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Kirk Ferentz’s explanation of this bad field goal choice made the whole thing even worse


NCAA Football: Iowa at Minnesota Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Some blustery Big Ten football happened during Iowa’s 17-9 loss to Wisconsin. With 5:25 to go in the game and the score at 14-6, Iowa drove to the 20-yard line and decided to kick a field goal down eight points (as one does), instead of trying for the touchdown and two-point conversion.

Why? Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s explanation, after the game:

On the 11-play drive in question, Iowa had yet to face a third down, much less a fourth down, before this play. They had driven methodically nearly the length of the field from their own 20-yard line to the doorstep of the red zone. The fourth down wasn’t an unworkable distance, either; it was fourth-and-5. Kicker Keith Duncan couldn’t nail the 38-yarder, and Wisconsin drove the ball the length of the field to more or less put the game on ice with a made field goal of their own.

Observers were understandably perplexed with the playcall.

Here’s your reminder that not only is Ferentz paid, he’s well paid to make decisions like this one.

Ferentz had four years left on his previous agreement with the school, which paid him about $4 million a year. Now, he’ll be making $4.5 million a year through 2025, or whenever he decides to retire and hand the reigns to his son Brian, whom this contract more or less names as the next coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes football team. The new contract allows Kirk to leave Iowa on his own terms, which is as sure a sign as any of having the athletic director in your pocket.

Essentially, here, do you want to lose giving yourself a fighting chance, or do you want to play it safe and lose anyway? Sure, it may be hindsight, but Iowa did the latter and took the L anyway.