Take a quick look at this week’s AP Poll. Go ahead - take a look. You’ll notice #21 Liberty, #24 Louisianna Lafayette, and #25 Tulsa rounding out the poll. Liberty began D-1 competition only two seasons ago. They’re led by formerly disgraced Hugh Freeze.
Ahead of that pack you see #17 Iowa State, one game out of first place in the Big 12. The Cyclones, owners of zero titles of consequence, in anything football, ever, sit just behind - that’s right, you guessed it - Frank Stallone, also known as Coastal Carolina. The Fighting Stallones share the 15-spot with CFB’s other famous actor, the Marshall Matthew McConaugheys of West By Gosh Virginia. Inside the national top 10, you’ll find Indiana, BYU, and Cincinnati. In a football poll!
What in the world is a-going on?
As further proof the world’s gone completely mad, the Iowa Hawkeyes are no longer a 4-3 Cover 2 / 3 squad on 99% of their defensive snaps. No, friends - not even stodgy Kirk Ferentz remained the same.
Kill The Lights
Hit the pause button on the embedded video below before the snap of the ball. And there it is, right? That’s what you see 10 billion times per game from Iowa’s defense, whether the offense plays with “10” personnel (one back, zero TEs), or “23” personnel. Iowa puts two safeties on the field, always and forever, and those two safeties stand precisely on each hash, somewhere between 10 - 15 yards deep.
Press the play button, and Iowa gives us a big fat surprise. It’s a boundary corner blitz on 1st down. What for all the world looked like Cover 2 pre-snap transforms into zero-deep safeties, with Iowa’s 3 remaining DBs locked into 1-on-1 coverage, sans deep help.
Iowa jumps onto the opposite foot, as well. In the gif below, the Hawks show press man coverage (!!! press man from Iowa !!!) with just a single high safety pre-snap. The other 7 defenders are jammed onto the line of scrimmage, threatening blitz. A fraction of a second before the snap, they all bail out, and slip back into their comfortable, buffet jeans (aka, cover 2).
Another pre-snap, plain Jane look. Another disguised blitz, this time from the MLB into the A gap.
Hit The Lights
It’s mid-November, and Indiana and Northwestern would play for the Big Ten championship if it were played this Saturday. Rutgers owns as many victories as Penn State and Michigan, combined. Boring, staid Iowa sends a boundary corner blitz on first down on the far side of the 50. Clearly, not one damn thing makes even a shred of sense in this bizarre world.
Film Room’s counsel - not as any kind of expert, but merely as your fellow human and your friend - is to postpone any decisions that don’t absolutely, positively need to be made. This specifically includes adding your voice to the mob hounding our guy Jimmy Franks in the comment sections.