The Ottumwa Courier

Iowa Sports

October 29, 2008

Hawkeye fans have reason for optimism

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — For many Iowa fans, it’s the perfect cocktail.

Take two convincing wins, throw in a bye week to let the good vibes marinate and bingo — the Hawks are back!

Surely they’ll roll over Illinois for the sixth time in a row, and give No. 3 Penn State all it can handle in Kinnick Stadium on Nov. 8.

A sound thumping of Purdue will follow, and the Hawkeyes will close out Minnesota’s stay in the Metrodome with a rousing victory, clutching the Floyd of Rosedale trophy in one hand and a marquee bowl bid in the other.

It’s a scenario that’s exciting to Hawkeye fans, but it should come with a warning. Like most cocktails, this is one best enjoyed in moderation.

Iowa (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) will likely be underdogs in three of their final four games, starting Saturday when they travel to face the Illini.

But Iowa supporters who have been disappointed time and time again the past few years are all too eager to dream up best-case scenarios.

“Geez, people (are) getting ahead of themselves. Is that the opposite of everybody dooming and glooming?” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz joked Tuesday. “Usually if you lose a couple of games, everything is terrible and the sky is falling. And if you win a couple, boy, everything is great and let’s book those reservations now. I think everybody realizes it’s a long season.”

As much as Ferentz would like to downplay the hype, it’s no secret that the Hawkeyes have looked much stronger since early October.

Iowa’s offense has sprung to life behind Heisman Trophy hopeful Shonn Greene. The Hawkeyes averaged 16.8 points per game against Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Northwestern and Michigan State, but they scored 83 in their last two wins over Indiana and Wisconsin.

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