The fans generally feel pretty good about this Iowa football team but are still wary about getting their hopes too high. But what if everything went right for the Hawkeyes? Here is the best way this season can end up. This is probably never going to happen but it is fun to think about.
Iowa opens up with a thrashing over Northern Iowa winning 66-7 with the only Northern Iowa touchdown coming in garbage time against Iowa’s third strings. They look as dominate as the scoreline suggests. Quarterbacks Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard both look like they can be All-Big-Ten quarterbacks.
Iowa completely dominates Ball State, winning by over 40 points. The running game dominates as Mark Weisman, Jordan Canzeri, and LeShun Daniels all go for over 100 rushing yards. Iowa decides that they will implement both Beathard and Rudock in at quarterback during the season to keep the defenses on edge.
Iowa State comes into Iowa City confident after easily dispatching their two opponents before, but the double headed monster at quarterback completely shellshocks rival Iowa State. Rudock and Beathard both throw for over 200 yards and the running backs go for over 300 yards on the ground. Iowa State is reminded of the Baylor game last season before losing 70-14. Complaints that the game was completely botched by the officials immediately ensue from the Iowa State fans, clogging all twitter feeds.
Iowa heads to Pennsylvania to play an undefeated Pittsburgh team. Iowa ends up stagnating a little early on offense as the running game is struggling and the quarterbacks can’t get in a rhythm. Luckily the Iowa defense is one of the best in the nation and they shut down Pittsburgh at half. Entering the second half up 3-0, Ferentz decides to stick with Rudock for the entire second half. The plan ends up working as Iowa wins 24-7 on the back of Rudock’s three sensational touchdown throws.
The September 27th game against Purdue will be immortalized by Hawkeye fans as Damond Powell returns from injury with a bang. Powell breaks four long touchdowns and ends up with over 250 receiving yards. Two of the touchdowns are on screen passes and the other two come from Beathard from deep. Iowa easily beats Purdue 34-10.
Indiana has the best offense in the Big Ten coming into the game at Iowa City. Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat completely wreck the Hoosier offensive line getting a combined total of 5 sacks. Desmond King intercepts two passes as he continues to build on his tremendous campaign. With the Indiana offense ineffective, Iowa ends up winning in a landslide.
In Iowa’s first matchup with Maryland in the Big Ten, Iowa implements the perfect game plan. They have King man-mark potential All-American Stefon Diggs shutting him down completely. With Diggs out of the game, the Maryland offense falters. Iowa takes advantage of that and wins a close game of 21-14.
After starting out 7-0, the Hawkeyes are finally seen on the polls at number 22. They haven’t beat anyone great yet so people are still suspicious of their success.
Iowa completely blows out a depleted Northwestern team. Iowa’s offense runs and passes with ease and dominate the Northwestern’s offense. They don’t let the Wildcats ruin another undefeated record of Iowa’s and Iowa wins 31-0.
Iowa’s first top 25 showdown happens in Minneapolis as the 18th ranked Hawkeyes take on the 22nd ranked Gophers. Minnesota’s super run heavy offense plays into the Hawkeyes’ hands as the monstrous defensive line of the Hawkeyes eats up the Gopher running backs. Despite having a great defense, the Gophers can’t hold Beathard’s running ability as he surprises the defense with two rushing scores. Iowa ends up winning a nail biter 21-17.
After the win against Minnesota people know that the Hawkeyes are real. They are bumped up to number 12 with a game against an average Illinois team upcoming. Iowa confidently dispatches Illinois 30-7.
Iowa jumps up to 9th in the polls as College Gameday comes to Iowa City to watch the Hawkeyes take on the 6th ranked Wisconsin Badgers. Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon quickly slashes past the Iowa offense for two quick scores before heading to halftime. Down 14-0, Iowa calls on their All-American left tackle Brandon Scherff to make a play.
After practicing fielding punts for practice, Iowa decides to give Scherff a chance to do it in an actual game. He catches the ball and rumbles through 5 tackles on his way to one of the best “fat man” touchdowns in the history of the game. That return gives the Hawkeyes the spark needed to finish out the game. The defense stifles Gordon and Rudock does just enough to put the Hawkeyes past the Badgers 21-20.
After watching such an awesome display of talent, the casual football fan has bought into the Hawkeyes as the real deal. They all tune in on Black Friday as the 5th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes take on the 12th ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers.
In a big matchup between potential top 5 NFL picks in next years draft, Brandon Scherff dominates Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory. Scherff continues his unbeaten streak as he hasn’t given up a single sack all season. With Gegory ineffective, Iowa is able to pick apart the Cornhusker secondary with ease.
Iowa gets a touchdown lead with 10 minutes left to play in the game. With Nebraska driving, Desmond King shows why he will win the Thorpe award for best defensive back in the nation with a sensational one handed pick.
After that Iowa just feeds the ball to Weisman who just takes chunks of yardage at a time. To finish off the drive and the game, Weisman carries 3 Cornhuskers with him to the endzone. The Iowa fans start to wonder if Nebraska really is deserving of being Iowa’s rival.
With the Big Ten West under wraps, Iowa heads to Indianapolis to take on the Michigan State Spartans. Scherff shows once again why he was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year by completely shutting down All-American defensive end Shilique Calhoun. Iowa decides to make this a slugfest, relying heavily on the running game. Neither side gives the other a single point in the first half as they enter their locker rooms.
After a rare fiery speech by Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, Iowa jumps out to a 7-0 lead with the help of Weisman. Michigan State quickly answers with a deep pass by quarterback Connor Cook. Both teams’ offenses start getting in a rhythm as the third quarter ends up 21-21.
Iowa slows down the pace even more as they complete a trademark 14-play-drive with a Weisman plunge. With 6 minutes left to answer, Michigan State starts driving down the field. Iowa switches to their elite Raider package and it produces. Linebacker Reggie Spearman speeds around the Michigan State offensive tackle for a strip sack. Defensive end Drew Ott ends up recovering the football and the Hawkeyes run out the clock with another lengthy drive. Iowa is the new Big Ten Champions and going to the first college football playoffs.
Overall, at the end of the Big Ten season, Iowa is headed to the playoffs as the number 2 seed. That’s probably the best case scenario for the Hawkeyes. Is it realistic? No, but it sure is fun to think about.