Iowa Football

Iowa football mailbag: Time for me to pay up

We had a little bet with our #oniowapod over/unders: Want to beat Wisconsin, run the ball like Wisconsin

Iowa Hawkeyes running back Tyler Goodson (15) finds an opening to run during the second quarter of their game at Kinnick
Iowa Hawkeyes running back Tyler Goodson (15) finds an opening to run during the second quarter of their game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

It’s the last #oniowapod mailbag of the season. Thanks for reading and for your questions.


I’d love to know if the Hawkeyes run the ball well against Iowa’s defense in practice. We’d know a heckuva lot more about why they do what they do. Alas, we do not and so the football conversation is 100 percent less sophisticated and kind of guesswork to what point they’re trying to prove with Iowa’s 2019 offense.

I would guess this after 11 games and 11 re-watches all of this stuff: The offense probably didn’t have a running play reach 60 percent success rate against the defense in August. What’s success? Let’s say 4 yards. Do you think Iowa’s offense had a rushing play that hit 60 percent in camp against the defense? I don’t and I think that’s why the offense has looked the way it’s looked this year, which is an offense that is looking for that 90-percent play, which is probably a passing play this year.

This is the conversation. Want to beat Wisconsin next season? Tear apart the mechanism that delivered this O-line and running game. And by that, I mean recruit better, coach smarter, manage the roster better. Have a certain amount of developmental OLs, but really have eight who are better than “Hope they hold up.”

O-linemen aren’t on the shelf at the Kum & Go. Go find ’em.


I think Phil is right.


I don’t have a Stanley treatise. He never seemed open to the family story and that’s fine. Here’s just my straight “from here” guy take: Stanley is one of us. He has an earnestness that really makes me wonder how deeply it flows. I think you can be too earnest. It feels like he’s one of those people who want to know and understand how things work and why.

He’s also a competitor and knows the weight of all of this. He knows how important it is for you guys. He feels it.

No, it didn’t always line up. There’s no Indy. There’s no West Division trophy. There are plenty of wins and feel goods.

But really, he put on the colors that all Hawkeyes fans say they really, really care about and he poured it out. He was your guy. He lived and died with it ... on the field, you know what I mean.

I understand that means less and less to people. It’s too bad. I can’t change it, and I’m not trying. You do you. Keep it off my Twitter.

Stanley’s numbers will stand. Maybe the perceptions will change over time.


I don’t know. and totally wish I did. I know Keith Duncan has been asked a few times. He is a Lou Groza Award finalist and could set the national record for field goals in a season with four more, but I want to know what Jason wants to know. I’ll effort this over the bowl prep. Good question!



Perhaps the frustration of an 8-3 season with losses to three ranked opponents can be covered in the distance between these two numbers.

Covered this one in the Depth Chart Monday, but it’s worth reviewing because Iowa’s red-zone offense took a tremendous step backward in 2019.

Going into the season finale, Iowa has scored on 35 of 37 trips into the opponent’s red zone (94.6 percent). That’s No. 6 in the country. In red-zone TD percentage, you know it drops off. The Hawkeyes have scored TDs on just 54.1 percent of their red-zone trips in 2019. That’s No. 90 in the country (20 of 37). Last year, Iowa was 25th in the country with 38 red-zone TDs (69.1 percent). The 38 TDs were tied for No. 23 last year. This year, the 20 red-zone TDs is 90th.

Yes, this is where the Hawkeyes missed a competent running game (at 3.75 yards per carry, Iowa will be held to under 4 yards per carry for the third year in a row). Also, Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson. Iowa’s red-zone offense had a pair of NFL first-round tight ends to target last season.

The 38 red-zone TDs in 2018 to the 20 this season is an eyebrow raiser. That number probably accounts for a lot of the 2019 angst and no trip to Indy.



The Badgers will herd Minnesota like goats. If UW can get to Tanner Morgan, it’ll be a blowout. The Badgers have shown a winning gear and Wisconsin’s defense is at least as good as Iowa’s.


I don’t think the Big Ten will make that move, but I do believe this will work itself out.

Commissioner Jim Delany is retiring. He made the eastward move to make the Big Ten rich. And, hey, it worked. The Big Ten is the richest conference with the best and most secure immediate future. In 2017, the league signed deals with ESPN and Fox that made it $2.64 billion.

Rutgers helped make the Big Ten rich. Full-share Big Ten schools (hey, Iowa!) raked in more than $50 million each. You can thank Rutgers and Maryland for the new north end zone.


Delany, who’ll be replaced by Kevin Warren in early 2020, hasn’t backed off the Rutgers-Maryland thing. Kevin Warren should, and, who knows, maybe he gets that window to right this wrong. Oh, it’s a “wrong.” It’s the wrongest. Rutgers can’t be everyone’s homecoming opponent. It’s a free space on the game board for the Big Ten.

Delany’s goal was “rich.” Too bad it wasn’t “competitive,” but there’s no sport that wants to rob you and leave you at the creek with a head injury more than college football. How much do you think tickets cost for Western Carolina at Alabama last weekend? Do you think they were cheaper than LSU-Bama? They weren’t. This sport will pull your pockets inside out if you let it.

Making the moves even more of a gamble were the fact that Rutgers and Maryland were on shaky financial ground. The schools borrowed from the league. It sounds like a pyramid scheme and Rutgers and Maryland will never be made “right.”

Let’s see what happens in 2023. That’s when the Big Ten’s deal with ESPN ends. I think that’s when the deal with Fox ends, too, but Fox has signed on to run the Big Ten Network through 2032.

Delany never sold Rutgers and didn’t care about selling it. He made the deal. It was up to Rutgers to ignore its history and tradition and decide it could compete in the Big Ten.

And that made it an even dumber move by Delany. He should’ve known better. He should’ve shot for something other than “rich.”



I wanted to mention this and, thankfully, I remembered for the last #oniowapod mailbag ... well, before the bowl game, anyway.

On our podcast, The Athletic’s Scott Dochterman and I have called out for over/unders for years. A few seasons ago, Nate Olsen started coming up with some and keeping track of standings between Scott and I. This has been a bad year for me. I’m usually much better.

Anyway, we decided a couple bucks would go to a charity this year. So, unless anyone has any objections, I’m going to send $100 to the “Fundraiser for Marvin Franzen.”

I know a lot of you haven’t heard of Codfish Hollow. It’s a music venue/barn just outside of Maquoketa. The place is magic on a summer night. My favorite night of last summer was seeing Murder by Death with my wife. I’ve seen Dinosaur Jr there (twice), The Felice Brothers, Dawes (twice), Built to Spill (honorable bow) and lots of others.

Marvin Franzen drives the hay trailer that takes people the half mile or so down and then up the hill from the venue to parking. Last summer, the tractor slipped into the ditch. Marvin has been in the hospital for a while.

He’s doing better. Football has been going on and I haven’t soaked in the updates, but things are looking up.

Please, donate if you can. This was Nate’s idea, and I jumped at it. I just thought I’d keep it closer, darn it.

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