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Missouri Tigers Shouldn't Overlook Kirk Ferentz's Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa's 7-5 record can be deceiving when looking closer at the tight losses and experience of the Hawkeyes' roster. Mizzou shouldn't look past them.

On the surface, the Tigers could be looking their chops. But a proper dose of perspective will hopefully keep Missouri from thinking too highly of themselves and, consequently, too poorly of their opponent.

It's hard to blame them if they are rather confident. After all, the Missouri Tigers football program enjoyed a 10-win season and rides into the Insight Bowl in two weeks already ranked in the Top 12 and looking for a Top 10 finish at season's end. After a quick two-game skid against Texas Tech and Nebraska, the Tigers have won three in a row including a win against #24 Kansas State, a hammering of Kansas and a shutout at Iowa State.

The Iowa Hawkeyes on the other hand haven't looked nearly as impressive, especially on the back half of the schedule. The Hawkeyes faced five ranked teams this season, ousting only two of them. The two wins came at home against Big Ten foes Michigan State (the team's most impressive win) and Penn State. However, they lost at Arizona early on while losing at home to Wisconsin and, most recently, Ohio State. In fact, the team has lost its last three games against OSU, Minnesota and Northwestern and their last victory was a five-point yawner against Indiana.

But it's Kirk Ferentz we're talking about here who leads the Hawkeyes, and his teams are usually ready for this final game of the season. Last year, they defeated Georgia Tech 24-14 in the Orange Bowl and whooped South Carolina 31-10 the year before that in the Outback Bowl. He's a three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, including last season, who has a senior QB at the reins in Ricky Stanzi. Even with a record of 7-5, the Hawkeyes actually led in the fourth quarter of every one of those losses but one (Arizona).

Certainly, Missouri should be the favored team here to win, but Iowa has become a highly respected program in the last near-decade under Ferentz. He's proven the ability to win the big game (defeated a Top Five team every year for last three years) and the bowl game. With solid senior leadership, the Tigers should have their hands full with a solid opponent.