- Nov 4, 2001
Alex Hickey: NCAA should reinstate TV bans to counter Iowa football problem
It’s time for someone to intervene and take Iowa football games off of American television airwaves until further notice.
Iowa’s 54-10 loss at Ohio State on FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff was the final straw. Advertisers should threaten to pull their commercials if they have the misfortune of being paired with the Hawkeyes, because Brian Ferentz’s offense alienates millions of viewers.
As we saw Saturday, it doesn’t matter which of Iowa’s sorry quarterbacks is on the field. Ferentz’s playbook is even sorrier. There was a point in time where Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla had a combined 6 completions and 5 turnovers.
Petras went 6 of 14 for 49 yards with 2 interceptions and a lost fumble before his plug was mercifully pulled at halftime. Padilla went 5 of 10 for 32 yards with his own interception to contribute to the cause.
Iowa’s lone touchdown, naturally, was scored by its defense. It’s the third time this season that Iowa’s offense has failed to score a touchdown.
Anywhere else in college football, the offensive coordinator would be without a job. Well before things got to this point. But especially after getting de-pantsed and beaten with a switch on national television.
But since offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, that option isn’t available. The elder Ferentz is the winningest coach in Iowa history and contracted with the school through 2029.
A more drastic measure must be taken. It’s time to ban the Hawkeyes from television.
TV bans really existed in the NCAA rule bookBack when NCAA sanctions made even less sense than they do today, one of the most serious penalties possible was having your program’s games banned from television. None of the games in Auburn’s undefeated 1993 season were televised, because the Tigers were on probation.
The thought, probably, is that it would hurt a program’s ability to recruit. And in an era before the internet, that was likely true.
Of course, the reason this form of punishment is no longer implemented is that it also penalized teams who didn’t break any rules. Ole Miss’ 1995 season is the last to be banished from the airwaves.
But the time is nigh for a revival of this old-school punishment. Not because Iowa has committed rules violations under Ferentz, but because its offense is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. Surely the Federal Communications Commission has the ability to prevent this violation of decency from continuing to air.
And frankly, Iowa should support this penalty. Recruits being unable to watch Iowa games on TV is the best possible outcome for the Hawkeyes.
A beautiful defense goes to wasteAt worst, Iowa has a top-5 defense in college football. Yet nobody who sees Saturday’s score has any reason to believe it.
“Oh, they gave up 54 points to Ohio State. Talk about overrated!”
But if you actually watched the game, you realize Iowa’s defense was the only thing holding the Buckeyes back from scoring 80. Or more.
Ohio State’s average starting field position was its own 46-yard line. And that’s only because things got better for the Hawkeyes in the second half. In the first half, the Buckeyes’ average drive started at the Iowa 49.
Ohio State had 16 points and 89 yards at the end of the first quarter.
Ohio State had 133 yards of offense at halftime — the lowest first-half total of Ryan Day’s tenure.
At the end of the game, Ohio State had 54 points despite going 3-of-13 (23%) on third down. That’s Ohio State’s lowest third-down conversion percentage since its 31-0 loss to Clemson in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. And that’s what a scoreboard is supposed to look like when a team converts 23% of its third downs.
But that’s how inept Iowa’s offense is. A potentially generationally great defense isn’t even going to appear in a bowl game.
Which is fine, because that bowl game shouldn’t be televised anyway.
The most damning indictment against Brian Ferentz’s offense?
Defensive end Joe Evans’ 11-yard scoop-and-score that briefly gave the Hawkeyes a 7-3 lead was Iowa’s third defensive touchdown in Big Ten play this season. The Hawkeyes also have 3 offensive touchdowns against Big Ten opponents.
And that’s how you end up 1-3 in the Big Ten with no hope of moving up.
A modest proposal“He’s a good football coach.”
That was Kirk Ferentz talking about his son following a 9-6 loss at Illinois.
Kirk could be right. Maybe Brian is a good football coach. But he’s not a good offensive coordinator. And the scientific method demands changing some element of this experiment.
The first proposal: strip Brian of play calling duties and move him back to offensive line coach. That’s what he did from 2012-16, and it’s obviously the weakest link of an offense with no strengths.
The second proposal: let Brian show what he can do as a head coach. And he can even stay in the state of Iowa to do it. Our thorough research indicates that Division III Luther College hasn’t won more than 1 game a season since 2018. Talk about a fixer-upper!
If Brian is a good football coach, he’ll have the Norse winning American Rivers Conference titles in no time!
In all likelihood, Kirk Ferentz will eschew those options and stick with the status quo. And that leaves us with only one solution.
Take the Hawkeyes off TV. Somebody. Please.