IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa football team is doing what members of the Iowa men’s basketball team hope to do in their sport this season.
“Their success is awesome,” Iowa center Adam Woodbury said of the 12-0 Iowa football team, which will face Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game on Saturday in Indianapolis. “So I guess they’re inspiring to a certain extent. But obviously two different sports, two different climates as you would say.”
Both teams have one thing in common, which is that neither was expected to compete for a conference title heading into the season. The Iowa men’s basketball team probably was thought to have more of chance to win a Big Ten title with four starters returning from a team that finished third in the conference last season with a 12-6 record.
The Iowa football team, on the other hand, was picked by many to finish fourth out of seven teams in the Big Ten West Division after finishing 7-6 last season.
Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz also faced mounting criticism, with some saying that he should’ve been fired after last season.
“It’s great to see this after the way that Ferentz was on the hot seat last year and everybody was calling for his head,” Woodbury said. “And now they come out and go 12-0. So it’s always cool to see. I have some guys on the team I’m friends with.”
Iowa forward Jarrod Uthoff said Monday that he isn’t surprised by the football team’s historical resurgence, which includes being 12-0 for the first time in school history and just one victory from making the College Football Playoff for the first time.
“It’s in our blood at Iowa,” said Uthoff, who is from Cedar Rapids. “You always got that chance. You always work hard. You always play as a team. You’ve always got that chance.”
But even with that chance, it’s still extremely rare what the football team has accomplished. This marks just the third time that Iowa has finished the regular season undefeated and untied. The first two times happened in 1921 and 1922 when Iowa finished 7-0 in both seasons.
“I think if you would have told anybody before the season started that they’re going 12-0, I think they would have called you crazy,” Woodbury said. “So what they’re doing is pretty special and probably a once-in-a-lifetime deal.”
Uthoff admires the Iowa football players for being unified and for their determination.
“I think it’s incredible what they’re doing, Uthoff said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for them. They play hard. They play as a team. I’m rooting for them to win a national championship.”