It seems like it has been forever since the folks in Iowa City have had much to cheer about. In all reality, though, the Hawkeyes are one of the better coached teams in the Big Ten and have had a lot of success in recent years. Several close calls, however, and two straight losses to intrastate rival Iowa State and an inexplicable loss to Central Michigan of the MAC last year has the Iowa faithful on edge. Last year's 4-8 record was actually their first losing season since 2006, but it is unacceptable in the eyes of the Hawkeye fans. I will say, though, that I think the building pressure to get rid of Ferentz is more media built than from fans, much like Jim Tressel was never popular with the media.
Kirk Ferentz has had much success since coming to the university in 1999 and spent most of the first ten years of this century in the running for Big Ten titles. The past few years have successively been downhill, though, since their Orange Bowl victory in 2009 and it appears clear that Hawkeye Nation is done with mediocrity. Right or wrong, Ferentz' hot seat might be on fire by the end of this upcoming season, as he will ultimately be the one responsible for the success or failure of the team in the win column.
With a new quarterback coming in and questionable receivers, there will be a lot of pressure on Iowa's always strong offensive line to win the games in the trenches on every play. They also have a young, unproven defense. Defense always seems to be a Hawkeye strength, but like Ohio State found out in 2011, it doesn't matter how good they are; they will break in the fourth quarter if they've been on the field the whole game.
I don't think Ferentz is the problem, necessarily, as Iowa City might be a hard sell for elite out of state prospects. Although, Kinnick Stadium is one of the best in the nation, the Iowa coaching staff has their work cut out for them. If they can get the offense to be just good enough, their defense should be able to bail them out and keep them in games. I'm not sure I like those chances, and it may cost a great coach his job.
2013 Prediction 5-7, 2-6 Big Ten (No Bowl Game)
#11/12 Big Ten/#6/6 Legends Division
Northern Illinois Huskies W
Missouri State Bears W
@ Iowa State Cyclones L
Western Michigan Broncos W
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers L
Michigan State Spartans L
@ Ohio State Buckeyes L
Northwestern Wildcats L
Wisconsin Badgers W
@ Purdue Boilermakers L
Michigan Wolverines L
@ Nebraska Cornhuskers W
*Highlights* I believe Iowa will win two of their rivalry games by beating Wisconsin at home and ending the season with a big win at Nebraska, in what might be a rally around a departed Coach Ferentz.
*Lowlights* I believe they will lose again to Iowa State and another rivalry game to Minnesota. A tough slate after Minnesota in conference games against MSU, OSU, and Northwestern will be too much for this team to handle, however, I think that this could be the last year of Iowa's rankings in the lower half of the conference, as their offense won't score enough points to bring them out of it this year, but should have the advantage of a seasoned quarterback next year.