Harty: Even at 4-0 the debate continues between Mr. O and Mr. P
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Undefeated after four games, the Iowa football team is making it hard to find things to complain about.
Well, at least for most people, but not Mr. Pessimist.
His glass still is half empty as evidenced by his latest debate with the person whose glass is always half full.
Mr. Optimist: The Iowa football team is 4-0 for the fourth time under head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Mr. Pessimist: You failed to mention that this is Ferentz’s 17th season as head coach. So by my math, that’s 13 seasons in which the Hawkeyes failed to win their first four games.
Mr. Optimist: Two of the three previous teams to start 4-0 under Ferentz finished with 10 and 11 wins, respectively, in 2003 and 2009.
Mr. Pessimist: The other team finished 6-7 in 2006, losing six of its last seven games and causing Ferentz to use the phrase “fat cats” in reference to his players’ sense of entitlement.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa is one of just five Big Ten teams to start the season with four consecutive victories. The others are Ohio State, Michigan State, Northwestern and Indiana.
Mr. Pessimist: Any accomplishment in football that includes lowly Indiana should be viewed as suspicious or misleading.
Mr. Optimist: Saturday’s Big Ten opener at Wisconsin brings back memories of 2005 when Iowa defeated the Badgers 20-10 in Barry Alvarez’s final game at Camp Randall Stadium as the Wisconsin head coach.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa has a 2-5 record against the Badgers since then, including losing the last three games in a row.
Mr. Optimist: The Big Ten is making a powerful statement with defending national champion Ohio State and Michigan State ranked first and second, respectively, in the Associated Press top-25 poll.
Mr. Pessimist: Two teams hardly make for a strong conference, especially when the other 12 teams include Rutgers, Maryland, Purdue, Illinois and Minnesota’s offense.
Mr. Optimist: You can criticize Iowa’s 2015 schedule for being easy, but you can’t criticize Iowa for being 4-0 against its schedule.
Mr. Pessimist: I won’t criticize Iowa for being 4-0, but will remind you that Iowa’s first four opponents have combined for one victory against an FBS opponent, that being Pittsburgh’s 24-7 victory over Akron on Sept. 12 in Akron, Ohio.
Mr. Optimist: Nothing beats the thrill of the game-day experience at Kinnick Stadium, from tailgating to cheering from the stands, it is pure joy.
Mr. Pessimist: The game-day experience also includes television timeouts that last longer than some celebrity marriages.
Mr. Optimist: We already knew that Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard was blessed with a strong arm, but his ability to run, and knowing when to run, has been a pleasant surprise.
Mr. Pessimist: A running quarterback is a vulnerable quarterback.
Mr. Optimist: The much-anticipated showdown between defending national champion Ohio State and Michigan State on Nov. 21 in Columbus has the potential to be an instant classic.
Mr. Pessimist: The matchup between Maryland and Rutgers on Nov. 28 in Piscataway, N.J., has the potential to rank slightly above the night before having a colonoscopy in terms of fun.
Mr. Optimist: Landing country music star Blake Shelton for the first concert at Kinnick Stadium was a major get from a public relations and entertainment standpoint.
Mr. Pessimist: Nothing against Mr. Shelton, but I had my heart set on Iggy Popp and The Stooges, assuming they could’ve made it through University Heights.