Iowa Football: Why the Hawkeyes Will Contend in the Big Ten in 2011

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Iowa Football: Why the Hawkeyes Will Contend in the Big Ten in 2011
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Iowa Hawkeyes are coming off a disappointing season despite a victory in the Insight Bowl over Blaine Gabbert and the Missouri Tigers. Ranked as high as No. 5 in the preseason rankings by SI.com going into the 2010 football season, the Hawkeyes crumbled and finished 8-5, losing games to Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio State, Northwestern and Arizona.

The team was ravaged by off-field controversy starting before they even played their first game in 2010. Freshman running back Brandon Wegher had left the team. This was a player who had set the Iowa record of touchdowns (eight) by a running back the year before.

Jewel Hampton, thought to be the next star running back, tore his ACL in the third game of the season at Arizona and later announced he would transfer.

Fellow running back Adam Robinson was arrested for marijuana possession in Des Moines in December throwing the team in more turmoil.

The negative headlines continued in Iowa City as star wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Iowa's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, was arrested on seven drug related charges.

Then came maybe the most disturbing news. An offseason workout put 13 Iowa players in the hospital with a condition called Rhadbomyolysis — a kidney threatening condition that involves the breakdown of muscle tissue.

In all the negative controversy I almost forgot that defensive coordinator Norm Parker was hospitalized for much of the season and had his right foot amputated in September 2010 due to diabetes related complications.

With the past seasons troubles behind them the Hawkeyes are ready to turn over a new leaf and replace departing stars such as Ricky Stanzi, DJK, Adrian Clayborn, Tyler Sash and Christian Ballard.

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