Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz refuses to term this season “a disappointment”. After three straight finishes in the nation’s top ten the Hawkeyes entered this season with lofty expectations but must now win one of their final two games just to finish with a winning season.

Ferentz says they lost back-to-back games in the last minute, and he says each one is disappointing, but he says he prefers to wait until the whole season is over to evaluate it and make conclusions.

Ferentz says the biggest difference this season is the Hawks are not converting in key situations like they have the past few seasons. He says if they were lacking effort and commitment, then he’d be concerned, but he says that part he’s not worried about.

The Hawkeyes will need to be ready this weekend when they visit Wisconsin in what will be retiring coach Barry Alvarez’s last game in Madison. Ferentz says they just haven’t played well enough, as he says they’ve prepared hard the last two weeks. He says they just haven’t closed well, and he says you can’t do that in this conference, or you get beat. He says this week is the same deal.

Iowa could get a boost with the return of wide receiver Ed Hinkel. He has been sidelined since suffering a broken arm in a victory at Purdue one month ago. Ferentz says the ultimate test is how he performs Saturday if he can play. He says Hinkel has been cleared medically to play and they’ll just have to watch him closely.