College football fans love an underdog story. While it may be more challenging for Cinderella teams to emerge in college football than other sports, it’s not impossible. Just ask fans of 2023’s Cinderella team, the Iowa Hawkeyes.
While the Hawkeyes haven’t had the most impressive offensive record in recent years, their wins and strong defense have kept them in the mix. However, with new quarterback Cade McNamara, they have a chance to achieve new heights. McNamara’s 63% completion rate and five touchdowns as a backup in 2022 alone prove he may be the spark the Iowa offense needs.
With NFL-caliber tight end Erick All joining him, McNamara has a few weapons at his disposal. Additionally, the offensive line is expected to improve, which could lead to more opportunities for the team to score.
Although the departure of key members such as Jack Campbell and Riley Moss could impact the defense’s performance, the Hawkeyes have consistently been in the upper echelon of defensive units since 2015. It’s likely that the defense will continue to perform at a high level.
The schedule also works in Iowa’s favor. With the team avoiding powerhouses such as Michigan and Ohio State, and the Big Ten West still highly competitive, there’s a real chance that Iowa could make some noise in 2023.
However, there’s a challenge for offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz. His job will depend on whether or not he can lead the Hawkeyes to score at least 25 points per game, which is no easy feat. If they can achieve this, though, they’ll be sitting pretty.
Will the Iowa Hawkeyes be this year’s Cinderella story? Only time will tell, but all signs point to a strong chance for them to make waves in college football.