NCAA Should Reinstate TV Bans to Tackle Iowa Football Problem

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We have seen enough. Literally.

It’s time someone stepped in and took Iowa football games off the air from American television until further notice.

Iowa’s 54-10 loss to Ohio State in FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff was the last straw. Advertisers should threaten to pull their ads if they are unlucky enough to be paired with the Hawkeyes, as Brian Ferentz’s offense is alienating millions of viewers.

As we saw on Saturday, it doesn’t matter which of Iowa’s desolate quarterbacks is on the field. Ferentz’s playbook is even sadder. There was a time when Spencer Petras and Alex Padilla combined 6 completions and 5 turnovers.

Petras went 6 of 14 for 49 yards with 2 interceptions and a lost fumble before his catch was thankfully pulled out at halftime. Padilla went 5 of 10 for 32 yards with his own interception to help the cause.

Iowa’s only touchdown, naturally, was scored by its defense. It’s the third time this season that Iowa’s offense has failed to score a touchdown.

Anywhere else in college football, the offensive coordinator would be out of a job. Long before things got to this point. But especially after being kicked out and beaten with a switch on national television.

But since offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz, that option isn’t available. The elder Ferentz is the winningest coach in Iowa history and has signed a contract with the school until 2029.

A more drastic measure must be taken. It’s time to ban the Hawkeyes from television.

TV bans really existed in the NCAA rulebook

Back when NCAA penalties made even less sense than they do now, one of the most severe penalties possible was to ban games from your program on television. None of Auburn’s undefeated 1993 season games were televised, as the Tigers were on probation.

The idea, probably, is that it would hurt a program’s recruiting ability. And in a time before the internet, that was probably true.

Of course, the reason this form of punishment is no longer enforced is that it also penalized teams that did not break any rules. The 1995 season of Ole Miss was the last to be banned from the airwaves.

But the time is near for a revival of this old-fashioned punishment. Not because Iowa committed rule violations under Ferentz, but because its violation is a direct violation of the Geneva Conventions. Surely the Federal Communications Commission has the ability to prevent this breach of decency from continuing to air.

And frankly, Iowa should support this sanction. Rookies not being able to watch Iowa games on TV is the best possible outcome for the Hawkeyes.

A beautiful defense is wasted

At worst, Iowa has a top-5 defense in college football. Yet no one who sees Saturday’s score has reason to believe it.

“Oh, they gave up 54 points to Ohio State. Talk about overrated!”

But if you actually watched the game, you realize the Iowa defense was the only thing stopping the Buckeyes from scoring 80 points. Or more.

Ohio State’s average starting position was its own 46-yard line. And that’s only because things improved for the Hawkeyes in the second half. In the first half, the Buckeyes’ average practice started at the Iowa 49.

Ohio State had 16 points and 89 yards at the end of the first quarter.

Ohio State had 133 yards of offense at halftime — the lowest first-half total in Ryan Day’s tenure.

By the end of the game, Ohio State had 54 points despite going 3 of 13 (23%) on third down. It’s Ohio State’s lowest conversion percentage since losing 31-0 to Clemson in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. And that’s what a scorecard is supposed to look like when a team converts. 23% of his third tries.

But that’s how inept Iowa’s offense is. A potentially generational big defense won’t even show up in a game of bowls.

Which is good, because this bowling game shouldn’t be televised anyway.

The most damning indictment against Brian Ferentz’s offense?

Defensive end Joe Evans’ 11-yard scoop and score that briefly gave the Hawkeyes a 7-3 lead was Iowa’s third defensive touchdown in Big Ten play this season. The Hawkeyes also have 3 offensive touchdowns against Big Ten opponents.

And that’s how you find yourself 1-3 in the Big Ten with no hope of progressing.

A modest proposal

“He is a good football coach.

It was Kirk Ferentz talks about his son after a 9-6 loss at Illinois.

Kirk might be right. Maybe Brian is a good football coach. But he’s not a good offensive coordinator. And the scientific method requires changing some elements of that experience.

The first proposal: strip Brian of his calling duties and return him to the offensive line coach. That’s what he did from 2012 to 2016, and it’s obviously the weakest link in an attack with no strengths.

The second proposition: let Brian show what he can do as a head coach. And he can even stay in the state of Iowa to do it. Our extensive research indicates that Division III Luther College hasn’t won more than one game per season since 2018. Talk about a fixer!

If Brian is a good football coach, he’ll win the American Rivers Conference Norse titles in no time!

In all likelihood, Kirk Ferentz will avoid these options and stick to the status quo. And that leaves us with only one solution.

Take the Hawkeyes off the TV. Someone. Please.

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