADamnForTheWholeStateOfMichigan on 6/7/2013 @ 1:25pm EST Said:

Iowa cant even get the best kids in IOWA, IA St is the better team as of late. Besides W.Mich and Mizzu St, I could easily see Iowa losing the rest. 2-10 is my prediction, where is all the people calling for Ken’s head now! Kirk will get $2Mill per win!

OutBack on 12/10/2013 @ 10:20am EST Said:

Hey Tom…..

You were dead wrong with your Hawkeye forcast.. What bowl game is Purdue going to…..

Dallas Palmer on 12/10/2013 @ 10:26am EST Said:

Sad really…all these people think they know more than the staff at Iowa. 2013: 5-3 in the Legends, 2nd place in the legends beat Michigan and Northwestern at home and Purdue, Nebraska and Minnie on the road.
Outback Bowl against LSU…man, did the Hawks have a bad year…

Nathan Lindsay on 12/10/2013 @ 3:30pm EST Said:

Sound predictions Tom and Brent, you nailed these. Obviously, nearly impossible to get most right, even close across the board, but you not only missed on Iowa’s ability to do what KF has done over and over again, but you underestimated the value of team chemistry.

Now, get to hear how Iowa doesn’t have enough speed and athleticism to match up with good SEC team for the next month, yet Iowa is 4-1 against current SEC teams. Ask Florida, LSU, South Carolina, and Missouri how our slow, nonathletic teams matched up with their superior SEC talent/speed.

    Brent Yarina, BTN.com Senior Editor on 12/10/2013 @ 4:44pm EST Said:

    Thank you? Ha. No, I’m always fine with being wrong like this. Great year for the Hawkeyes.