Allow me to indulge a wrestling reference here..... FIIIINNNNAAAAALLLYYYY..... the Iowa Hawkeyes are back on the Badgers schedule! Yep, that's right the Heartland Trophy can finally be hoisted once again as Iowa and Wisconsin will at least meet this season for sure. Who knows what 2014 will look like with the expansion and division alignment. Outside of playing the Gophers is there anything better than seeing Kirk Ferentz on the schedule?
Not to us here at MTB at least. When we last were with you the Badgers were taking care of business on the road with the Illini and improving to 7-1 and just like we took yesterday off, the Badgers will have the next week off before tangling with Rival Iowa.
Since Wisconsin and Iowa last met these two teams have gone in vastly different directions - Wisconsin winning three straight Big Ten championships and Iowa, well Iowa losing more games than they've won and losing more running backs than we can count.
So, what does the 2013 matchup have in store? As the saying goes, "you can't know where you're going if you don't know where you've been" and that's why we're looking back to look forward with the Hawkeyes today.
2012 Record: 4-8, 2-6 B1G
Head Coach: Kirk Ferentz, 100-74 at Iowa, 15th year in 2013
2012 Billingsley Ranking: No. 79
2012 Team Stats:
162.1yds - 16TD's
187.4yds - 7TD's/8INT's
219.5yds - 16TD's/10INT's
2012 Crazy Stat: 36% - You want to see just how bad things were for the Hawkeyes in 2012, just take a look at an offense that converted on just 26% of it's 3rd down attempts. That's a recipe for disaster and that's exactly what the Hawkeyes 2012 season could be described as rather accurately.
What 2012 Tells Us About Iowa: When you don't have anyone on your roster who's ever had a carry in a college football game it's quite troubling and when 2012 ended that lack of a running game killed the Hawkeyes. So too did a defense that has become a shell of it's former self. I'd love to know the last time the Hawkeyes gave up more touchdowns rushing than they scored - I'd put some good money down that it hasn't happened more than once in the Ferentz era. Things go so bad that they even blew a four game home winning streak against in state rivals Iowa State, despite not giving up a single touchdown (something that's becoming a pattern in the series for the Hawkeyes).
Greg Davis' offense was inept to say the least and even the usually productive offensive line had issues. Hell, James Vandenberg went from a solid Big Ten quarterback to completely awful in one offseason - either than or this team had some terrible coaching going on. Now moving forward this team is facing life without it's top QB and top WR, to say 2013 will be interesting is an understatement.
One thing is for sure - another season like 2012 in 2013 and the Hawkeye faithful are likely to be wanting Kirk Ferentz's head. It's truly amazing to see how the mighty have fallen.
Series History: Tied at 42-42-2
Key Losses: James Vandenberg, QB (57.3% comp., 2,249yds, 7TD's/8INT's); Keenan Davis, WR (47 rec, 571yds, 1TD); James Ferentz, C; Micah Hyde, CB (78 tackles, 4tfl's, 14BU's, 15PD's, 1INT)
Key Returners: Mark Wiesman, RB (815yds, 8TD's); Kevonte Martin-Manley, WR (52 rec, 571yds, 2TD's); Anthony Hitches, LB (124 tackles, 5.5tfl's, 1 sack); James Morris, LB (113 tackles, 9tfl's, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT); Greg Castillo, CB (26 tackles, 2INT's)
WAY Too Early Prediction: Wisconsin 37, Iowa 17 - There are some decent parts to this Hawkeyes team, but there are far too many questions surrounding a team that wasn't very good last season to see them making that drastic of a jump to being competitive against teams that could be at the top of the conference. Playing in Kinnick Stadium can be difficult to say the least and that may be the only chance they have in this one if you ask me. Games between these two teams have always been won and lost in the trenches and if you take a look at the rosters of these two teams there is ZERO way you can say any of the advantage goes to Iowa on either side of the ball in this one. Chalk another victory up for the Badgers as they end October 8-1 and head to the home stretch in an interesting position to contend for yet another Big Ten championship.