Why, Iowa, why!?
Arguably the worst contract in college football among head coaches entering the 2015 season belonged to Iowa's Kirk Ferentz. He was owed $4 million a season through 2020 and had a massive contract buyout if fired (75 percent of remaining salary). Plus, I think the state had to make him governor or something if Ferentz was canned. It was a Charlie Weis-level (Notre Dame version) ridiculous deal.
Thanks to an incredibly easy schedule in 2015, Iowa finished the regular season at 12-0 and won the Big Ten West with Ferentz taking Big Ten Coach of the Year honors. But predictably, the Hawkeyes lost in the Big Ten Championship Game to Michigan State and then equally predictably were blasted by Stanford in the Rose Bowl.
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Ferentz must have incriminating photos of someone important in the state of Iowa, or beating Miami of Ohio has much more significance than I'm aware of because this week the school decided to extend Ferentz's deal through 2025 and up his salary to $4.5 million annually. Ferentz would also receive a $1.5 million bonus for winning a national title, $375,00 for making the College Football Playoff and $250,000 for winning a Big Ten title. The buyout remains prohibitive.
Ferentz is a solid coach, no doubt, and is tied with Oklahoma's Bob Stoops as the longest-tenured at one school in the FBS as both were hired in 1999. But why do this? I have nothing against Iowa and actually had a fun weekend in Iowa City once. But I am so rooting for the Hawkeyes to lose at home to Iowa State on Saturday. I doubt that happens as the Hawkeyes are 15-point favorites and ISU lost to FCS school Northern Iowa in Week 1 in Matt Campbell's coaching debut at ISU. But the road team has won the past four in this series.
Here are some news, notes and any major line moves for some of Saturday's games around the country, in no particular order.
Ohio at Kansas (-3, 59.5): This has the biggest line move of the week as it opened with the Bobcats at -2, but KU is taking huge action after ending a 15-game losing streak with a 55-6 win over FCS pushover Rhode Island in Week 1 to give second-year coach David Beaty his first win at the school. The Kansas defense was the nation's worst in 2015 but allowed only 219 yards of offense. Beaty used a two-quarterback system of Montell Cozart and Ryan Willis, and both played well, combining for five TD passes. The 399 yards in the air were the most for Kansas since having 498 yards against Missouri in 2009. The 55 points scored were the most since a 76-point outburst against Nebraska in 2007. The QB rotation will stay in place for now. KU played Rhode Island without four projected starters, but they all could return here: wideout Jeremiah Booker, offensive tackle Jordan Shelley-Smith, linebacker Marcquis Roberts and defensive tackle D.J. Williams. Ohio was a bowl team last year from the MAC but lost 56-54 in triple OT at home to Texas State in Week 1.
Wofford at No. 19 Ole Miss (-42, 56.5): Obviously there's no question that the Rebels will win this game against FCS school Wofford. But I might take the points for a few reasons. First, Ole Miss is on a short week after blowing a 28-6 lead and being dominated in the second half of Monday night's game in Orlando against Florida State. Second, the Rebs could be looking ahead to next week's SEC opener at home against No. 1 Alabama, a team that Ole Miss has beaten twice in a row. Third, Mississippi lost two players to season-ending injuries against the Seminoles: starting cornerback Ken Webster and No. 2 running back Eric Swinney, a highly-touted prospect. Webster started every game at cornerback last season for the Rebels and tied for third on the team with 12 passes defended. Ole Miss already had lost its top projected running back for the season, Jordan Wilkins, back in August for academic reasons.
Arkansas State at Auburn (-19.5, 54.5): This line has risen two points. The Tigers played fairly well in Week 1, losing 19-13 at home to No. 2 Clemson. I should say played fairly well defensively. Embattled head coach Gus Malzahn used all three of his quarterbacks -- Sean White, Jeremy Johnson and John Franklin III -- and they combined to go 15-for-30 for 175 yards and two picks. White started that game but gave way to Johnson after two series. Auburn also had five three-and-outs on its first six possessions of the game while rotating the quarterbacks in and out. Malzahn says White is his guy going forward but that Franklin is the No. 2 guy for now. A lot of people thought Franklin, a former FSU player and JuCo transfer, would win the job in fall camp. Malzahn's first head coaching gig was with Arkansas State, where he spent just the 2012 season after going 9-3. The Red Wolves lost their opener 31-10 to Toledo. Several players reportedly had to visit the hospital this week due to a virus sweeping through the team. A-State has never defeated a team while it was a member of the SEC.
Boston College at UMass (+16.5, 39): Two interesting betting notes from this battle of neighbors: the total is the smallest on the board and UMass is the biggest home dog. BC leads the all-time series 19-5 and won the most recent matchup 30-7 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro in 2014. That's where this game is as UMass plays some of its home games there. The Eagles have won the past eight meetings between the two schools that are separated by about 90 miles. BC opened the season in Ireland with a 17-14 loss to Georgia Tech, allowing a 4-yard TD run by the Jackets with 36 seconds left. Going back to last season, Boston College has lost each of its last three games by a field goal. The BC defense was No. 1 nationally in 2015 and looked great again in holding Tech to 238 yards. But the Eagles turned the ball over three times. UMass played quite well in a 24-7 loss at Florida. The Gators led just 10-7 entering the fourth.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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