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Point/counterpoint: Was Iowa's loss to Minnesota the worst defeat in the Ferentz era?

BY DI STAFF | NOVEMBER 29, 2010 7:20 AM

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YES

Iowa's loss to Minnesota on Nov. 27 was the final devastating blow to a season full of disappointment.

Before the season started, nobody could have predicted that Iowa would fall in TCF Bank Stadium.

The Hawkeyes were ranked in the top 10, and many analysts projected a Rose Bowl berth for the experienced squad.

Despite some tough losses, Kirk Ferentz's team had a chance to finish 8-4. That record would have fallen well short of the preseason hype and high expectations, but it could still have been considered a reasonably successful season.

But Iowa didn't show up in Minneapolis, and the bottom feeders of the Big Ten managed to steal a win from the deflated Hawkeyes.

That's right. The same team that lost to South Dakota and Northern Illinois earlier in the season dominated the Black and Gold. The Golden Gophers' win on Senior Day over Iowa was only their second Big Ten win of the season. It was also their biggest.

But for Ferentz, it was the worst loss of his coaching career at Iowa.

Bad losses happen to every team. But at this point in the season, after losing two in a row and with such high preseason expectations, this demoralizing defeat will go down as the blackest stain on Ferentz's résumé.

I tip my hat to Minnesota and interim coach Jeff Horton for outplaying and outcoaching the Hawkeyes, but it's going to take fans weeks, even months to forget about this embarrassing loss.

Based on all the talent and coaching experience on Iowa's side, there is no way it should fall to a feeble and inferior opponent.

I feel bad for the team's seniors, but there is no excuse that absolves Ferentz or his players. They should be ashamed of themselves.

— by Jon Frank

NO

Iowa's loss to Minnesota was bad. There is no debating that point. Iowa lost to a team that entered the game winless at home.

But the worst loss in Kirk Ferentz's time as Hawkeye head coach? As Lee Corso would say, "Not so fast, my friend."

The worst Hawkeye loss under Ferentz came in November 2007. The Hawkeyes lost 28-19 to a four-win Western Michigan team in Kinnick Stadium. This loss — not the one on Nov. 27 — was the worst in the Ferentz era.

Despite the loss on Nov. 27, Iowa will play in a bowl game for the third-consecutive season, and it could still play in a third-straight January bowl game. The loss to Western Michigan in 2007 dropped Iowa to 6-6. That year, a 6-6 record left Iowa sitting at home for the bowl season. As bad as Nov. 27's loss was, it didn't cost the Hawkeyes a bowl berth.

As much as it didn't seem like it at times this season, Minnesota is still a Big Ten team with Big Ten resources. Western Michigan is a member of the MAC, as in the Mid-American Conference — the conference whose teams are scheduled by Big Ten squads for easy wins. Any loss to a MAC team is far more embarrassing for the program than a Big Ten loss, no matter how bad that Big Ten team is.Western Michigan wasn't even a good MAC team. In 2007, the Broncos were 4-7 entering the game at Iowa. The Hawkeyes didn't lose to the conference champions. They lost to a team that was in the middle of the pack.

The loss to Western Michigan was also at Kinnick Stadium, on Senior Day. This makes that defeat even worse, as that year's seniors ended their careers with a loss to a directional school.

Besides losing to an Football Championship Series team, it doesn't get much worse.

Yes, the loss to Minnesota was a bad loss for the Hawkeye football team. It was by far the worst of the squad's five losses this year. But it wasn't Kirk Ferentz's worst as coach. A 9-point home loss to Western Michigan that kept the 2007 team from a bowl game takes that dubious distinction.

— by Ryan Murphy


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