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First Game Question Marks for Hawkeyes

First games are typically tougher to peg than games played later in a season.  There isn’t any data to point to other than returning starters and the older I get the less value I place in that statistics, thanks to statisticians like Dave Bartoo of CFMatrix.

For Iowa, using anything from last year as a barometer for this year is a bit depressing.

Here are some bits of good news for Iowa; younger players are now a year older.  Offensive Coordinator Greg Davis is going to be a better Iowa coordinator this year, according to Kirk Ferentz.  The Hawks are four or five deep at tight end and plan to use a lot of them out of different locations on the offense.  The offensive line seems to be fairly deep, even if a bit unproven between the tackles…those tackles might be the best tandem in the Big Ten…the Iowa defense, which allowed less than 23 points per game last year, will be better this year especially up front…Iowa seems to have great depth at runni…..wait…I am not going there.

Let me circle back to that defensive stat…22.92 points per game allowed last year by the Iowa defense.  That’s a winning number.  That’s good enough to be a heck of a lot better than 4-8, but of course the offense was the worst in the Kirk Ferentz era and I still don’t blame James Vandenberg for that.

Since we don’t have any data from this season to hang our hat on, let me go back to last year one last time and make some ‘guarantees’ for you before tossing out a prediction for this year’s Iowa-NIU game. I guarantee Iowa will be better in the following statistical category rankings this year than their total (list) from last year:

-Iowa ranked 101st in the nation last year with 123 rushing yards per game
-Iowa ranked 114th in the nation in total offense last year
-Iowa ranked 111th in the nation in scoring offense, scoring just over 19 per game
-On top of a horrible offense, Iowa was 104th in net punting
-Iowa ranked 112th in passing efficiency
-Iowa ranked 113th in sacks
-Iowa ranked 105th in tackles for loss

I am not going to say by how much Iowa eclipses these marks, but they will rank better in every single one of them this year than they did last year, or your money will be returned to you.

One number I will not guarantee is 17; that’s the point total for NIU in last year’s season opener against Iowa. It was their lowest point total of the regular season by 13, as they never scored less than 30 the rest of 2012.

We don’t exactly know what to expect from this Iowa offense. We think they’ll be no-huddle all the time, but how much will they mix up tempo? Will they speed it up or will it be mostly check with me? Who cares about that, will the offense have a clue this year? Will the defense provide a pass rush this year? Will special teams turn into a weapon again this year and not something that is just mostly cringe-worthy?

We just don’t know..which makes these season openers all the more exciting.

Having written all of this, you know that the following is a pure guess, or as educated a guess as I could muster up (yeah, I went there). Iowa 24, Northern Illinois 20.

  • Josh Yelland

    Unfortunately, although many people will keep bringing up our offense from last season. Now is the time to just move on and look forward.

    • Montgomery Richmond

      While the offense is a concern (and typically has been most years), I agree with you. Flush last season and hope that the team is much improved this year.

  • Montgomery Richmond

    Well, “guaranteeing” that Iowa will be better this year in stats where they were 100+ nationally last year, isn’t really going out on much of a limb, lol. My belief is that Iowa is going to have to be SIGNIFICANTLY improved in several of those areas if they want to also significantly improve their won-loss record this year.

    Kirk Ferentz says Greg Davis will be a “better offensive coordinator” this year. I haven’t exactly been following closely, but I’d like to know the reasoning behind that statement. Greg Davis is experienced, yes? What did he learn last year that he hadn’t yet figured out in his many years as an OC previously? What is he going to do this year that he wasn’t doing last year (or NOT do this year that he DID do last year)?

    All questions I’m anxiously awaiting the answers to. Hopefully we’ll all be pleasantly surprised with this season’s results.

    • Josh Yelland

      With this schedule I can’t help but agree we will have to ne “significantly” improved.
      Davis can be a better coordinator by knowing the tools he as to work with. Iowa O will be better because of having a year of his system being many of the players

  • HawkeyeBill

    Iowa will be aggressive and unpredictable on offense, and the defense will use some different looks/coverages to overwhelm NIU. This is NOT last year: Iowa-45, NIU-13. The Hawkeyes are back.

    • Josh Yelland

      At least someone here is looking at this positively.

  • bwsmoney

    Iowa’s O-line sucks, TE is a prancing nancy, WRs are terrible, QB is unproven, RBs are decent … I predict more sucking

    • Josh Yelland

      are you even a Hawk fan at all? Go root for the Clowns

      • bwsmoney
        • Josh Yelland

          I apologize for that.
          My optimist and your realist didn’t click there. I’m just seeing to many people throwing in the towel already.
          Go Hawks no matter what.

          • bwsmoney

            obviously go hawks … I want them to go 12-0 … my season tickets are way cooler if we are winning, and I have alot more fun, but this team looks really awful to me … hope I am wrong

          • Josh Yelland

            respectfully I hope you are too. I’d be lying if I said a part of me doesn’t foresee it also.
            I think our season tickets are always pretty cool………….especially compared to Clone ones

  • Randy Olson

    I have been a Hawkeye fan prior to Hayden Fry. We are not the Ohio State or Michigan’s that can reload every year and continue playing football without missing a beat. We are Iowa. The coaches have to look for that diamond in the ruff that can play football, because anyone that has more than 3 stars after their name go to places like OS or MI. Look we lost a homegrown 4 or 5 star player to Alabama and I don’t blame him, he is free to go where he wants. My point is coaches like Hayden and Kirk has made Iowa football respectable and there are years we need to reload and things look bad for a time. Kirk has a knack for getting his team to improve. During games they improve, and as the season goes on they normally improve. Now that didn’t happen last year, but last year was a fluke in my opinion. I look forward to this year and I think we will see improvement all around.

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