The State of the State: Iowa Look at College Football Futures

August 18, 2023

Can the Hawkeyes offense get out of the Dark Ages to help Iowa compete in the Big Ten?

© Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Ferentz wins a lot of games, but he’s under fire for the manner in which he does it.

Iowa football is boring at times. Actually, it’s pretty hard to watch on most Saturdays. But it’s hard to argue with the results.

Since 2015, the Hawkeyes have gone 63-25. They’ve finished first in the Big Ten West on two occasions, had three seasons with 10-plus wins and extended their bowl game streak to nine-straight years.

There’s a lot of programs around the country that would sign up for that in a heartbeat. In fact, the vast majority of schools would be thrilled with that kind of success.

But because the Iowa offense can sometimes look like it’s from a bygone era, during a time when a lot of teams are throwing the ball all over the field and putting up Star Wars-like numbers, the accomplishments seem underwhelming. They get skewed by the desire to not only win, but win with style.


No team should ever have to apologize for winning. And no coach should be on the hot seat for having his team in contention for a conference title nearly every season.

This year, Kirk Ferentz will have a much better option at quarterback. Cade McNamara has transferred from Michigan, giving Iowa a playmaker who should help jumpstart the offense. He’ll have a pair of NFL-caliber tight ends to work with, as well as an improved offensive line.

Will they turn the Hawkeyes into an offensive juggernaut? No. That’s not the way Iowa wants to play. But will they give Hawkeyes a better chance of hanging in games against the class of the conference? That should be a definite yes.

That might not be enough to quiet a restless fanbase. But it should be more than enough to keep Iowa in most games and give them a shot to win the Big Ten West once again.

Bud Parmalee’s pick: Iowa over 8.0 wins in 2023 (-130)

This number is pretty right on the money, making a push pretty likely. The Hawkeyes can’t afford to lose a game their expected to win and then need to pick up a victory when they’re an underdog. Road games at Iowa State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Nebraska will make the difference; they need to win one of those to hit the over.