Iowa Football

Iowa and all other Big Ten football teams - a half-season of changed stories

Take what was said in August and kick it aside

Purdue fans surround their mascot on the Ross-Ade Stadium field following their 38-36 victory over Iowa last Nov. 3. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Purdue fans surround their mascot on the Ross-Ade Stadium field following their 38-36 victory over Iowa last Nov. 3. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

If you’ve spent the last several weeks cut off from civilization while on your yacht in the Mediterranean, congratulations.

But know that a lot of Big Ten football narratives have changed while you’ve been sunning yourself off the coast of Sardinia. For instance:

IOWA

Old narrative: Veteran quarterback, better receiving corps, some great blockers, potentially excellent offense to go with a strong defense, West Division title threat.

Plot twist: The offensive line was injury-plagued and less effective as the Hawkeyes started playing Big Ten teams their own size.

New narrative: Iowa’s wiggle room to win the West Division title is now roughly the same as that of a seat in the Kinnick Stadium grandstands.

WISCONSIN

Old narrative: Wisconsin came back to the rest of the West last year and was just another face in the crowd entering this season.

Plot twist: The Badgers have left a pile of rubble in their wake through six games this year, and lead the nation in scoring defense, total defense, rushing defense, passing defense and passing efficiency defense.

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New narrative: It’s not a metaphor. Opposing coaches have to get their teams to run through a brick wall if they are to beat the Badgers.

NORTHWESTERN

Old narrative: Pat Fitzgerald was last season’s Big Ten Coach of the Year in a unanimous vote after the Wildcats won the West.

Plot twist: Northwestern took an 0-3 conference record into Friday night’s game against Ohio State.

New narrative: You can get tickets to the Cats’ Nov. 16 home game against Massachusetts online for $6.

MINNESOTA

Old narrative: Gophers Coach P.J. Fleck is an overhyped flake.

Plot twist: Minnesota is 6-0.

New narrative: Fleck is an eccentric wizard.

PURDUE

Old narrative: Louisville tried hard last November, but couldn’t persuade Jeff Brohm to leave Purdue and become the coach at his alma mater in his hometown. Louisville then hired Scott Satterfield from Appalachian State.

Plot twist: Louisville, 2-10 last season, is 4-2 under Satterfield. Purdue is 2-4 and a big underdog Saturday at Iowa.

New narrative: Appalachian State is 5-0 and nationally ranked under first-year head coach Eliah Drinkwitz, who is making less than one-fourth the money being paid to Brohm or Satterfield.

NEBRASKA

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Old narrative: Nebraska was the preseason favorite to win the West in a poll of Big Ten media, as well as football magazine publisher Phil Steele. Never mind the Huskers went 4-8 last season and had a defense in name only.

Plot twist: Scott Frost’s team was woefully outclassed not only by Ohio State, but Minnesota.

New narrative: Bo Pelini was a pretty competent coach after all. Frank Solich, too.

OHIO STATE

Old narrative: Sure, the Buckeyes have a roster-full of 4-star and 5-star and maybe even 6-star recruits, but there had to be a drop-off with Urban Meyer gone and rookie head coach Ryan Day taking his place.

Plot twist: Ohio State has become an extremely good version of, well, Ohio State.

New narrative: Discovery Channel has invited the Buckeyes to appear on Land Shark Week 2020.

MICHIGAN

Old narrative: Everything is finally in place for the Wolverines to supplant Ohio State atop the East, with the national playoffs within reach.

Plot twist: After getting trampled at Wisconsin, Michigan must sweep Penn State, Notre Dame and Ohio State to get where it wants to go.

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New narrative: If this thing plays out the way it seems it could, would the Appalachian State coach consider taking the Michigan job?

RUTGERS

Old narrative: Rutgers brings the New York-New Jersey market into play for the Big Ten.

Plot twist: The Scarlet Knights have been outscored 165-7 over four Big Ten games this season and are headed for their third 0-9 league record in the last four years.

New narrative: New York remains the cultural, financial and media capital of the world, so at least there’s that.

Comments: (319) 368-8840; mike.hlas@thegazette.com

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