Sunday, November 18, 2007
Iowa Football: Why the failure in 2007?
Iowa Football was exciting for 3 years... just not the past 3 years... if we compare the 3 year run of '02-04 to the just completed '05-'07.
Actually, the 2000-04 climb from 0-8 (Big Ten) in '99 to three straight seasons at #8 nationally was a great ride! The 2000 and 2001 seasons witnessed good, bad and ugly. The 2007 season is very similar.
The Good: upsetting then #18 Illinois and an OT win over Michigan State, both at Kinnick. A much needed road win in the Big Ten at Northwestern.
The Bad: losses at Purdue and at home vs. IU.
The ugly: losses at Iowa State in September and to close the season vs. Western Michigan.
'007 doesn't need a James Bond plot to determine what happened. Iowa resembles a SNL cast... clearly a not ready for prime time player cast.
Entering 2007, you had a mix of expectations for Iowa. There was some potential, but at the same time... par for the course has become middle of the road. For now, 6-6 overall, 4-4 in the Big Ten has become par for Iowa, which Iowa reached in '07. After finishing #8 nationally for three straight seasons in '02 to '04, Iowa has certainly regressed. But, after finishing 2-6 in the Big Ten in '06... a 4-4 finish in '07 shows improvements. Call them baby steps for now!
Why the demise in '07 -
1. Like many teams (ISU and Western Michigan), the difference in success and failure is often found in one key statistic... turnover difference. Why did Iowa lose 2 OOC games in '007? First, look at turnovers. Iowa, ISU and Western Michigan are prime examples of why turnovers often lead to disappointment. When you protect the football, success is possible, when you don't; like Iowa found in both OOC losses... good things don't happen for your football team.
2. You are only as good as your quarterback. Look around the country... Notre Dame won in '06 on the shoulders of their QB. Not in '07. The QB position isn't all of it, but it is a very big factor, when it comes to success in college football. Boston College, Missouri, and KU are three teams getting solid play from the QB position. In Iowa's run in '02-'04, Brad Banks, Nathan Chandler and Drew Tate were difference makers more times than not.
3. Special teams... when Iowa succeeded in '02-'04... we found execution in all phases of the game. Football comes down to execution, whether it be in the trenches, the line of scrimmage or in all phases of the kicking game.
4. Controlling the line of scrimmage... when Iowa was successful, clearly it all started here.
5. Youth... one silver lining we can take from the '007 season. Is the youth of the Iowa Football team. Iowa was clearly the youngest football team in the Big Ten, with the fewest senior starters and 31 true or redshirt freshmen players being asked to contribute to the team.
History repeated itself at the conclusion of 2007. Like in 2000, Iowa isn't going bowling and an Iowa team fell victim to Western Michigan at Kinnick. The 2000 team didn't show great success on offense nor defense. Neither did the 2007 club.
Iowa Football has potential. Often we see three year cycles... '02-'04... '05-07... but, we will have to wait to see what happens in 2008. One clear note we have seen in College Football today... it's parity.
Iowa is just another example of it. Parity is the true landscape of College Football Today. Success will not come even, whether it be in the Big Ten, OOC or at Iowa.