How the Mighty have Fallen
|Before focusing too much on the present, it is sometimes important to reflect on the past. So let's start by remembering one of the greatest days in Hawkeye football history; January 1st, 2005 (thanks to HawkeyeFan123).|
"The Catch" is certainly one of, if not the, greatest moment in Hawkeye history. It gave Iowa a 30-25 win over LSU in the 2005 Capital One Bowl and helped the 2004 Big Ten Co-Champion Hawkeyes finish 10-2 overall. Iowa finished ranked #8 in the final AP Poll for the third consecutive season. At that time it appeared as though Iowa would be a major player on the national scene for years to come. Unfortunately, things haven't quite worked out that way. Since Drew Tate's last second touchdown pass to Warren Halloway in the 2005 Capital One Bowl, Iowa has failed to win more than 7 games in any of the past three seasons. With two straight losses this year and Iowa currently sitting with a 3-2 record, the Hawkeyes would have to win 5 of their last 7 to finish the season with 8 wins. Here now is a more in depth look at the slow, steady, and painful decline of the Iowa football program in recent years.
The next season in 2005, the Hawkeyes finished 7-5 after losing to Florida in the 2006 Outback Bowl. Since that loss to Florida in the Outback Bowl, Iowa is 6-11 in Big Ten games (2006-Present). Only Michigan State (5) and Minnesota (3) have less Big Ten wins since 2006. If Michigan State beats us Saturday (and Kirk Ferentz has never won at Michigan State), then Minnesota would be the only team with fewer Big Ten wins than Iowa in the past 2+ years. Not good.
Comparing the winning percentage of conference games from 2006 on, one could argue that the only Big Ten team which has been worse than Iowa in the past 2+ years has been Minnesota. Iowa has won a total of 6 Big Ten games in the last 17 conference matchups. Northwestern and Indiana both have the same number (6) of wins against Big Ten opponents in that time frame. Unfortunately, head-to-head the advantage goes to the Wildcats and Hoosiers. Iowa has lost 3 of their last 4 meetings with Northwestern. Iowa has also lost 2 straight games to Indiana. It’s painfully obvious that the Hawkeyes have been one of the worst teams in the Big Ten over the last two seasons. In fact, Iowa has won only 4 of their last 14 games against conference opponents.
It is past time for some things to change. There is an old quote – "You either change or get left behind." If the current coaching staff continues to be unwilling to make any changes in their general philosophies, then it may be time to think about making some changes within the coaching staff. We cannot continue to lose games to lesser opponents and lose games that should be won. The same old conservative approach that Iowa has displayed on both sides of ball throughout the Ferentz era is simply not working any longer. At some point something needs to change. It can start this Saturday with a win at East Lansing. A place Kirk Ferentz has yet to win a game in his career. Iowa can start by changing that. Just don't expect Hawkeye fans to be holding their breath.