Point/Counterpoint: What should have been the Story of the Year?

BY DI STAFF | MAY 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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Iowa wrestling not winning NCAA team title

The Iowa wrestling team faltering at the end of the wrestling season should have been the The Daily Iowan’s story of the year.

Heading into the postseason, the Hawkeyes were 14-0 in dual meets and only two of those had been closer than 6 points — Ohio State and Penn State.

Iowa then blitzed through the first three rounds of the National Duals before falling to Missouri for its only dual loss of the season.

At 17-1, Iowa was still ranked No. 1 and the favorite in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. However, the Hawks tied in the Big Ten and finished second in the NCAAs and did not win the championship they desperately coveted.

In many professional sports, the term championship window is used to describe a team’s chance to win a title during a specific amount of time. It’s also applicable to college sports, though in a slightly lesser sense, considering that college teams are normally more unpredictable than the pros.

With that in mind, Iowa’s window was short and seems like it could very well have been limited to this past season. Penn State redshirted two All-Americans — Nico Megaludis and Zain Retherford — while this season’s champion Ohio State rose to prominence faster than most expected.

Both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions have consistently had the most talented recruiting classes, while Iowa has lagged slightly behind.

This is not to say the Hawkeyes cannot or will not win a championship in the next five years, but this season represented an entirely missed opportunity.

Considering the Hawkeyes are a team that lives and dies by their performances in the NCAA Tournament, this season’s missed opportunity is absolutely the Story of the Year.

— Jordan Hansen

Iowa football’s step back

Yes, that the Iowa women’s basketball team made the Sweet 16 last season is great for the Hawkeyes. And yes, the fact Hawkeye wrestling went undefeated during the regular season and came away from three postseason tournaments with half of a Big Ten championship is below the program’s standards.

Those stories made waves in Iowa City, but, as is the case with the rest of the United States, Iowa football was the biggest story during the 2014-15 school year.

With what looked like a favorable schedule early in the year, some thought the Hawkeyes were destined for Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game. It wasn’t too much of a stretch, either.

Jake Rudock was in his second year after he led the Hawkeyes to eight wins the year before. All-everything tackle Brandon Scherff was back, along with what looked like a deep running back group.
It turned out those Hawkeye optimists — me included — vastly overestimated where the Hawkeyes would be at season’s end.

Instead of facing off with the winner of the Big Ten East, Iowa found itself watching Wisconsin — the team the Hawkeyes lost a 26-24 contest to a few weeks earlier — get pummeled at the hands of Ohio State, which, of course, went on to win the College Football National Championship.

Instead of playing for glory, the Hawkeyes suffered a 45-28 embarrassment at the hands of Tennessee.

A negative story, yes, but given the preseason hype and the nature of Iowa football, the DI’s Story of the Year should have been the one with the biggest following from wire-to-wire.

— Danny Payne

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