Howe’s Friday 5: Signing Day, Floyd, Another Shot at Signature Win

November 15, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa Football, and men’s and women’s basketball are rolling along with their seasons. Wrestling is getting underway on Sunday. Soccer and field hockey play in their respective NCAA Tournaments this weekend. Hawkeye Nation isn’t lacking for action.

With plenty of topics on the table, here’s my Friday Five for this week:

5. The week started off rough for the Iowa men’s basketball team. It learned Monday morning that Oskaloosa High senior center Xavier Foster chose Iowa State instead of it and then that night DePaul ran it off the floor at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes trailed by 25 with five minutes to play.

British big man Josh Ogundele (6-10, 240) helped them recover on Wednesday. The Worcester (MA) Academy center announced he was choosing them ahead of Providence, Rutgers, Cincinnati and others.

With how things shook out, people will compare the college careers of Ogundele and Foster against each other. It’s not all together fair because Iowa wanted both guys, but that’s what we do.

Who will be better? It’s too early to say. Foster certainly ranks higher. Ogundele is a player from overseas who was less exposed to scouts.

As I see it now, Foster is the superior defensive player and athlete, but needs to develop offensively. Ogundele already shows a nifty array of post moves, but will need to stay on top of his conditioning, which should aid him in becoming a better defensive player.

4. Speaking of recruiting, the Iowa women’s hoops squad knocked it out of the park by landing Wes Des Moines Dowling Catholic star guard Caitlin Clark. ESPN’s No. 4 overall ranked recruit in the class chose the Hawkeyes ahead of offers from Notre Dame, Iowa State, Texas, Oregon, Oregon State, Duke, Florida and many others.

The 6-0, 155-pound point guard can do it all. And she plays with an edge that can intimidate opponents. It would be surprising if she’s not the starter from Day 1 at Iowa.

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3. I wonder…

…if Patrick McCaffery would benefit more from a redshirt than playing this season.

…how much Iowa’s three-man rotation at running back has hampered the ground game the last two seasons?

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…if Detroit natives Alaric Jackson and Chauncey Golston will pass on their final seasons at Iowa and test the NFL Draft.

…if any of Iowa’s backup quarterbacks in ’19 will leave the program before next season.

…how much help Hawkeye hoops will get next year from their five-man ’20 recruiting class.

…if any Iowa football assistant coaches will move on after the season.

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2. Floyd of Rosedale is on the line Saturday when eighth-ranked and unbeaten Minnesota comes to Kinnick Stadium. It’s, by far, the coolest trophy for which the Hawkeyes compete. If you’ve ever seen it up close, you know what I’m talking about.

The schools used to play for a real pig. That probably couldn’t happen these days with animal rights activists and the lack of space on the sidelines thanks to more and more boosters getting passes. The poor thing would be freaked out.

Anyway, Iowa is 14-4 in its last 18 rivalry trophy games (Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin), with all four losses coming to Wisconsin. Now that’s a glass-half-full, glass-half empty situation.

1. In many ways, the Hawkeyes’ ’19 story will be shaped greatly by what happens Saturday afternoon. Knock off the No. 8 team in the country and help spoil its year and folks feel better, especially if it’s followed by victories against Illinois and Nebraska. Lose and the last chance for a memorable, signature win goes out the window.

This game tests the foundation of the program. With the West Division title all but out of reach early in November for a fourth season in a row, can the Hawkeyes readjust their goals and stay together. The coaches talk a lot about a winning culture and the players repeat it. The staff is responsible for pushing this group forward and keeping it united. It’s the most experienced in this area.

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