“We won 10 games last year, I don’t know if you’re aware of that.”

After Moon Family Head Football Coach Kirk Ferentz raised awareness about Iowa football with that quote after a 9-6 loss at Illinois, there has been no shortage of writers wading into the depths of the NCAA record books to unearth rare statistical treasures.

And make no mistake, you have to dig deep. The Hawkeyes are at the very bottom. 

… at least on offense. The Iowa defense is near the top.

It’s worth repeating Stew here: “Never seen anything like it.” And yet Hawkeyes fans watch it every week. Makes you wonder how the phrase “complementary football” has even been uttered this year.

Even by Iowa’s offensively low standards – read that either way you like –  this year’s offense is having a down year.

It’s not just exhausting for fans. There’s a whole lot of red on these ledgers.

Meanwhile, you really can’t ask much more of a defense. They had their 25-points-or-less streak end at 29 last season. (They won 10 games last year. Kirk Ferentz doesn’t know if you’re aware of that.) But this year, they’ve held everyone but a top-five Michigan team to 10 or less.

Score 21 points and that equals a lot more wins. And not just this year. Kirk would have more recent 10-win seasons since 2017 to remind people of.

Scratch that: Just score 18.

After Saturday’s game Ferentz said, “We’ve won a lot of games since 2015.” And yet, the stats show a few more points would mean quite a few more wins. 

No one is asking for an elite offense. A below average one would likely do the trick. Perhaps one that isn’t outperformed by a single skill position on other teams.

Rutgers just fired the coordinator of their 109th-ranked offense. The Scarlet Knights are averaging 25 more yards this year and moved up 11 spots in those rankings. Right behind them in 2021 at No. 121? The Hawkeyes.

Iowa has since dropped 10 spots to dead last, as you saw above. The Hawks are averaging a whopping 65 fewer yards per game compared to last year. You know, the one in which Kirk Ferentz wants to make sure you know they won 10 games. With that 121st-ranked offense led by Brian Ferentz, who Kirk Ferentz told reporters Saturday is safe during the bye week because “he’s a good football coach,” and, presumably, not because he’s his son. Many disagree — some strongly.

And this year, they would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for that meddling replay showing the Illini didn’t actually fumble the ball Riley Moss returned for the likely game-winning touchdown. Or maybe if a game-tying kick in the rain seven hours after kickoff against Iowa State doesn’t go wide. Or a number of other small things that didn’t happen in the final moments of games. The difference between 5-1 and 3-3 is that slim. I’m pretty sure Kirk Ferentz is aware of that, but you have to wonder if he is aware that it doesn’t have to be

Winning 10 games isn’t exactly what it used to be. 

January bowls aren’t what they used to be.

Coaching stability in the Big Ten suddenly isn’t what it used to be.

Big Ten division titles are about to come and go during the Ferentz tenure.

College football has been changing for a while — on the field and off — but recently it’s been rapid. And the more a team like Iowa resists that change, the more it risks being left behind. 

Put simply, as Spencer Petras did Saturday, the Hawkeyes “can’t keep doing this.” 

For more Hawkeyes coverage, follow @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz in 2021, when the Hawkeyes won 10 games. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)