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How often college football programs meet goals Iowa gave Brian Ferentz for 2023
Ferentz’s ‘designated performance objectives’ often achieved by Power Five teams, but not always
IOWA CITY — The countdown already has begun. Or perhaps, in one Iowa football fan’s case, it’s better to say the “account-down.”
Iowa announced an amended contract for offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz Monday that included “designated performance objectives” of winning at least seven games and averaging 25 points per game.
By Tuesday, someone already created a website — BrianFerentzPointsTracker.com — and a Twitter account to track how close he is to reaching the objectives.
Whether he meets the goals has particularly piqued interest of fans, including the person behind the anonymously-registered website, because of what is at stake.
Ferentz’s pay cut turns into a pay raise if he meets the goals outlined in his updated contract. When including his $112,500 “one-time lump sum bonus,” Ferentz would earn $962,500.
His permanent salary in 2024 would be $925,000 — still higher than his base salary of $900,000 in 2022.
The contract will “terminate,” on the other hand, if he does not meet the objectives.
An analysis of five years of NCAA data by The Gazette shows college football programs often achieve Ferentz’s "designated performance objectives,” but it is not something to take for granted.
In the five seasons not affected by COVID-19 from 2017-22, teams achieved both seven-plus wins and at least 25 points per game about 51 percent of the time.
When specifically looking at the Power Five conferences and Notre Dame in that span, it rises to 55 percent of teams.
Looking back at the entirety of Kirk Ferentz’s tenure as head coach, Iowa has reached these benchmarks at a similar rate as the Power Five average.
In 13 of Kirk Ferentz’s 23 full seasons as Iowa head coach — this again excludes the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season — Iowa has won at least seven games and averaged at least 25 points per game.
Brian Ferentz, Kirk’s oldest son, achieved both benchmarks in his first three years as Iowa’s offensive coordinator. Had COVID-19 not compressed the 2020 schedule, Iowa likely would have done so in his fourth year, too.
However, the Hawkeyes have come up short in the last two seasons, averaging 23.4 points per game in 2021 and 17.7 points per game in 2022.
“Offensively, the performance that we had last year is not going to cut it,” Iowa athletics director Gary Barta said last week. “It’s not acceptable for anybody involved.”
As Brian Ferentz and Co. aim to hit the benchmarks in 2023, he’ll have some benefits that not every Power Five team has.
Iowa’s defense, which led the country in yards allowed per play, has several key players expected to return in 2023.
Three of four starters on the defensive line are returning, and defensive back Cooper DeJean already proved to be one of Iowa’s best players in 2022 as a sophomore.
The contract says Iowa “must average at least 25 points per game.” There is no distinction between offensive or defensive points.
If DeJean has a pick-6 or punt return for touchdown, for example, it would count toward Ferentz’s objectives required to avoid termination.
Quarterback Cade McNamara, tight end Erick All Jr., wide receiver Seth Anderson and offensive lineman Rusty Feth highlight the list of incoming transfers for the Iowa offense.
Meanwhile, the person behind the Brian Ferentz Points Tracker has another seven months before having to update the website with any changes to Iowa’s scoring statistics.
The fan is having some fun on Twitter before then, though.
“The barista at @Starbucks remembered my name this morning,” the account tweeted. “That counts as a win, right?”