You can’t argue with the facts in this column. But everything else is open for debate unless you agree with everything I say, which seems highly unlikely.
Fact: Former Cedar Rapids Jefferson star Jarrod Uthoff spent this past season being redshirted as a freshman at Wisconsin, but now the 6-foot-8 forward is looking to transfer and has Iowa among the schools he is considering.
Prediction: Uthoff will pick Iowa despite the restrictions that come with it, most notably having to pay for school for his first year and not being able to talk to the Iowa coaches until he enrolls as a full-time student this fall.
Opinion: Uthoff didn’t have enough proof that Iowa was headed in the right direction under coach Fran McCaffery when he signed with Wisconsin as a high school senior. But now there is proof with Iowa coming off its first winning season (18-17) since the 2006-07 campaign and with Iowa winning seven more games than the previous season.
Fact: Northern Illinois officials are reluctant to talk about the likelihood that their season opener against Iowa in football, which will be played Sept. 1 at Soldier Field in Chicago, will not be televised on a traditional network, but instead will be shown live on ESPN3.com on the internet.
Prediction: If it can happen to Wisconsin, it surely can happen to Iowa. Wisconsin’s 2011 season against Northern Illinois was shown on ESPN3, or in other words, on a computer screen.
Opinion: Iowa officials should arrange for the Iowa football team to open the 2013 season at Hawaii. They could call it “Payback in Paradise,” marking the 25-year anniversary of Iowa’s 27-24 season-opening loss at Hawaii in 1988.
Fact: The inaugural Big Four Classic will be played Dec. 15 at Wells Fargo Arena and will match the state’s four Division I men’s basketball teams in a doubleheader.
Prediction: The media will cover this event like the moon landing, or maybe even like the first ever Big Ten football game between Iowa and Nebraska, which was played this past November in Lincoln, Neb.
Opinion: The Big Four Classic was created mostly because playing Drake and Northern Iowa on the road had become too daunting a task for Iowa and Iowa State.
Fact: For the third year in a row, the state’s top-rated high school football recruit will leave Iowa to attend college, with West Des Moines Valley offensive tackle Jake Campos making a verbal commitment to Missouri this past week.
Prediction: It won’t be the last time that the state’s top high school football recruit says thanks, but no thanks to the Hawkeyes.
Opinion: This is a blow to Kirk Ferentz and his staff, but more so from a public relations standpoint because it looks odd when an offensive lineman from instate turns down a chance to play for Ferentz, whose area of expertise is the offensive line and whose program is known for producing NFL offensive linemen.
Fact: The Iowa football team has combined to finish 15-11 over the past two seasons and has won nine or more games only twice since its three-year run of double-digit win seasons from 2002-04.
Prediction: The 2012 season will be more of the same with the Iowa football team winning six or seven games and doing just enough to make a bowl game.
Opinion: Iowa has feasted on the rags-to-riches stories under Kirk Ferentz, with lightly-recruited players such as Dallas Clark and Bob Sanders rising to stardom. But now it seems the recent stretch of mediocrity is partly the result of the Iowa coaches relying too much on this process, or having to rely too much on it.
Fact: Walk-on Sam Brownlee, a fifth-team tailback, led the injury-riddled Iowa football team with 227 rushing yards on 94 carries in 2004.
Prediction: Iowa will have three running backs that gain at least that many yards this coming season.
Opinion: We’ll never see another season like 2004 in how Iowa was able to win a share of the Big Ten title and 10 games overall despite having a virtually non-existent rushing attack.
Fact: The Iowa men’s basketball team returns seven of its top nine scorers from this past season.
Prediction: Junior-to-be guard Devyn Marble will lead a balanced Iowa team in scoring next season at about 14 points per game.
Opinion: Devyn Marble probably won’t break his father’s all-time scoring record at Iowa, but Devyn has more upside as a player.