Point/Counterpoint: What's the worst loss in the Ferentz era?

BY DI STAFF | SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 6:30 AM

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Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31 — Sept. 22

It’s safe to say that Iowa’s 32-31 loss to Central Michigan was the worst loss of the Kirk Ferentz era.

Only other game even comparable with this one comes to mind: Nov. 17, 2007 vs. Western Michigan. On that day, the Hawkeyes played uninspired ball throughout an ugly affair and were soundly put away by the Broncos, 28-19, in Kinnick. Iowa didn’t reach the end zone until the second half and really was never in the contest.

That defeat was really bad, but there are a couple of reasons this season’s defeat beats out 2007’s.

1. The Central Michigan game was at the beginning of the year; Western Michigan was the last game of 2007.

Five years ago, Iowa was a five-loss team entering Western Michigan game. They had a rare nonconference contest to close out the regular season, and in retrospect, it’s certain the Black & Gold just didn’t want to be there.

2. The expectations were higher for 2012 than they were in 2007.

The loss to the Chippewas has turned a seemingly cupcake-laden nonconference season into a nightmare for a team that boasted several returning starters from both sides of the ball, including a senior quarterback in James Vandenberg.

Again, in 2007, Iowa hadn’t been relevant on a national stage since the 2003 Orange Bowl loss to USC, and it was at the tail end of another mediocre season when the Broncos upset them. By the time Western rolled around, Iowa’s season had been written.

Unfortunately, in 2012, we are yet to see what this team ends up becoming, but the early returns are stunning.

3. Central Michigan is much worse in 2012 than Western Michigan in 2007.

The 2007 Broncos weren’t gang busters by any stretch of the imagination, and their 4-7 overall record proves that, but they at least had some firepower that gave a weak Big Ten secondary a problem. Bronco quarterback Tim Hiller’s 367-yards and 3 touchdowns proved it.

Central Michigan, on the other hand, finished dead last in the MAC West last season, and the Chippewas looked absolutely lost when Michigan State beat them, 41-7, at home two weeks ago. You would never have guessed it, though, as the Iowa defense faltered at key moments throughout the game.

In the end, Iowa fans in Johnson County and beyond will remember Central Michigan and its quarterback Ryan Radcliff defeating Iowa more vividly than Hiller leading his team to an upset in 2007.

— by Tom Clos

Western Michigan 28, Iowa 19 — Nov. 17, 2007

I know, losing to Central Michigan in Kinnick is pretty rough. It’s the sort of loss that would have had me pulling my hair out a few years ago.

But calling it the worst loss of the Kirk Ferentz era? Bull.

I was watching on Nov. 17, 2007. I was watching with hope after seeing the Hawkeyes rally from a 3-5 start to the season and put the team in position to finish 7-5 and reach another bowl game.

And I watched as a team — which had everything to play for — came out flat and fell behind 19-0 with just under seven minutes left in the first half.

To Western Michigan.

The 28-19 loss dropped Iowa to 6-6 on the year. The team was technically still eligible for a bowl, but nobody wanted the Black & Gold after such a pathetic showing at home, with so much on the line. The Hawkeyes looked like a team that had simply given up.

This year’s team is not good, sure. Missing a bowl game for the first time since that embarrassing loss is a real possibility.

But Iowa didn’t quit against the Chippewas. Maybe the Hawks simply not that good. So while it’s a depressing loss for many fans, it’s hardly the lowest of the lows under Ferentz.

by Tork Mason

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