Fox Sports analyst has Iowa Hawkeyes in pre-spring top 25 college football rankings

Sound the alarm Iowa fans, the phrase “playoff contender” has been thrown out there for the Hawkeyes!

In Fox analyst RJ Young’s spring football edition top 25, Iowa ranks No. 22. Realistically, making the top 25 should be an expectation for Iowa. While the ranking itself might not be anything too special, it’s what Young said that should be exciting.

Along with quarterback Cade McNamara, the Hawkeyes added former Michigan tight end Erick All during the transfer cycle. If any of the underclassmen at wideout — Diante VinesBrody Brecht or 2023 recruits Dayton Howard, Alex Mota or Jarriett Buue — demonstrate reliability, that could be the difference between another seven-win season and a playoff contender in Iowa City. – Young, Fox Sports.

First, I think the discussion around Iowa heading into this season should be a considerable credit to defensive coordinator Phil Parker. Despite losing some top players, including Butkus Award winner Jack Campbell and fellow first-team All-Big Ten member Riley Moss, not many are fearing for the Hawkeyes on the defensive side of the ball.

Based on the talent they are returning, some of the exciting youngsters they have coming up, and Parker’s ability to just keep producing top units, few are fearing a big dropoff for the Hawkeyes. Young actually followed up his aforementioned statement with praise for the Iowa defensive coordinator.

Put another way, that’s how good Phil Parker’s defense has been over the last two years — just short of dominant. Iowa held nine teams to 10 points or fewer and ranked No. 2 in the country in scoring defense at just 13.3 points per game.

The shame for the Hawkeyes over the last two years is their defense has been on par with the best in the sport. All they need is an offense with a pulse. – Young, Fox Sports.

They just need an offense with a pulse, and that’s exactly what Hawkeye fans hope they have after a few key moves this offseason. Of course, you have the aforementioned Michigan transfers McNamara and All, but, as Young mentioned, Iowa will look to some youngsters to step up on offense. Whether it is Howard, Mota, or Buie, there is an opportunity for the taking.

What’s great to see is a national media member who sees the potential in Iowa. For how long have we all said, “if Iowa just had a decent offense this team could contend in the Big Ten?”

There’s a lot of if’s for the Hawkeyes going into this season on offense, but if everything trends the right way, it could be a big season!

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire