The University of Iowa and volatile are two terms that are not typically associated. While they might not have an insanely low ceiling, it would be hard to see Iowa struggling to win more than a few games. Still, there is a solid range of outcomes for Iowa in 2022.
It feels like more than usual and some big questions loom over the team. While most fans who follow the team will of course mostly see the brighter side, there is a world out there where Iowa disappoints in 2022. It will come down to these five big questions.
Can Spencer Petras improve?
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
If Iowa truly wants to have a better season on offense, it all starts with the quarterback. There are other offensive factors at play, but, at the end of the day, quarterback Spencer Petras must be better.
Iowa struggled to move the ball at all through the air last year, really ever since Nate Stanley graduated. He doesn’t have to be a superstar, but Petras needs to show the improvement that has been talked about all summer.
Will we see any innovation in Iowa's offense?
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Not all of the Hawkeyes’ passing struggles should be placed on Petras’ shoulders. While he hasn’t been at the level fans have hoped for, the offensive scheme could definitely change it up a bit to give him more of a fighting chance. For more on how Iowa could make improvements to its offense, check out Riley Donald’s latest on 11 personnel and how it could help the Hawkeyes.
Will we see a better offensive line?
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen
The offensive line is a massive question mark heading into the season. Even the biggest optimist about the position group can admit that. They were rough last year and now lose a superstar in the middle. Nearly everyone on the offensive line is young and unproven, and while players such as Mason Richman and Connor Colby possess a ton of potential, they still have to live up to the hype.
Can Iowa get more out of their pass rush?
AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz
For as great as the defense was last year for the Hawkeyes, and even with as many starters returning, there are some out there worried about Iowa replicating the same level of success. The unit was great as a whole, but what really made them stand out was their fantastic turnover record.
Without generating all of those takeaways, can they be as effective? Improving the pass rush would be one way to do so. While the defensive line is strong, it lacks a single standout pass rusher on the stat sheet. Senior Zach VanValkenburg is also gone now as well. Lukas Van Ness and Joe Evans can be a good duo, and Deontae Craig has a ton of potential, but, again, it is yet to be seen the level in which Iowa’s pass rush will be.
Just how good will the Big Ten West be?
AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz
It is rare that the Big Ten is ever bad. A bad team in the Big Ten would still give sides in other conferences fits. However, the conference isn’t always up to its highest standard, especially in the Big Ten West division.
There are worries about where Iowa stands this year, especially on offense, but the same could be said about most other top teams in the West. Purdue boasts the best offense in the division, but they lose some key pieces on offense. Who will Aidan O’Connell’s reliable top option be?
Minnesota and Wisconsin both have great defenses, but do they have the aerial attack to compete for the crown? Nebraska plays close games, but they don’t win any of them. So many of the teams are similar, it will be interesting to see just who stands out and how.
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