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Mary Ferentz shows a cardboard cutoff of her husband to Kirk Ferentz.

What’s Iowa football’s outlook once Kirk Ferentz retires?

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ANSWER: That’s an interesting and highly speculative question. The most important aspect of the post-Kirk Ferentz era is, who will the athletics director hire as his replacement?

Obviously offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz will be a candidate. Whether that happens depends on Iowa’s success until Kirk Ferentz’s retirement. Many Iowa fans’ emotions tend to swing like a pendulum regarding the Ferentzes. One day, it’s make a succession plan official with Brian Ferentz. The next day, it’s Ferentz fatigue hovers over the Fortress Kinnick like fog and drizzle. I suppose that coincides with some of Iowa’s outcomes.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s say Brian Ferentz becomes Iowa’s next coach. I really don’t think the program’s status changes. Brian is different from his father in personality, but the foundation would remain the same. Iowa would still prioritize line-of-scrimmage play, a zone-running scheme and a physical-first mindset. The variations would change, but it’s unpredictable to determine whether it would work.

The Hawkeyes have averaged just north of 7 wins a season the last 40 years under Hayden Fry and Kirk Ferentz. Fry already is inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, while the 62-year-old Kirk Ferentz needs to boost his career winning percentage to above 60 percent (he’s at 59.6 at Iowa) to get there. The coaches have combined for seven top-10 finishes, six major bowl berths and five Big Ten titles.

I’d say a good football coach, whether it’s Brian Ferentz or anyone else, would have his peaks and valleys at Iowa. There are years when it all comes together and others when it unravels because of schedule, injuries, attrition or bad luck. So my best guess is Iowa would remain an 8-win program annually with a few spikes and an occasional slip-up.

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