The expectations for the Northern Iowa football team are much different heading into this season than they were one year ago. Prior to the 2002 season the Panthers were favored to win the Gateway Conference and expected to contend for the One-double-A national title. A disappointing 5-6 record followed but coach Mark Farley still has high hopes for this season. Farley believes the Panthers have a lot of talent and especially young talent. He says they have 18 18-year-olds he thinks are going to be impact players. He says he’s thrilled with the class. Unlike last year at this time there is no doubt who the starting quarterback is. Tom Petrie threw for more than 13 hundred yards a year ago. He says it’s “very settling” to go in knowing you have an experienced quarterback who can run the offense.The Panthers open at Iowa State on August 30th.