Ruden: The season of fan optimism is here

This is the one time a year fans can focus on the positives — and they should.


Shivansh Ahuja

Kinnick Stadium is seen fom the north end zone at Iowa Football Media Day on Friday, August 9, 2019.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

The brisk fall temperatures haven’t arrived in Iowa City yet, and neither has the slight breeze indicating that football is on the horizon.

But while the fall season isn’t here, football season is, and it’s one of the best times of the year.

This is the one time a year a football fan can be optimistic like a true football fan should be — no judgments and no naysayers. Only happiness with a sprinkle of hope of what could be.

This time of year is a chance for fans to bask in what could happen this season without worrying about the worst.

That’s the opportunity Iowa fans have in front of them before the season begins on Saturday. This could be the year the Hawkeyes make the trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title for the first time since 2015.

After all, the Big Ten West is wide open. Wisconsin will vie for a spot in Lucas Oil Stadium. So will Nebraska and Northwestern. Minnesota could even be in the hunt.

We’re in the midst of the season of optimism for each of those programs, and Iowa is one of them. Enjoy it.

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It’s the season of optimism for each individual player as well. Nate Stanley could chuck 30 touchdowns this season. Oliver Martin could receive eligibility from the NCAA (as crazy as it sounds). A.J. Epenesa could out-perform his already high expectations. Geno Stone could become the next great Hawkeye defensive back. The possibilities are endless.

Injuries and players underperforming? That’s not what should be on the minds of fans across the state. Of course, the worst can always happen, but why even think about it? Heartbreak doesn’t have a place in August.

The excitement thinking of what could happen this season comes naturally with watching thrilling games in Week Zero of the season.

Hawaii and Arizona put on an absolute show with an avalanche of points in a game that was a yard away from going into overtime. Florida, a top-10 team, found a way to topple a tough Miami squad that unveiled a new role for former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell.

Now, there’s a chance for the Hawkeyes to create their own early season magic. While Miami (Ohio) isn’t the most daunting opponent, it’s a season-opening night game in Kinnick. The newly renovated North End Zone will be open to the public for the first time. The Kinnick Wave will make its return to the college-football world.

In reality, this feeling won’t be around long. The stress of the season is right around the corner, less than a week away. Wins won’t be guaranteed, and the right can turn wrong extremely fast. That’s why all fans need to bask in the optimism while they can.

This season only comes around once a year. After kickoff during the first week of the season, reality kicks in, and the narrative is set. Sure, anything can happen for the next 11 weeks after. But it’s not the same. Enjoy this season of optimism while you can, Hawkeye fans.