Iowa's Ferentz back on top after bowl win
January, 6, 2010
By Adam Rittenberg | ESPN.com
Kirk Ferentz did something totally out of character with a three-point lead and about seven minutes left in the FedEx Orange Bowl.
AP Photo/Lynne SladkyFerentz has led Iowa to back-to-back bowl victories.
He called for a fake field goal, which failed miserably and gave Georgia Tech's offense new life with 6:45 left.
Then, a few minutes later, Ferentz did something totally in character. He celebrated a huge win for his Iowa program.
As he stood on the victory podium, Ferentz probably wasn't thinking about April 2008. Back then, Iowa was coming off of three mediocre seasons. The team had more player arrests and legal issues than wins and All-Big Ten selections. Many felt Ferentz's time in Iowa City was running out. In scrambling to find a Big Ten coach on the hot seat, several media members, including yours truly, picked Ferentz.
Just look at him now.
Iowa has gone 20-6 the last two seasons with wins in the Outback Bowl and the Orange Bowl. Player conduct has improved significantly, and the team will enter next fall with Big Ten title aspirations as it competes with Ohio State and Wisconsin for the crown.
Ferentz probably had a better team at Iowa in 2002, but no Hawkeyes squad better reflected what he stands for than the 2009 version. They played hard, played together and played with no ego. They were solid in their fundamentals and rarely lost focus, even after falling behind in eight of their first nine games. They overcame numerous injuries and a schedule that did them no favors. They prepared extremely hard, never more so than for a tricky opponent in Georgia Tech.
The formula led to a BCS bowl win.
There's not a major-conference coach who gets more out of his talent than Ferentz does at Iowa. That's why he's always on the NFL radar. But he's not going anywhere. As the Big Ten's second-longest tenured coach, it's not in his character to leave a good thing.
In just a year and a half Ferentz not only stabilized the Iowa program, but took it back to the top.
BIG TEN SCOREBOARD
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State