Chicago paper has low opinion of Hawkeyes' Big Ten chances

Andrew Logue

Well, this is a buzzkill.

Throughout the summer, Iowa's football team has been a trendy pick to contend for the Big Ten's West Division title.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, left, and Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald before last year's game at Kinnick Stadium.

But Seth Gruen of the Chicago Sun-Times picks the Hawkeyes to finish sixth, ahead of only Purdue.

"A fresh-faced defense might have trouble as Big Ten offenses get more dynamic," Gruen wrote. "The Hawkeyes have only five starters returning and none at linebacker."

He sort of glosses over the fact the defensive line is stout, Quinton Alston was a good enough linebacker to start for most teams in the Big Ten last season and cornerback Desmond King is a start in the making.

Gruen also downplays the fact Iowa has eight returning starters on offense.

Then again, Iowa always has a thin margin for error and the offense does need to step it up a notch or two.

This wouldn't be the first time the Hawkeyes failed to live up to lofty expectations.

A media poll released last month tabbed Iowa as the second-best in the West. It'll be interesting to see if either prediction is on target.