Upon Further Review

Mike Zierath, Staff Columnist
Hawkeye Report

I’m on the road……a lot. Nearly every day in some capacity. Whether it’s with work, or my other job which entails putting a boat in the water and finding my place of Zen, I’m on the road. Last year, I was fortunate enough to log over 60,000 miles of windshield time. You know what that allows me to do? Stay calm. Rationalize. It allows me to listen to others over reacting two weeks into the season so I don’t have to.

Whether its fans on this site, fans on another site, twitter, Facebook, sports talk radio……I just get to listen. And then I get to put in my twisted two cents on the fourth day of the week during the football season.

Guys, and gals, it’s way too early in the year to start spitting out absolutes. It might be prudent to curb some of the enthusiasm and tap the brakes just a little. I do know this; there will be some eye-opening events taking place in the next few weeks that will begin to uncloud the crystal ball across the landscape known as College Football.

Alright, I know, this whole college football thing is about prognosticating. It’s human nature. Heck, I do it about every week. And there are certainly some things that we can take away with some certainty after two weeks of college football:

A little early to anoint Alabama or Clemson the front runner for the National Title, although, they both look good once again. Far too early to believe that OSU just gave away their chance at the title. Far too early to say any one team appears to be a conference favorite. We’ve only seen 1/6th of the season, two games, not even that for some.

It’s still too early to worry about firing Brian Kelly for being a jerk or a bad coach, however, he has already proven that he can still make us all smile by sticking his foot in his mouth, yet again.

Matt Rhule has inherited a “fixer upper” of his own in Waco, Texas. Baylor football is broken. They have lost to Liberty and UT San Antonio. That would be like Iowa losing to UNI and the Evansville Purple Aces, who disbanded football in 1997. In other words, Baylor is bad, but that should never, ever, happen. I like Matt Rhule and believe that he will change the culture at Baylor and find a way to rebuild that program yet again.

Another thing we can take away from this early part of the season is that Maryland could have a formidable offense. They’ve managed to put up 114 points in their two early games, but it was kind of like Baylor playing who they played, only Maryland won. The Terrapins are one of twelve teams across the landscape who happen to be averaging over 50 points per game at this early stage. That’s impressive.

I know I said that I wouldn’t revisit the early season coaches hot seat until week four, however, I picked Rich Rod over Graham in the Pac 12 South as one that would be an early contender. I should have put them both on the list.

I’ve heard, and read, that some think Michigan’s defense is really, really, good. I say they played Florida, who’s offense is potentially worse than it has been the last two years (if that’s possible) and Cincinnati, who they should have been good against and still managed to give up 17 and 14 respectively. How many do they give up this week against the Air Force, who scored 62 in their opening game? I have a feeling it will be more than most think and might be more of a challenge than even Michigan thinks it will.

I think it’s fair to say that Clemson has a pretty good defense.

It’s also okay to recognize that the Big 12 has at least five pretty good teams. This group will be cannibalistic. There’s no way around it. Who comes out on top will be interesting to watch.

Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson are the early favorites for the Heisman based on their play and their teams results.

Now lets talk about our own team. The Iowa Hawkeyes are 2-0. That’s an absolute. They handled their business in game one against Wyoming and Josh Allen. I think we will get a bit of a barometer on how well they did after this weekend in that regard as Wyoming will get a visit from the Ducks of Oregon. At this point, all the chatter about Josh Allen being a potential first rounder seems to be just that…………..chatter. We’ll see.

Game two was against our in-state rival, Iowa State. Come on people. We know they like this game far better than most of us do. We know they hype it more than our mild-mannered head coach hypes it. What we saw there was a defense that looked like they could stop anything thrown at it in week one, look vulnerable. If Jacob Parks and ISU can do what they did, what’s Trace McSorley and Saquan Barkley going to do to our Hawks in Prime Time in two weeks? Hopefully, our boys remember the Alamo, so to speak, and defend their house like those boys did in Texas in February of 1836.

While the offense has looked more versatile, it’s not perfect, contrary to what some fans might have you think. Definitely a step in the right direction. Definitely seems to be trying to get the ball into the hands of the play makers. Seems like Iowa’s very quiet, reserved, humble young quarterback doesn’t have a problem understanding what is expected of him.

I looked at some numbers, just to see where the Hawks sit nationally, after two games. Some of these were surprising, some were not.

Pass Offense is 66th. Rushing Offense is 77th. Total Offense is 84th.

Pass Defense is 87th. Rush Defense 29th. Total Defense is 60th.

Some fairly pedestrian numbers as numbers go.

Just a couple notes from looking at the stats, the Florida Gators are dead last in offense at 129th. Nebraska vaunted Black Shirts are 122nd in defense. Wyoming is 12th in Total D, 110th in Total O. ISU is 55th on offense, 96th on Defense.

Those numbers are going to continue to change and evolve for all those teams mentioned

Personally speaking, wouldn’t it be nice if the O and the D could get it together, along with Special Teams and play a full four quarters? Having said that, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation over the years for what Kirk Ferentz always preaches about growing, maturing, coming together….into November and playing games that matter. We all hope this takes place as well.

Now for a look around the country, as I do every week.

The ACC looked really good this past weekend. Clemson sacked one of my pre-season favorites for Heisman, Jarrett Stidham, 11 times. What? 11 times. Auburns O-line was supposed to be pretty decent. They were supposed to be able to play with the likes of Alabama and give them a run for the SEC West title. 11 times and Stidham looked like he was only playing his 3rd game in three years. Clemson, on the other hand, looked to be in mid-season form. They are going to be tough. Louisville, Duke, Va Tech and Wake Forest all looked pretty good this past weekend as well. The waters should get either muddier or a little more clear Saturday night when the Clemson Tigers invade Papa Johns Stadium in Louisville, Ky. Guess we will get to see if Lamar wants to stay on course and Louisville wants to be considered one of the big dogs or not. I’m pulling for them.

The Big 12 has 5 pretty good teams. Kansas State is really looking good. TCU has Ft. Worth believing in their team. They get a little tune up this weekend when they host and undefeated SMU squad, and then it gets real, real quick, for the Frogs. @Okie State, home against W. Virginia and then @KSU. Considering Okie State was my pre-season Big 12 favorite and CFP participant…..well, the sledding gets tougher right away for TCU. W. Virginia is another Big 12 good one. You know how I feel about Okie State and they haven’t given anyone a reason to think they can’t be a contender. And then there is Oklahoma. I don’t even need to elaborate any further.

The Big Ten took a blow this weekend, as we all already know. OSU looked vulnerable. Penn State looked even tougher, if that’s even possible. Maryland seems to be able to score at will. Michigan’s Defense will be tested this weekend, but, they have looked pretty good so far. Michigan State is quietly making a push to show they haven’t rolled over and died….and that’s just the East side of the equation. In the West, Minnesota rowed the boat all the way to Oregon State and put another notch in their oar. Wisconsin took care of Florida International on the field, and then took care of them after the game by allowing them to stay put for a few days. They are even allowing them to practice in their facilities. Awful nice of them. Nebraska and Northwestern both took one on the chin. Don’t count them out! And don’t look now, but Lovie has Illinois 2-0. Never fear, I’m sure the Bears were 2-0 once or twice when he coached them too.

In the Pac 12 North, Stanford took a blow, but I have a feeling they will answer. Oregon is scoring in droves, in the first half. Washington looks to be good again and Washington State is starting stronger than they normally do. In the South, USC is starting to separate itself a little. Guessing they take care of business easily this weekend when they get Texas. UCLA is keeping Jim Mora out of further hot seat conversations, so far. Colorado is playing something called defense in their first two wins and the Utah Utes might have something to say about what happens in that division of the conference.

The SEC East has five teams at 2-0. It would appear, from the early results, that Tennessee and Georgia might be the front runners. Tennessee will be tested this weekend when they take on Florida. I’m going to go out on a pretty sturdy limb and say they win their 2nd game in a row in that series. Georgia has a game, but they will not be tested. South Carolina, Kentucky and Vandy are all 2-0 as well. In the West, Alabama is still the clear choice. I, along with a number of others, felt Auburn could potentially give Bama a run. Remains to be seen. LSU, on the other hand, could be that team. They get a very strong 3rd week test when they play 2-0 (and scoring in bunches) Mississippi State. The winner will be in a good position. Ole Miss is 2-0 as well, but I just don’t see them contending.

Can’t wait for the third week of the season to play out. It should be a good one and there will be some eye popping results, just like there are every week of the college football season. Until next time….

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