No — Petras won’t start at QB in 2021

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

A little over two weeks into spring practice and just under 22 weeks away from Iowa football’s 2021-22 season-opener against Indiana, junior quarterback Spencer Petras seems to be the unquestioned favorite to start under center for the Hawkeyes this fall — though I’m not sure he should be.

Iowa’s last two starting quarterbacks — Nate Stanley and C.J. Beathard — marginally improved, if at all, from their first years as starters to their second.

In his first season as the Hawkeyes’ starter, Beathard completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns and five interceptions. In his second year under center, Beathard completed 56.5 percent of his passes, throwing 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Stanley, like Beathard, also regressed slightly in his second year taking snaps. In his first year as a starter, Stanley threw 26 touchdowns and six picks. In his second year, he tossed 26 touchdowns again, but he was intercepted on 10 occasions.

If Petras follows that same trend, Iowa shouldn’t hesitate to start Hogan or Padilla in 2021-22 if its goal is to win a Big Ten title.

In eight games last season, the Hawkeyes saw what Petras is under center — good enough to help Iowa win the games it should win, but likely not sharp enough to help the Hawkeyes down opponents they aren’t favored to defeat.

What Iowa has not seen is Hogan or Padilla starting at quarterback in college. So, while Petras’ ceiling is likely predictable, Padilla and Hogan’s are not.

Perhaps Hogan or Padilla could be the quarterback Iowa needs to win big games it isn’t favored in. The Hawkeyes will never know unless they play Hogan or Padilla.

Why should Iowa settle for the certainty of what Petras is, when it doesn’t know how good Hogan or Padilla could be?

As the saying goes, don’t risk it, no biscuit.