Thought Train Thursday: Can the State of Iowa Do it Again?3 min read
The state of Iowa is the nation’s leader in corn, soybean, pork, and egg production. This year, you can add wildly improbable college football upsets to that list. The Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa state Cyclones are a combined 3-1 against the nation’s top 10 teams this season, only a (failed) defensive stand away from being undefeated. These three upsets happened at the hands of the teams that call the Hawkeye State home. However, only one of these upsets resides in Iowa City – with the Hawkeyes.
In the 4 games I mentioned, Iowa and Iowa State outscored opponents by a combined margin of 126 to 83 – much thanks to Iowa’s 55-24 dismantling of Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes this past Saturday. 55 points is the most points a Meyer-coached team has ever given up. The game placed JT Barrett firmly out of the Heisman race. He threw 4 interceptions, 3 to Josh Jackson. Jackson’s last interception drew comparisons to Odell Beckham’s iconic catch, not only because it happened in the same area of the field. Here it is.
Iowa’s Josh Jackson looking like Odell Bekcham Jr. pic.twitter.com/TlU49OUyXI
— NOT_SCTop10 (@NOTSCTop10PIays) November 4, 2017
That Iowa team looked unrecognizable to those familiar with Kirk Ferentz’s long tenure coaching the Hawkeyes. Creative play-calling throughout the game culminated in a fake punt that nearly resulted in a touchdown, simultaneously confusing and exciting Hawk fans. It’s an upset that very few people thought would happen – shout out Bovard – and absolutely nobody thought would happen in the fashion that it did.
The remaining games I mentioned include Iowa’s last-second 21-19 loss to Penn State at Kinnick stadium earlier this season. Trace McSorley, and especially Saquon Barkley, were just too much to handle. Iowa State’s 2 wins came on the road in Norman against Baker Mayfield‘s Oklahoma Sooners and in Ames against TCU – toppling two then top-5 teams in a span of an October that Cyclone faithful will not soon forget.
Traditionally, the Cyclones have been good for a major upset once every few years. Most fans assumed the Oklahoma game was a fluke, but when the Clones topped TCU to cap an undefeated month, the rest of the country took notice. They had done the unthinkable, and were rewarded for it by cracking the top 25 for the first time in TWELVE (12!) years. After dropping a game to West Virginia last week, Iowa State has to prove themselves yet again when they host Oklahoma State on senior day in Ames. The Cowboys will be eager to bounce back after a classic Bedlam matchup last weekend.
Iowa heads to Madison to take on the Big Ten’s lone unbeaten team in the Wisconsin Badgers as they battle for the Heartland Trophy. This 2017 Wisconsin team is quite comparable to the 2015 Iowa team – undefeated and ranked highly. Neither team’s record solicited them much respect, even though they beat everyone that they were supposed to beat. After last week’s showing by the Hawkeyes, Wisconsin faces a test similar to Miami did last week against Virginia Tech.
“Oh, you’re just undefeated because you haven’t played anybody. Now it’s time to prove how good you you are.” The Hurricanes weathered the storm last week, can the Cyclones do the same on Saturday?
I do think a team from Iowa takes home another upset, but I have no idea which game will end in glory for my home state. All I know is that little will happen as expected.