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Point/Counterpoint: Does Iowa deserve the criticism?

BY DI SPORTS STAFF | NOVEMBER 03, 2009 7:20 AM

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YES

Iowa is definitely a resilient team. There is no doubt about that.

No matter the circumstance, the Hawkeyes always have a chance. If anyone hasn’t figured that out yet, there is a serious problem.

While I couldn’t be more thrilled about Iowa’s historic 9-0 start, the team definitely deserves some of the criticism that the talking heads on ESPN and other major sports websites have been dishing out.

Before you decide to rescind my fanhood and ship me off to Ames on a Greyhound bus (personally, I think the Greyhound bus is cleaner), hear me out and look at it from their perspective.

The reason for the criticism is that Iowa doesn’t fit the mold of a “stereotypical” undefeated team.

The Hawkeyes have rarely blown anyone out and have been behind, at some point, in eight of their nine games this year.

The proof is not in the pudding but rather in the statistics.

Iowa’s offense has been nothing spectacular this year, ranking 74th in the country, ninth in the Big Ten, in total offense at 357.4 yards per game. Florida, Alabama, and Texas — the three teams ahead of Iowa in the BCS standings — all rank in at least the top 35 in the country in total offense.

Hawkeye signal-caller Ricky Stanzi has been picked off more times than a scared Little Leaguer taking a lead off of first base.

Stanzi’s 13 interceptions puts him in a first-place tie with Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead for the most picks in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Of course, there is also the age-old debate of which conference is best.

While I love the Big Ten, the statistics show that both the Big 12 and the SEC have a better winning percentage this season than the Big Ten.

Despite being favorites in most of the games this year, the Hawkeyes have often played to the level of their competition — winning four of their games by three points or fewer and going down to the wire against lesser opponents such as Northern Iowa, Arkansas State, and Indiana.

Whether it’s praise or criticism, I’m sure all Hawkeye fans will agree it is awesome to open up ESPN.com or any other sports website and find Iowa football is the lead story.

— by Mitch Smith

NO

After coming back and stomping Indiana in the fourth quarter, Iowa stood at 9-0 overall for the first time in school history to sit at No. 4 in the BCS rankings. This is a great team, correct?

Of course not, because apparently the Big Ten is full of squads that are on par with the “Little Giants” before Rick Moranis turned things around with the dangerous combination of dreamy Devon Sawa behind center and Becky “The Ice Box” O’Shea patrolling the middle of the defense.

In other words, as far as the national media is concerned, Iowa is a one-eyed man leading a conference of the blind.

My boy Skip Bayless put it bluntly when he stated not only is Iowa “a fraud” but the Big Ten is an inferior conference to the Big East.

The Big East? Really Skip? Rutgers? Syracuse? UConn?

He attempted to prove TCU, Boise State, and Cincinnati are all better undefeated teams than Iowa, in part because of the belief they had beaten more quality opponents.

Cincy has beaten one quality opponent in South Florida. That’s it. Period.

TCU has taken down one good team in BYU, which was destroyed by a weak Florida State squad at home.

Boise State beat Oregon in Week One — the only real team it will play all year.

Iowa beat ranked opponents in Penn State and Wisconsin on the road and dropped a big-bad Pac 10 team in Arizona at home.

You’re going to tell me that if the Hawkeyes win out, they should be behind TCU, Cincy, and Boise State? Listen up and listen good: Iowa would win the Mountain West, the WAC, and the Big East.
I could say the same thing about Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin.

Who honestly thinks the Broncos could crawl out of their homey little blue abomination and beat Penn State in Happy Valley? Apparently, ESPN and its like-minded ilk are making the argument that it’s more important to slaughter terrible teams then edge good ones — that, in the case of Oregon, it’s better to lose to ranked teams than to almost lose to bad ones.

Screw style points. All those baby conferences who are crying for a playoff should get their prayers answered.

But be careful what you wish for. The adorable Horned Frogs and their high-school-team brethren might find themselves on the short end of one of those pathetic, sloppy, fraudulent Iowa victories.

— by Sean Morgan


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