2005 record: 7-5, 5-3 (3rd-tie in Big Ten)
2005 bowl: Lost to Florida 31-24 in Outback
2005 final AP/coaches' ranking: Not ranked
Coach: Kirk Ferentz (49-36, 7 years; 61-57 overall, 10 years)
Offensive coordinator: Ken O'Keefe (8th year)
Defensive coordinator: Norm Parker (8th year)
Offensive scheme: Multiple
Defensive scheme: 4-3
Returning offensive starters: 7
Returning defensive starters: 7
Location: Iowa City, Iowa
Stadium: Kinnick (grass, 70,585)
Last league title: 2004 (tie)
2006 schedule: [view]
2005 statistics: [view]
Offense: With quarterback Drew Tate returning for his senior season, the Hawkeyes have the leadership and skill necessary to become an offensive force. Tate didn’t deliver as expected in last season’s big games, but his strong arm and pocket presence should be a decisive factor. Overall, Tate’s numbers (62.2 percent completions, 22 touchdowns against just seven interceptions) were eye-opening. The return of junior running back Albert Young (1,334 yards, eight touchdowns) gives the Hawkeyes more options. Young is more steady than spectacular. The go-to receiver must emerge, and leading candidates are senior Calvin Davis or junior Herb Grigsby. Senior tight end Scott Chandler is a reliable, massive target. Iowa might have one of the Big Ten’s best offensive lines, particularly with senior right tackle Marshal Yanda ad senior left guard Mike Jones.
Defense: The loss of All-American linebackers Abdul Hodge and Chad Greenway, plus four-year starting cornerbacks Antwan Allen and Jovon Johnson, would seem a fatal blow, but the Hawkeyes have plenty of remaining quality. The defensive line matured greatly and returns all four starters, led by junior ends Bryan Mattison and Kenny Iwebema. Senior Edmond Miles has experience at each linebacker position. The secondary is paced by senior free safety Marcus Paschal and senior strong safety Miguel Merrick.
Specialists: Excellent. Placekicker Kyle Schlicher is 38-for-47 on field-goal attempts in his career. Punter Andy Fenstermaker had 21 kicks downed inside the 20-yard line. The Hawkeyes need someone to step up as the primary kickoff and punt returner.
Coaching: Kirk Ferentz is annually rumored to be jumping to the NFL, but in truth, he has built one of the most secure situations in college football. He’s a hero in the state (beginning his 17th year as assistant or head coach) and has put the Hawkeyes on firm footing. He has had the same offensive coordinator (Ken O’Keefe) and defensive coordinator (Norm Parker) since accepting the job. Ferentz’s approach might not be sexy, but Iowa is coming off the best four-season run in the program’s history.
Heisman Hopefuls: Tate is on the Heisman B-list at the moment, but could make a leap if the Hawkeyes make a run at the Big Ten title.
Overview: The Hawkeyes won’t be picked by anyone to win the Big Ten title — not with the presence of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State — but they are the team no one wants to face. With Tate and Young leading the offense, plus a defense that improved greatly last season, Iowa should be good enough for a January bowl game. And along the way, it will make the other Big Ten teams nervous
courtesy of msnbc.com