By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – One-third of the way through the regular season and the Iowa football team is 4-0, ranked fifth in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll and healthy for the most part.
So, nothing to complain about, right?
Wrong, as evidenced by the latest debate between Mr. Optimist and Mr. Pessimist, which took place Sunday morning.
The two guys that can’t seem to agree on anything had plenty to argue about, although, they did actually agree on one thing as you’ll see at the end of this transcript.
Mr. Optimist: The Iowa football team is 4-0 for the sixth time in 23 seasons under head coach Kirk Ferentz.
Mr. Pessimist: None of the previous five teams that started 4-0 won a Big Ten title, and the 2006 squad only finished 6-7.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa is one of just eight Power Five teams to have won at least 80 percent of its games over the last three seasons, with the others being Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Georgia and Oregon.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa is also an outlier in that group as the only team to have not either won a conference or division title during that time, or to have made the playoff.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras passed for 224 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 24-14 victory over Colorado State. It was his most passing yards in a game this season and his third most passing yards in a single game.
Mr. Pessimist: Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is first in the Big Ten in passing yards per game (335.0) and passing efficiency, is tied for first in the conference with 10 touchdowns, and has thrown just one interception.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has won 10 straight games dating back last season, marking the third time under Kirk Ferentz that Iowa has won at least 10 games in a row,
Mr. Pessimist: Only one of the six teams that Iowa defeated last season finished with a winning record, and that was Wisconsin at 4-3, and none of the four teams that Iowa has defeated this season currently has a winning record.
Mr. Optimist: With victories over Indiana and Iowa State in the first two games of the season, Iowa was the first team in the country to defeat two ranked opponents.
Mr. Pessimist: Indiana and Iowa State are both 2-2 right now, and neither team is ranked in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa and Maryland are set to square off in a prime-time matchup between two undefeated teams on Friday night in College Park, Maryland.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa and Maryland will be playing at the same time as countless high school teams throughout the country because Friday night used to belong exclusively to high school football before the influence of television.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has played 26 straight games without surrendering 25 points, the longest streak in the nation among Power Five teams.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell was four years old the last time Iowa won a share of the Big Ten title in 2004.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa stayed at No. 5 in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll.
Mr. Pessimist: Penn State moved ahead of Iowa into the fourth spot in the latest Associated Press top-25 poll.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has scored 51 points on nine takeaways by its defense in four games this season.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa has only scored 24 points on four touchdown passes in four games this season.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa looks to be the class of the Big Ten West Division, thanks to its rock-solid defense and special teams.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa and Purdue (3-1) are the only teams in the Big Ten West Division that currently have a winning record.
Mr. Optimist: Former Iowa football player and current Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander has the Cornhusker defense performing at a high level.
Mr. Pessimist: True, but he’s working for Scott Frost, who is college football’s version of Steve Alford.
Mr. Optimist: Former Hawkeye Bob Stoops will return to Iowa City for the Iowa-Penn State game on Oct. 9 at Kinnick Stadium as part of Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff show.
Mr. Pessimist: Stoops doesn’t get to say much on the show due to the constant blabbing by former USC players Reggie Bush and Matt Leinert and by former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn. Or, so it seems.
Mr. Optimist: The Wave is without question the greatest tradition in college sports.
Mr. Pessimist: Even I can’t disagree with that statement.