Kirk Ferentz (14th year at Iowa)
2011 Record: 7-6 (4-4 Conference)
Overall Head Coaching Record: 108-87
In 2012, the Iowa Hawkeyes start up with a very feasible non-conference schedule only to face a challenging B1G slate. They should start 5-0, with home games against Northern Illinois (neutral location), Iowa State, Northern Iowa, Central Michigan and Minnesota. However, the lack of viable competition in the first 4 games may put the Hawkeyes to sleep week 5 vs. the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Also, it is worth noting that the battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy (Iowa vs. Iowa State) has gone either way in recent years. Coach Ferentz’s Hawkeyes only lead the series 4-3 in the past 7 seasons. Things start to get rough for Iowa come week 7 when they hit the road for the first time to take on the Michigan State Spartans. I see Spartans coach Mark Dantonio coming out on top in this one, but the Hawkeyes should rebound and dominate the next 4 weeks (vs. Penn State, at Northwestern, at Indiana, vs. Purdue) before dropping their final 2 games at Michigan and vs. Nebraska. Who knows, maybe the projected 8-4 record for the Hawkeyes may be unimpressive enough to extend Coach Ferentz’s never-ending contract several more decades.
According to Rivals.com, the 2012 Iowa Hawkeyes recruiting class is ranked 43rd in the country and 6th in the B1G. Three 4-star prospects highlight the class: RB Greg Garmon, DT Jaleel Johnson and DT Faith Ekakitie. Garmon hails from Erie, PA and garnered offers from Arkansas, Florida State, Illinois, Miami (FL), Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Tennessee. Although Garmon pled guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia earlier in this month, Coach Ferentz expects him to be ready to go week 1 as long as he completes the requirements outlined in Iowa’s code of conduct. With the Hawkeyes thin at running back this season, expect Garmon to contribute immediately. Johnson and Ekakitie are both from the great state of Illinois and held offers from some big-time B1G and SEC schools. Needless to say, I consider it pretty shocking that Kaptain Kirk was able to put together a pretty solid recruiting class given his past two seasons in Iowa City (7-6 in 2011, 8-5 in 2010).
By far, the player who Hawkeye fans will miss the most is WR Marvin McNutt. Originally recruited as a QB (if memory serves correct), McNutt went on to break nearly all school receiving records at Iowa. Defensively, the Hawkeyes lose their sacks and tackles leader, DT Mike Daniels. However, often considered most difficult to replace is a lock-down cornerback. Hopefully the Hawkeyes find someone to plug in and take CB Shaun Prater’s spot. Prater was a proven defensive back who earned 2 first-team All-B1G selections.
Overall Record: 8-4
Conference Record: 4-4
Offensive Team MVP: QB James Vandenberg
Defensive Team MVP: CB Micah Hyde
Previous B1G Summer Previews:
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Illinois Fighting Illini