Ross: Enjoy the Ride

October 8, 2015

Written by Ross Peterson

Hawkeye Nation

I’m proud of what I’ve seen from Iowa fans this week. Maybe I’m proud of what I HAVEN’T seen. I haven’t seen expectations shoot through the roof. I haven’t heard talk of an undefeated season, a Big Ten Title game appearance, or more.

Let’s be clear… some of those things are really possible! But the attitude at this point seems more like, ‘Enjoy the ride.’

The biggest thing that came from Saturday was fan satisfaction. For the first time in many years, I feel a calmness again from the fan base. Saturday was a reminder of what it felt like to be a Hawkeye Football fan. Of course, the Hawkeyes beat the Badgers. Of course, the Hawkeyes are ranked… That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

The difference between this ranked team and previous ranked Hawkeye teams is that nobody really expected it, or at least not this fast in 2015 if at all.

If you would have told me in August that the Hawkeyes would be ranked and the fan base would be calm and confident at some point in the 2015 season, I would’ve had no trouble believing you. If you would’ve told me those things would happen in the first five games?  There’s no way I would’ve believed you.

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Saturday’s win over Wisconsin was anything but pretty. That doesn’t matter. My takeaway from the game was this: The Hawks won despite leaving six points on the field (a failed fourth down conversion and missed chip shot), they won despite the fact the best player on the field was on the other team, they won despite the fact their offensive play maker didn’t make a game changing play and they won despite the fact they were missing one of their only deep threats at wide receiver.

Don’t take too much away from CJ’s pedestrian performance on Saturday in Madison. He was missing Tevaun Smith and throwing in a virtual hurricane. Friends at the stadium told me the wind was swirling so badly, the flags were blowing north/south but the wind was effecting the ball east/west.

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Some are arguing that Wisconsin is not as good as we thought. They’re right. Guess what? Minnesota and Nebraska fall into that same category.

Other positives I took away from  the win at Wisconsin: Jerminic Smith is closer to breaking out than previously thought. CJ took a shot down field for the true freshman and barely over threw the ball.  Or you could say Smith gave up a little too early on the play, but he will get better. Jerminic Smith and fellow freshman Adrian Falconer are the best two options to get separation and get behind opposing defenses, something that’s been a problem through five weeks. It’s just a matter of CJ getting in sync with their speed and they with CJ’s arm and the flow of the game. Jerminic Smith was listed as the No.1 on the depth chart this week and he might be enough to make a difference on Saturday against Illinois.

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Bottom line: Let’s allow our hopes and expectations to get out control, at least for a few minutes.  Let’s remember what it was like to cheer for a ranked Hawkeye team on Saturdays.  Let’s enjoy the ride.

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