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No matter how many e-mails I open, I still can’t believe it when I see Hawkeye fans calling for Kirk Ferentz fired.

This is the same Ferentz many of those same fans panicked about losing just three years ago. It’s gone from the former Iowa AD (Bowlsbly) opening up the bank vault to keep Kirk, to the current one (Barta) giving Ferentz a vote of confidence.

I understand both sides. Ferentz defenders—and I’m one—realize just how hard it is to win at Iowa. You are in a low population state fighting another D1 school for Iowa recruits and trying to steal an occasional guy from the surrounding states, all of which have their own Big Ten or Big 12 schools. Furthermore, Iowa needs the overlooked “diamonds in the rough” (e.g. Bob Sanders) and overlooked walk-ons with chips on their shoulders (e.g. Dallas Clark). Sometimes you catch lightning in a bottle where everything comes together, including good fortune, and sometimes it all goes the other way. Welcome to 2007.

Having said that, or more accurately, written it, I do understand fans complaining. It has gotten very expensive to follow the Iowa Hawkeyes. In fact, some families are priced out as donation levels and tickets costs continue to escalate out of control. Those fans see a man making more money in one week then they’ll make in a year. They expect results, not bad football. You’re supposed to get what you pay for. (Although Ferentz makes millions because of what he’s already done, including paving a gold road for Kinnick renovation.)

My unsolicited advice: more patience. Ferentz led Iowa to four January bowl games, three top ten finishes, and two co-Big Ten titles. That’s harder than most realize at Iowa, and Hawkeye fans are definitely guilty of often expecting too much. That’s not the case this season—Iowa shouldn’t be this bad—but Kirk deserves time to figure it out and make changes. A few less injuries and suspensions might help too.

The Hawkeye meltdown has been great for Iowa State’s Gene Chizik. It’s overshadowed the fact, to date, the Cyclones are having a dud of a season in Chizik’s first year. Educated football fans didn’t expect a bowl game, but they did expect a better organized and executed effort than Iowa State has shown in all but a few quarters. I’ll say it again, Chizik needs more time and talent, but he also may need to adjust his game plan for the kind of players he’s going to have at Iowa State. You still go after the 4 and 5 star guys, but the reality is, Iowa State isn’t Texas or Auburn, and 99 times out of 100, those blue chippers are going elsewhere—probably to a team Iowa State or Iowa plays on Saturdays.

Chizik’s smarter than me, but I still believe you must run an offense and defense that’s imaginative and daring—one that’s hard to prepare for and gives ISU a puncher’s chance. You’ll probably still lose to Texas and Oklahoma 8 out of 10 times, but that’s better than 10 out of 10, and once in awhile, the whole season could break just right. A realist doesn’t expect the Cyclones to be a perennial power, but a conference championship, or at least a division title, once a decade isn’t asking too much.

Look at all the talent Iowa had when the Hawks went 8-0 in 2002. A lot of those guys are playing on Sundays now. For whatever reason, Iowa has dropped way off that level, and now is in a situation similar to Iowa State’s: not talented enough to beat bigger, better, faster teams with old fashioned football.

Thank God for UNI.

Take care.
Keith

6 comments

  • Anonymous

    Great blog! I think we, as Iowa fans, are spoiled over the success of Ferentz. He became successful to fast. It only took him two years to make Iowa a great team, whereas it usually takes other coaches at least 4-5 years to build a great team. With that being said, I do think Iowa fans need to be patient and quit talking about Ferentz’s firing. I mean, Hell, we are better than that. Will I see Iowa fans wearing paper bags over their heads during the next home game? Have we stooped to that level? Give me a break! Ferentz will figure it out, don’t worry.On another note, the show Cavemen sucks. I think it would be better if they actually had the same people on the Geico commercials in the show. I’d rather drink a mixed drink I like to call, lighteretherout, which consists of lighter fluid, ether, and white-out.GaryP.S. I know there are probably misspellings and grammatical errors in this post, but I don’t care, it’s not English class.

  • Melinda

    Thanks for mentioning UNI! It would be nice to see some highlights from their games here in the DSM market from time to time. And I don’t mean just from the tv stations…that goes for the DSM Register as well.From a UNI alum!

  • Anonymous

    Iowa football is an almost all-time low, Iowa basketball is not going to be good, and Iowa baseball I don’t think ever has been good. So why not start cheering for the HOCKEY team. Wait. Does Iowa even still have a hockey team? If so, how terrible are they? And do they still play at the Coralville mall in unmatching uniforms? If so, count me in. The concession stand options rule there.

  • Keith Murphy

    Gary,Hopefully no one’s grading papers with a red pen. This should all be pretty casual.I didn’t watch Cavemen. It looked like a one joke premise that wouldn’t work for 30 minutes. Kind of like the bad SNL movies (The Ladies Man), not the good ones (Blues Brothers). I was shocked how bad “Back to You” is. Kelsey Grammar and a movie on newscasts seemed like a can’t miss for me, but so far it’s been lame.Melinda,Shawn always tries to show UNI highlights and I know he’s only missed one game so far this season. The Panthers deserve coverage, and they’ll get it.Thanks.Keithp.s. The hockey story is funny.

  • Anonymous

    People calling for Ferentz to go this early are being ridiculous. They’re expecting Iowa to be a continous powerhouse, when in reality it just can’t happen. Iowa is a young team and they will be great again.Look how long Alford stuck around! Ferentz has taken his program and done wonders for it. Alford, in my opinion didn’t do much of anything for the basketball program and he was kept around too long. -Jt

  • ChadX

    Iowa will be back, they’ve got a good infrastructure in place. Injuries are the biggest factor but it may reveal a lack of depth too (recruiting). With Zook at Il. now, Ferentz won’t be getting the recruits he used to out of Chi area and downstate. IN is sealed off with ND (yes, they stink but are a national program still) and Purdue. MN and WI are harder and forget West and South.

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