IOWA CITY, Iowa – Welcome to the latest debate between two people who can’t seem to agree on anything when it comes to University of Iowa athletics.
This debate was in response to the Iowa football team’s 31-14 victory over Illinois State in the season opener on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa led 31-0 before allowing two touchdowns in the fourth quarter when the outcome was all but decided.
There was plenty to like about Iowa’s performance, which included more than 400 yards offense and having five sacks on defense.
But it was just one game against an overmatched FCS opponent. Some fans like Mr. Optimist are thrilled with the outcome and feel that Iowa is poised to have a successful season, while others like Mr. Pessimist need more proof.
Mr. Optimist: If Iowa performs at the same level and with the same energy and intensity that it had against Illinois State, it should prevail in Ames this coming Saturday.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa has a 14-0 record in games preceding the Iowa State game and has outscored those opponents 470-149 dating back to the 2001 season.
Mr. Optimist: Junior quarterback C.J. Beathard had a solid performance in just his second career start as he completed better than 50 percent of his passes – he was 15-of-24 for 211 yards – and threw no interceptions, while also running for two touchdowns.
Mr. Pessimist: Nearly one-fourth of his passing yards came on a 51-yard screen to senior running back Jordan Canzeri in which Canzeri did most of the work by avoiding tacklers.
Mr. Optimist: Wisconsin is the only team on Iowa’s 2015 schedule that is currently ranked, so there isn’t much standing in the way of Iowa having a successful season.
Mr. Pessimist: There is no such thing as having a favorable schedule where the Hawkeyes are concerned because they’ve shown they can lose to just about anybody.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa’s new indoor football facility is a thing of beauty and should help tremendously with recruiting.
Mr. Pessimist: It would look even better for recruits if the trophy cases for rivalry games weren’t empty.
Mr. Optimist: Even though it failed, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz deserves praise for abandoning his conservative approach by attempting a fake field goal in the second quarter against Illinois State.
Mr. Pessimist: Do something similar against Iowa State and maybe then I’ll believe that Ferentz is now living on the edge.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa had five receivers catch at least one pass against Illinois State on Saturday, including redshirt freshman Jameer Outsey, who made his first career reception.
Mr. Pessimist: It concerns me that Outsey was the only tight end for Iowa who caught a pass against the Redbirds.
Mr. Optimist: The fact that almost 60,000 fans attended the Illinois State game is impressive when you consider the blistering heat and that it was Labor Day weekend.
Mr. Pessimist: UI officials should be embarrassed that Iowa State had a bigger crowd for its game against Northern Iowa on Saturday than what Iowa had for the Illinois State game.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has played 57 consecutive games without a missed or blocked point-after kick, the longest streak of any school in the nation. Iowa has converted on 172 consecutive point-after attempts during the streak.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa’s record is just 29-28 during the streak.
Mr. Optimist: The Big Ten has arguably the best team in college football in top-ranked and defending national champion Ohio State.
Mr. Pessimist: The Big Ten also has Indiana’s defense, Purdue’s offense, Penn State’s offensive line, Illinois’ hiring and firing practices for head coaches, Minnesota’s quarterback limitations and Rutgers’ off-the-field problems.