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Wine Online: Calm Down, Hawk Fans

Kirk Ferentz isn't a rear-view mirror guy.  He's looking forward and sees an opportunity in the Hawkeyes coming bowl game.

Kirk Ferentz isn't a rear-view mirror guy. He's looking forward and sees an opportunity in the Hawkeyes coming bowl game.

Nov. 29, 2010


IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Get a grip on yourselves, Hawkeye fans. Take a deep breath, it's only the end of the regular football season, not the end of the world. It might have been the end of the world if your Hawkeyes had lost five times by huge margins in games in which they were badly overmatched. That's when you have serious problems.

But the Hawkeyes lost five games by narrow margins. They were in a position to win them all. That's reason to be frustrated and unhappy. But don't get discouraged and depressed. Your football program is still in good shape.


It may be hard to stay positive after losing three games by 10 points to end the regular season, but look at the bright side as our team prepares for a bowl game.

For instance: Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State share the Big Ten championship. Each has lost only once and is ranked in the Top 10. Iowa gave the Spartans their only loss, a 37-6 pasting. The Hawkeyes lost to the Badgers by one point and to the Buckeyes by three. Losing to Wisconsin 31-30 might have torn your guts out, but would you rather lose 70-23, as Northwestern did to the Badgers last Saturday?

The Hawkeyes have been in every game they've played the last three seasons. They have lost 11 times by an average of 3.5 point per game. No loss was by more than seven points. That is being consistently competitive.

Penn State lost five games this season -- one to Iowa -- by a total 92 points. Michigan lost five games this season -- one to Iowa -- by a total of 87 points. Iowa lost five games this season by a total of 18 points.





It might have been the end of the world if your Hawkeyes had lost five times by huge margins in games in which they were badly overmatched. That's when you have serious problems.

But the Hawkeyes lost five games by narrow margins. They were in a position to win them all. That's reason to be frustrated and unhappy. But don't get discouraged and depressed. Your football program is still in good shape.



You know your football team is the envy of others when the home team beats you, then stages a euphoric on-the-field celebration, as Northwestern and Minnesota did. Wisconsin and Ohio State also displayed plenty of emotion after winning at Kinnick. That may be hard to watch, but it also a tribute to your team and your program. You worry when a team beats you, yawns and strolls to the locker room.

In the Big Ten, only Ohio State has more Top 10 finishes than Iowa in the last nine seasons. OSU has eight, Iowa four, Penn State three, Michigan three, Wisconsin two and Michigan State one.

The month of November has been emotionally draining for Hawkeye Nation, but there is no reason for despair. Let's keep our heads up, stay positive and help our team get mentally and physically ready for a bowl game.

Speaking of bowl games, there are none that end after three quarters. If so, we'd lobby hard for that one. The reality is that Iowa might be headed back to the Outback Bowl in Tampa, where it has played three times in the last eight years, splitting two games with Florida and beating South Carolina.

After surfing the web for bowl projections, I like the one at cbs-sports.com, which has Big Ten teams lined up like this:

Rose Bowl in Pasadena ,Jan. 1 -- Wisconsin vs. TCU Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Jan. 1 -- Ohio State vs. Arkansas Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Jan. 1 -- Michigan State vs. Alabama Outback Bowl in Tampa, Jan. 1 -- Iowa vs. South Carolina Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Jan. 1 -- Penn State vs. Florida Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, Jan. 1 -- Northwestern vs. Texas Tech Texas Bowl in Houston, Dec. 29 -- Illinois vs. Baylor Insight Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. Dec. 28 -- Michigan vs. Oklahoma State