Last week in our look at the Best Case/Worst Case for Iowa, I poked fun at the seemingly endless line of problems at running back for the Hawkeyes.
No amount of fiction can match the absurdity of reality, however. Even more bad news involving the Big Ten's most cursed position arrived this afternoon, as Iowa confirmed this weekend's fear: freshman tailback Barkley Hill has torn his ACL and is out for the season.
Hill, who hurt the knee in the Hawkeyes' scrimmage on Saturday, was a candidate to start at tailback, along with sophomore Damon Bullock and fellow freshman Greg Garmon. But no one who is playing that position in Iowa City can ever feel safe.
A quick rundown of what has happened to Hawkeyes' ball-carriers just since the end of last season:
Marcus Coker, the team's leading rusher and one of the top backs in the Big Ten, transferred to FCS Stony Brook after some off-the-field issues;
Mika'il McCall, Coker's backup, left the team after a season in which he missed significant time because of injury and a suspension;
Jordan Canzeri tore his ACL in spring practice;
De'Andre Johnson has two run-ins with police in a three-day span and is dismissed from the team;
And that's just in the past 10 months. We haven't even gotten into the history involving Adam Robinson, Jewel Hampton and on and on and on.
I'm not normally one to believe in curses or jinxes. I never thought the Red Sox "Curse of the Bambino" was a real thing and was instead simply a media creation. But it's getting harder and harder not to believe in the AIRHBG ("Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God"), a term coined by the Iowa blog Black Heart Gold Pants.
As for the future, it looks like the Hawkeyes will turn to Bullock and Garmon as their main running backs to start the season. Depth is basically non-existent. And if I'm either guy, I don't walk under any ladders any time soon.