Kirk Ferentz is lucky to always have a nice pre-season ranking, but he rarely finishes where they predict. He will miss Shomm Greene this season, but will another running back step up? Iowa brings back a nice defense from last year and should do well against the run this year. Joe Pasquali is here once again to talk about his #3 pick in the Big Ten, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Finishing #3 in the Big Ten
Iowa Hawkeyes (Predicted Finish 9-3)
Summary– Iowa is expected to have a big season. Last time this was the case pre-season (2007) the Hawkeyes disappointed everyone and went a mediocre 6-6. Out of the starting 22 positions Iowa has 15 returning starters. However, and this is a BIG however, the Hawkeyes have to travel to Columbus, Happy Valley, and Camp Randall. Iowa will lose two of those, if not all three. I do feel someone has to step up and get to nine wins outside of PSU/OSU and I think Iowa has the best shot.
Offense (B+)– Shonn Greene was a STUD at RB last year for the Hawkeyes and losing him hurts, but don’t expect a big drop off statistically for Iowa. They will have the best offensive line in the conference anchored by All-Conference Tackles Bryan Bulaga and Kyle Calloway. Ricky Stanzi managed the offense very well last season and made few mistakes; he will need to have another solid season for the Hawkeyes to live up to the hype.
Defense (A-)– Eight returning starters for a defense that slapped around Spurrier’s men in the Outback Bowl last winter, things are looking good in Iowa. Pat Angerer (MLB) and Amari Spievey (CB) are both all conference and two of the best players in the country at their respective positions. This defense ranked 2nd in the Big Ten last year only behind Penn State and should finish towards the top once more. The only question mark is two new starters at DT (Karl Klug and Mark Daniels) and at 258 lbs/267 lbs respectively, may be a bit undersized up the middle.
Special Teams (B)– Daniel Murray is an average kicker who only saw game action half of the season last year, making six of nine kicks. Ryan Donahue was all conference last season at the punting position and matched with a great defense should give opposing teams fits.
Coaching (B)– Kirk Ferentz may be on the hot seat this season. Iowa has pretty big expectations and will be looking for a top there finish. If Iowa slips to a 6-6 or 7-5 season, look for a change to be in order. If they finish 3rd as predicted, he’ll probably get a huge contract. Thus is the world of college football.