By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Mr. Optimist and Mr. Pessimist have been disagreeing on virtually everything related to Hawkeye athletics for over two decades because one glass is always half full, while the other is always half empty.
Here is a copy of their latest debate, which supposedly was held on Sunday at a secret location.
This debate is unlike all of their previous debates, however, because they actually agree on one thing as you'll see by reading the column.
Mr. Optimist: Nate Stanley has started the last 34 games and has thrown 62 touchdown passes to rank second on Iowa’s all-time list behind Chuck Long’s 74 scoring strikes. Stanley also has 17 career multi-touchdown games and a 14-5 record at Kinnick Stadium, including a 55-24 beat-down against Ohio State in 2017.
Mr. Pessimist: Nate Stanley has a 12-11 record in Big Ten games as Iowa’s starting quarterback and is 0-3 against Penn State, 0-2 against Wisconsin and 1-2 against both Northwestern and Purdue.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has a history of improving as the season progresses under Kirk Ferentz, and is usually playing at its best in November.
Mr. Pessimist: Or maybe not, considering Iowa has a 19-18 record in November dating back to the 2010 season, including 4-4 over the past two seasons.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has a 17-6 record over its last 23 games, including two bowl wins.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa has a 12-11 record in its last 23 Big Ten games.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa is bowl eligible for the 18th time in the past 19 seasons and its two losses were against Penn State and Michigan, who have a combined record of 15-2. Both losses were also one possession games.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa’s three Big Ten wins have come against Rutgers, Purdue and Northwestern, who are a combined 2-16 in conference play and 5-18 overall.
Mr. Optimist: November is a great month, because in addition to conference championships being decided in football, it also marks the start of the basketball season and wrestling season. The Iowa men's basketball team will tip things off on Monday in an exhibition game against Lindsey Wilson College at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Mr. Pessimist: So can I assume the Wilson sisters from Heart were busy for that night?
Mr. Optimist: The Iowa men's basketball team returns nine lettermen, including three starters, from a team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.
Mr. Pessimist: The Iowa men's basketball teram has to replace its leading scorer and rebounder, its starting shooting guard for the past two seasons and arguably the top sixth-man during the Fran McCaffery era from a team that finished 10-10 in the Big Ten and barely made the NCAA Tournament last season as a No. 10 seed.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa just had its second bye week of the season and will have had two weeks to prepare for Saturday’s game against Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.
Mr. Pessimist: Wisconsin just had its second bye week of the season and also will have had two weeks to prepare for the Hawkeyes.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has a 50-50 chance of landing Oskaloosa 7-footer Xavier Foster, who will announce his choice between Iowa and Iowa State at a press conference on Monday morning at his high school.
Mr. Pessimist: Iowa State also has a 50-50 chance of landing Xavier Foster on Monday.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa has had 17 offensive linemen under Kirk Ferentz selected in the NFL Draft, including four in the first round.
Mr. Pessimist: Only once since 2004 has Iowa finished higher than fifth in the Big Ten in rushing, and that came in 2008 when the Shonn Greene-led Hawkeyes finished fourth in the conference in rushing, averaging 188.7 yards per game. Iowa also has finished seventh or lower in the conference in rushing in 12 of the previous 15 seasons dating back to 2004, including 10th or lower in seven seasons.
Mr. Optimist: Iowa kicker Keith Duncan leads the country with 19 field goals made. He is 19-of-22 on field-goal attempts and 18-of-18 on point-after kicks.
Mr. Pessimist: Nothing against Keith, but his statistics represent way too many drives that failed to produce a touchdown.
Mr. Optimist: The Iowa wrestling team is ranked second behind Penn State.
Mr. Pessimist: The Iowa wrestling team is ranked secone behind Penn State.
Mr. Optimist: The Wave has swept the nation and is now the greatest tradition in college sports, maybe in all of sports.
Mr. Pessimist: Okay, you got me on that one because you’re right, the Wave is the greatest tradition in all of sports. In fact, I still get emotional every time it happens because you can just feel the power and grace of the human spirit sweeping through Kinnick Stadium.