Um.... Ya, there's no way to spin 2012 as anything other than a major step backwards for the Iowa Hawkeyes football program. Going 4-8 overall and just 2-6 in Big Ten play isn't very good. In fact it's the 2nd worst record in conference play during the Kirk Ferentz era at Iowa and the 4-8 overall record was the worst since the 2000 season.
Not good news when you are just three seasons removed from an 11 win season and an Orange Bowl appearance. However doom and gloom things were in 2012 there were some positives and a small glimmer of hope as well. Question is, will those things shine through some of the major holes this team has coming into 2013?
Let us take a look back at 2012 so we can understand exactly what is ahead for 2013.
At least two of the four wins the Hawkeyes managed last year were somewhat impressive. Especially holding off and hanging on over eventual Orange Bowl participant Northern Illinois to open up the season. Then the Hawkeyes were able to take down a good Michigan State team on the road in overtime.
That's really about it... Well, that and the appearance of a running back who may be there for more than one season. Mark Weisman rushed for 815 yards and 8 touchdowns last season, averaging over 5 yards a carry and that had to be a blessing in disguise for a team and fan base starved for a consistent running game following the constant disappointment and transfers over the previous three offseasons.
For all the positive momentum Weisman brought to the rushing attack it sure wasn't enough. Why? Because the Hawkeyes managed to rank dead last as a team in rushing offense in 2012. That's bad, but it gets worse. How much worse?
The Hawkeyes failed to rank in the top half of any major statistical category on OFFENSE OR DEFENSE, ranking 7th as their highest in any category (passing offense & defense, rushing defense). In fact the offense ranked dead last or 2nd to last in every major statistical category outside of passing offense and that's just not good news at all.
Remember that Michigan State W we talked about as the good part of the season.... Well, that's also the last time the Hawkeyes won a football game, going 0 for the final 6 games of 2012. During that stretch of six straight losses the Hawkeyes allowed their opponents to score 24 or more points in 5 of the 6 contests and they failed to score more than 24 points in any of those six games. That's not going to win you many games to say the least.
Things only get uglier when you consider the fact that Iowa found a way to LOSE AT HOME to a .500 MAC team in Central Michigan. Sure it was just a 32-31 loss, but it sure didn't help the fan base love this team or it's hopes of making a bowl game.
What 2012 tells us about 2013:
This team was young in some spots, but also experienced in key areas last season and it was downright ugly in Iowa City. So, 2012 tells us that unless a miracle happens this season where everything clicks this team could be in for more of the same, especially with their two year starter at QB, James Vandenberg, gone. For all the individual talent available across the roster they haven't put the results together.