Iowa football: 8 bold predictions for the remainder of the season
Iowa came a game short of a perfect run to the bye week. (Well, “perfect” might be stretching it.)
Who could have predicted the Hawkeyes would be 6-0 after the Penn State game?
That’s right. The best-case scenario, right here on Saturday Tradition. Even though you might feel like you’re in the worst timeline, you’re in the best one, because that scenario even included “the trademark bad loss.”
Purdue supplied that last Saturday. Now, while we all lick our wounds for an extra week, here are some more bold predictions to hold you over.
Breaking the interception record
Iowa has 16 interceptions through 7 games. The school record is 23, set in 1986 and matched twice since. The Hawkeyes only need half of what they already have to break the record. Considering they managed 6 in one game, the task is not too tall for these “Ball Hawks” or “Dough Boys” or whatever they want to be known as. Soon, you’ll call them record-breakers.
Receivers tripling their touchdown totals
Tyrone Tracy and Keagan Johnson each have 1 touchdown catch through 7 games. That has to change if the Hawkeyes want sustained success — and it will as both receivers will get at least 3 more the rest of the way.
Beating Wisconsin in Madison
You’d think this wouldn’t be so bold, considering it’s a rivalry game. But just as the other three have been one-sided on Iowa’s side in recent years, the Heartland Trophy only took up residence in Iowa City last year. Before that, it hadn’t been seen since 2015, the same year the Hawkeyes last won in Madison. Two years ago, they were an umpire-kissed 2-point conversion away from a tie, but winning is another story. The Hawks get it done in 2021.
And taking the bull by the horns gets you halfway to …
Keeping all 4 rivalry trophies
With Iowa State and Wisconsin in the rear view mirror in this scenario, all that’s left is Minnesota and Nebraska. Both will come into the rivalry game thinking upset. Iowa doesn’t need to be No. 2 to have a target on its back in these games. Even if the Golden Gophers and Cornhuskers keep it close — no bold prediction there — the Hawkeyes will prevail and keep their collection of hardware intact. Minnesota and Nebraska have shown they’re just not ready to take the next step just yet.
Proposing a new rivalry trophy for Illinois
Among the in-conference border states, Illinois stands alone without a trophy to fight Iowa for. That could easily be changed, and there’s no better source of a proposal than the Quad Cities, a community of five towns along the border. The first game between the Hawkeyes and Illini was played in one of them: Rock Island — a 58-0 win in 1899. Iowa topped that with a 63-0 victory in 2018 — in Champaign. At 38-36-2 in favor of the Illini, the series is ripe for a rivalry trophy — not to mention the Hawkeyes’ logo is tattooed on Illinois coach Bret Bielema’s leg. The plans will be set in motion at this year’s game — an Iowa win, of course.
Running the table until the Big Ten Championship Game
If Iowa can win all of the existing trophy games, as well as the proposed one from our bold future, that leaves only Northwestern. Even in a down year, that’s easier said than done. Like the Purdue loss few saw coming (except those who have watched Iowa football 4 of the past 5 years), the Wildcats give the Hawks fits. And Fitz. Can’t rule out a coach that has more Big Ten title game appearances than Kirk Ferentz, until …
Winning the title in a revenge match over Michigan State
The rerun from 2015 nobody nationally asked for. It’s the Hawkeyes and Spartans in Indianapolis, and seemingly no one wants to see this Big Ten champion advance to the College Football Playoff. No bylaws will be changed or exceptions made to allow either from this flawed pair to sniff the final four. Ohio State, which just lost to Michigan in this bold timeline, has a better chance. “Because Buckeyes and only because Buckeyes,” the experts say. It doesn’t matter. Mel Tucker takes the Hawks to his deep water, but somehow they survive on takeaways and field position. Neither team scores 20, and Iowa is returning to the Rose Bowl.
Kirk Ferentz rides off into the sunset
This time, it’s Iowa’s turn for a Rose Bowl rout. The playbook is open in Pasadena. Is it New Kirk, like from 2015? No, it’s short-timer or senioritis Kirk. He finally has nothing to lose. With a Big Ten title game win in hand and the knowledge that this is his last game no matter what, he pulls out all of the stops on offense — and the defense gets all of the stops. The result is a 40-10 victory and a fanbase whispering, “What if?”
Wait, is that Bob Stoops’ music? Time to dig up some old tweets from 1998.