I am on vacation. Which means, via the miracles of technology, new material will surface here all week that I entered into the system last week, stuff that isn’t time-sensitive.
The theme: Things you may not have known about Iowa Hawkeyes football.
One of the things I remember about Hayden Fry’s 20-year run as Iowa’s coach is the Hawkeyes seemed to usually be as competitive on the road as at home. I looked up the numbers, and it was basically true.
Fry’s teams were 77-38-3 at home, 66-51-2 on the road. Throw out the home nonconference cupcakes, and those numbers start to look eerily similar.
That hasn’t been the case in Kirk Ferentz’s 11 seasons. Iowa is 57-21 at home, 25-35 on the road. Even with home cupcakes subtracted (you know who you are, Maine, Eastern Illinois and Florida International), that’s still quite a difference.
Overall, Fry’s 143-89-6 (.613) mark at Iowa isn’t much different percentage-wise than Ferentz’s 89-60 (.597).
My theory about the road games: I simply think the league has more snake pits for visiting teams than it once did. For most of Fry’s time, Wisconsin and Northwestern were Big Ten afterthoughts. Penn State (though Iowa has fared extremely well there under Ferentz) wasn’t in the conference for most of Fry’s tenure.
That’s all part of a bigger general point, which is the Big Ten has more competitive teams than it did 20 and 30 years ago. Folks, Iowa went to three Rose Bowls under Fry. Had the BCS not come along, Iowa would have been to one Rose Bowl (2002) under Ferentz. That doesn’t mean Fry did a superior job than Ferentz has. I don’t know how you’d even compare the two, or why you would bother. They both have made indelible marks. Iowa won more on the road under Fry, and has defended its home turf better under Ferentz. It all adds up to a program that’s been solid for three decades.