Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Will the 2010 Hawkeyes Be Better than the 1985 Hawks?

2010 marks the 25-year anniversary of one of the greatest teams in Iowa Hawkeye football history. While several Iowa teams have finished higher in the final AP polls than the ’85 squad (they finished #10; 10-2), none were ever ranked as highly as Iowa was during a 5-week glory run during the 1985 season. From September 5, 1985 through November 2nd, Hawkeye fans lived the dream as the nations #1 team. That stretch included the legendary match up with #2 Michigan, a game the Hawkeyes won on a last second field goal that sent Iowa fans into delirium. The dream ended on November 2nd with a 22-13 loss to #8 rated Ohio State. Iowa finished the regular season with a 10-1 record and a spot in the Rose Bowl where they were surprisingly thrashed by UCLA.

The days of “New Coke” and “Farm Aid” are long behind us, but Hawkeye fans are hoping for a trip down memory lane to recapture those feelings as the nations #1 team. Can it be done? Iowa is coming off one of its best seasons ever after an 11-2 finish, an Orange Bowl victory, and a #7 finish in the final polls. The Hawkeyes return a majority of their starters on both offense and defense and play a schedule conducive to another glory-run. But is this team as good as their anniversary counterparts? Here’s a breakdown position by position of the starters from the 1985 team and the projected starters from the 2010 team and my final analysis to answer that question:

Position: 1985 vs. 2010
QB: Chuck Long vs. Ricki Stanzi
RB: Ronnie Harmon vs. A. Robinson, Wegher, Hampton
FB: David Hudson vs. Brett Morse
WR: Bill Happel, Scott Helverson, Robert Smith vs. DJK, Marvin McNutt, Keenan Davis
TE: Mike Flagg vs. Alan Reisner
OL: Mike Haight, Tom Humphrey, Mark Sindlinger, Bob Kratch, Dave Croston
Vs. James Vandervelde, Adam Gettis, Marcus Zusevics, Riley Reiff, Josh Koeppel
DL: Richard Pryor, Hap Peterson, Jon Vrieze, George Millett, Jeff Drost
Vs. Christian Ballard, Adrian Clayborne, Broderick Binns, Karl Klug
LB: Larry Station, George Davis vs. Tyler Nielsen, Jeremiah Hunter, Jeff Tarpinian
DB: Ken Sims, Nate Creer, Devon Mitchell, Jay Norvell
Vs. Shaun Prater, Micah Hyde, Tyler Sash, Brett Greenwood

QB: Advantage 1985—Chuck Long; Heisman Runner-Up
RB: Advantage 1985—Ronnie Harmon; 1100 yards rushing/ 700 yards receiving!!
WR: Advantage 2010—Think what Long could have done with the 2010 group!
TE: Advantage 1985—Mike Flagg—3 time All Big 10 Pick
OL: Advantage 1985—Mike Haight was the Big 10 Lineman of the Year; Croston and Kratch were All Big 10 the following year.
DL: Advantage 2010—Ballard, Clayborne, Binns and Klug may be the best line in school history
LB: Advantage 1985—Larry Station—All time leading tackler in Iowa history; 2-time First Team All America. Enough said.
DB: Advantage Tie—Devon Mitchell and Jay Norvell were both Honorable Mention All-America selections in 1985. The depth of Prater, Sash and Greenwood evens the field.

Final Tally-- The 1985 team wins the category battle 5-2 with one tie. There’s a reason this team was rated #1 for 5 straight weeks. If this years Hawks want to stake their claim as the greatest team in Iowa history, they’ll have to climb to the top of the polls at some point—a proposition that many Hawkeye fans think is entirely realistic. There’s only one way to find out, and it all begins on Saturday, September 4th at 12:05 pm.

1 comment:

  1. Great article, Andrew. A good perspective and obviously a lot of research. It should be a great year for Iowa but all too often we've seen returning team-mates fall short of their prior season. It will be fun to watch (even if I am an ISU grad!)