September 25, 2017

5 Questions with Barry Grandgenett: Hawkeye Football Edition

NDSU players and fans celebrate a last second field goal to stun Iowa (Courtesy of the Quad City Times)

This is what I hope to be the first of many installments of “5 Questions with Barry Grandgenett,” and I wanted to start out with something a bit less controversial than Big 12 Refs or the current political scene – how about Hawkeye football?! Sounds fun, right?

There’s no other way to put it, the Hawks have underachieved so far this season. As I write this, Iowa is coming off its fourth loss, to Penn State. I obviously never like to see the Hawks lose, but this one didn’t seem to be too devastating. Possibly because it was their fourth loss and the dreams of a successful season seemed a distant memory after poor performances earlier in the year. Either way, the Iowa football program is still an interesting topic and one that I am deeply passionate about.

Do Hawk fans expect too much from their football program?

I measure an NCAA program’s success by the salaries of their head coaches. Kirk Ferentz currently makes $4.5MM per year, which is 10th in the nation. Using my standard of measurement, Iowa should be hovering around a top ten ranking and a top ten finish EVERY YEAR! Unfortunately, this salary does not translate into the success that most of us would like to see. Not to mention, KF gets paid in the neighborhood, or MORE, than the following coaches – Dabo Swinney for Clemson, Mark Dantonio for MSU, Bobby Petrino for Louisville, Gus Malzahn for Auburn and Kevin Sumlin for Texas A&M. These are big time programs that turn out double digit wins and top-notch bowl appearances darn near every season. Something’s not adding up here. So, NO, Hawk fans do not expect too much from their football program.

The Iowa defense seems solid. What the flip is going on with their offense?! 

When I watch other NCAA football games, I’m often in awe of the down-field passing that saturates series’ for teams like OSU or Alabama. Is Iowa doing something wrong here? I think so. The Hawks’ running game is solid. So solid that it should translate into long pass attempts, but I seldom see that. So, what’s up? I get tired of blaming Ferentz for everything, so I’m going to blame Greg Davis. Davis has been Iowa’s OC since 2012 and, in my humble opinion, has been a bust. Jake Rudock had the arm to throw deep and we all know that CJ Beathard has a cannon, so why all the three yard pass attempts?! With such a strong running game, it only seems obvious for Iowa to frequently stretch the field and go long.

Should the Hawks eliminate the “bubble gum” games from their non-conference schedule? 

It’s simple; no matter how many games you win or lose, it’s the company you keep that defines your reputation. Of course, winning games is always good, but I’d rather see Iowa finish with a 6-6 record having exclusively played ranked teams than to go undefeated playing teams like the North Texas Mean Green all year. the examples I used are extremes, but playing the first four non-conference games against “bubble gum” teams doesn’t do much to move the needle nationally – especially when Iowa loses to said teams. Iowa’s B1G schedule is fine, but they need national attention playing higher caliber opponents early in the season. Let’s start thinking bigger.

Are too many Iowa fans living in the past? 

I mentioned in an earlier TGS article that I was born in the early 80’s and barely remember the glory days of Hayden Fry. It’s those days that I think a lot of Hawk fans hang their feelings on. Obviously, the Ferentz era has produced flashes of top-tier success, but nothing I’d write home about. To be fair, Iowa has managed two Orange Bowls and a Rose Bowl since 2002, but there’s an awful lot of Outback, Alamo and Insight Bowls sprinkled in there as well. They’re not lousy bowls, but they’re not of much significance nationally. So when I think of Iowa and where they fall nationally, I don’t get too excited. I think all us Hawk fans would benefit if we curbed our enthusiasm. It might just add years to our lives.

Let’s end on a lighter note – Should the University of Iowa put a Tiger Hawk logo on the 50 yard line at Kinnick? 

This one is easy – NO! This topic has been batted around quite a bit lately on social media and It’s one I disagree with. I’m a creature of habit and tradition. I love it when a team or community practices some wonky ritual or superstition that goes back generations. It’s what makes things unique and interesting. Last I checked, there were only a handful of NCAA football fields that were logo-less at midfield and I think it’s neat. It’s one of those quirky things that sets us apart from almost everyone else.

So, there you have it. A tiny glimpse into one Iowa fan’s head as he makes his way through his day. I wish these questions had more to deal with which five-star RB the Hawks should finish out their season with, or if we paid Ferentz enough to keep him around for the next twenty years. Unfortunately we have smaller fish to fry first. Either way, I’m just a happy Hawk fan keeping his expectations appropriately low and enjoying the ride.

Barry Grandgenett
Barry Grandgenett 8 Articles
Former Staff Writer

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