Iowa is totally capable of causing LSU mistakes. I apologize if it came across otherwise; that's not what I intended. LSU is a very good team, but there have been bowl games in the past in which they didn't seem motivated to be there; that is all. It wasn't meant as an indictment against Iowa in any regard. Iowa can cause havoc; I've seen it. Sometimes LSU shoots themselves in the proverbial foot with penalties.
Each team is built similarly, except LSU has an overall athletic and talent advantage. If Iowa can force mistakes from LSU, it will be a great game. It's impressive that Iowa has 8 wins this season considering the preseason expectations y'all have discussed. I'm looking forward to a great contest.
No worries, I've just seen the comment that the only way Iowa can win is if LSU doesn't come to play too many times. Good teams come to play. If they don't, then they just aren't very good (talent level notwithstanding).
We are fairly happy with how things turned out, especially after such a turd of a season last year. That doesn't mean that we settle for less, because Ferentz was on the proverbial "hot seat" if things didn't go better and most of us are hoping for even bigger things next year. It's a process.
Just a couple other thoughts/insight about Iowa's football program...
1. The state of Iowa produces about 5-10 D1 level recruits each year. Most of these are 2-3 star level recruits with occasionally a couple four stars. These are split between the Hawks and Iowa St, with Iowa typically getting the better of things.
2. Because of this, Iowa has to go out of state to get better talent. A study has been done to determine what factors most influence where a recruit ends up with the top reason being proximity to where they grew up.
3. Iowa is a developmental program that relies on players being in the program for 2-3 years before they're ready to contribute. We just don't get many players that are ready to go when they step on campus due to the inherent recruiting challenges.
4. When Iowa has to go out on a limb to get talent and take players far away from where they grew up, many of these get homesick and/or have other difficulties and end up leaving the program (wasted scholly). This is the main reason that Iowa has struggled more recently as several of the classes have had up to a 50% attrition rate.
5. The reason I'm so optimistic for next year is that several of the players who are contributing are younger and seem more ready to contribute earlier than they might have 5-10 years ago. Hopefully this is an indication that we're bringing more talent in.
6. Iowa's best predictor for success has been the play of the DL. We're at our best when the front four is good enough to both stuff the run game and generate pressure on the QB while allowing the LBs to do their thing and not have to provide additional pressure. Compared to previous DLs at Iowa, I would give this year's a 7/10. Last year's was a 4/10 and a big reason we were 4-8. The fact that the LBs are so talented really helps to compensate for any deficiencies.
I would give the 2005 edition a 8/10 with each of those guys making an NFL roster. There just wasn't any depth which was why they were gassed and why Russell was able to generate the rally he did. We actually have a bit of a rotation this year which has allowed guys to remain fresh.
7. Iowa has been a program in transition these past two years, replacing both OC and DC along with multiple new position coaches. Things seem to be progressing nicely and should only become more cohesive as the team adapts to the new approaches.
8. This season has reminded many Iowa fans of our 2008 season where we crushed South Carolina in the Outback Bowl and then went on the next year to start 9-0 prior to losing our starting QB and then dispatching with GT in the Orange Bowl. That same optimism exists for next year due to the similarities. We've had several players leave after their junior seasons (Dallas Clark, Bryan Bulaga, Amari Spievey, Reilly Reiff and Shonn Greene). In a developmental program, these guys are impossible to replace. It will be nice to have Scherff back at LT next year. You guys will be impressed with him.