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Point/Counterpoint: Does a win against Ohio State salvage Iowa's season?

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 19, 2010 7:20 AM

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YES

The Iowa football season hasn't lived up to expectations. The season was compromised in September when the Hawks fell in the desert to Arizona.

Special teams struggled. The offensive line struggled. And the defense didn't play up to the hype.
The Black and Gold fell from the top 10 in the polls and rightfully so. Thankfully, the loss was early in the season, out of conference, and by a slim margin (7 points).

Unfortunately for Iowa fans, this slip out West was just the beginning.

The Hawkeyes failed to stop the Badgers' running attack and let them escape from Kinnick Stadium with a 1-point victory.

And then Northwestern happened. I won't go into further detail.

The Hawkeyes, now at 7-3 with two conference losses, have all but kissed goodbye to any hopes of winning the conference or appearing in a BCS bowl.

But they can still salvage the season.

Enter Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have long dominated the Big Ten, giving Iowa and every other school in the conference fits with their habitual winning.

Ohio State is still in the Rose Bowl hunt, but it has one more obstacle: Kinnick Stadium. If the raucous Hawkeye faithful and the defense show up Saturday, Iowa can make a national statement with a victory over the Buckeyes.

It would crush snooty Buckeye fans' greedy expectations. It would throw the Big Ten into the hands of either Michigan State or Wisconsin. And it would give Hawkeye fans something to hang their hats on. Not to mention it would help tremendously in placing Iowa into a respectable bowl (crossing my fingers for Capital One).

— by Jon Frank

NO

This season can officially be labeled as a disappointment for Iowa.

After the preseason hype and recognition, the Hawkeyes' loss to Northwestern on Nov. 13 sealed the deal. There will be no Big Ten championship, no Rose Bowl, and no at-large BCS bowl berth.

Dan Persa found holes in the Iowa defense on the first drive and then late last week, shining the light on the truths of the defensive corps. Combine the continual poor play at cornerback with injuries and inexperience at linebacker, and the Wildcats continued to be the Hawkeyes' kryptonite.

With Iowa sitting at 7-3 and Ohio State up next, things won't get much better for Kirk Ferentz' squad — win or lose.

Ricky Stanzi and the senior-laden Hawkeyes were supposed to contend for a trip to Pasadena. If not, a Sugar or Orange Bowl bid was the very least this team would accomplish. Now, it seems as if it's going to be the Capital One Bowl or bust.

But with five other Big Ten teams poised to receive bowl bids, some observers have Iowa going to the Insight Bowl. With a win against Ohio State, though, the Hawkeyes will likely be playing in either the Outback or Gator Bowl, and a 10-win season can only be accomplished with a postseason victory.

The Iowa football program will be good for the foreseeable future, but this was the year the Hawkeyes could have been great. Even with a win over the Buckeyes, Iowa will be in a non-BCS bowl in a season in which that wasn't supposed to be an option.

— by Matt Cozzi


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