Iowa Hawkeyes quarterback James Vandenberg has some pretty good stats this season. He has a completion percentage close to 60. He also has 2,806 passing yards, a 142.7 passer rating, 23 passing touchdowns and only six interceptions. He has added to that three rushing touchdowns, making him the only Hawkeye besides Marcus Coker with any rushing touchdowns.
What Vandenberg doesn't have is enough respect—both from the nation as a whole and from his own fans.
Vandenberg's stats compare pretty favorably to many of the nation's solid quarterbacks. His passing yards are similar to Georgia's Aaron Murray. His completion percentage is similar to Clemson's Tajh Boyd. His touchdown total is close to the same amount as West Virginia's Geno Smith. Vandenberg's passer rating is almost identical to Oklahoma's Landry Jones.
The difference between Vandenberg and the aforementioned quarterbacks is that they have all received a good deal of national recognition. They are considered to be "great" quarterbacks, while Vandenberg has received very little recognition outside of Iowa.
Part of that lack of respect is due to Iowa's mediocre record. It's difficult to get noticed when your team is 7-5.
More insulting is the lack of respect from the Iowa fanbase.
Statistically, Vandenberg is better than his predecessor, Ricky Stanzi. His passing yards, touchdowns, completion percentage, passer rating and TD-to-INT ratio are all better than Stanzi's were in 2009, when he led the Hawkeyes to an Orange Bowl victory.
Yet, Vandenberg is nowhere near as beloved by Iowa fans as Stanzi. Nevermind that Vandenberg is much more consistent and not nearly as mistake-prone as Stanzi was.
Fans love a winner. Stanzi had a much better team around him, and as a result, he won more. Vandenberg has done plenty for the Hawkeyes, but the rest of the team has not played well enough to get the wins.
Until his supporting cast steps up, James Vandenberg will continue to lack the respect he deserves.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!