An accommodating schedule and perfectly placed bye week put Iowa in position for a good start. It's about to become more difficult for the 4-2 Hawkeyes.
Iowa kicks off a grueling stretch on Saturday at fourth-ranked Ohio State, who's 6-0.
The Hawkeyes finish the season against opponents who are a combined 25-11, with nearly half of those losses coming from one team -- Purdue.
The Hawkeyes lost every game they played in the second half of 2012, and they might only be favored once in the final six games. But Iowa is confident that the strides it has made will help it avoid another collapse.
"For us to be good, we're going to have to keep improving with each week -- including the bye week and I think we improved last week," said Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. "I think we got some things done. And not just this week, over the next six weeks I think we'll learn if we're doing things right we should be getting better and I think we improved this past week."
"There a great team and it's a great opportunity for us to go up there to Columbus and give them all we got," said senior Brett Van Sloten. "Time will tell after the game on Saturday if we're good enough to play with guys like that."
The Hawkeyes are 17-point underdogs. Iowa and Ohio State play at 2:30 Saturday.
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