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Sports Illustrated tabs Iowa as a playoff sleeper

[ 0 ] August 6, 2014 |

Asked about big expectations for his football team at media day Monday, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz took the high road.

“There’s been an awful lot of talk,” Ferentz said. “This is, I would say, a record year for it.”

Well, here’s some more, compliments of Sports Illustrated. According to Colin Brecht of si.com, Iowa is one of five unranked sleeper picks that could make a push for a playoff spot this season. The Hawkeyes were joined on his list by Florida, Mississippi State, Marshall and Duke.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz addressed expectations at media day Monday

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz addressed expectations at media day Monday

HAWKEYES’ INTERACTIVE SCHEDULE AND ANALYSIS

This is what Brecht wrote about the Hawkeyes:

“Losses in three of its first five conference games kept Iowa from having any shot in the Big Ten title race last year, but the Hawkeyes quietly put together a significant leap from a 4-8 campaign in 2012 and held their own with LSU in the 2014 Outback Bowl.

“Iowa has 14 starters returning, including quarterback Jake Rudock (2,383 yards, 18 touchdowns, 13 interceptions), power running back Mark Weisman (975 yards, 4.3 yards per carry, eight touchdowns) and wide receivers Kevonte Martin-Manley and Tevaun Smith (64 combined receptions, 698 yards, six touchdowns). Those offensive returnees could be crucial as the Hawkeyes lose all three linebackers from last year’s talented corps, but standout defensive tackle Carl Davis and cornerback Desmond King will help fill a leadership void while the new linebackers gain experience.

“The biggest reason to be bullish on Iowa is a shockingly easy schedule. The Hawkeyes miss Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan in their divisional crossover games and get Big Ten West rivals Wisconsin and Nebraska at home. Iowa has all the makings of a classic Big Ten team with a cakewalk schedule that endlessly frustrates a one-loss SEC team’s fan base as the Hawkeyes pile on wins on their way to the playoff.”

SI.COM: Read the entire article

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Rick Brown: Rick Brown covers men's basketball for The Des Moines Register and Hawk Central. He's married and the father of two. He also covers golf for the Register. View author profile.

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