What seemed unthinkable about a month ago is just one victory away for the Iowa Hawkeyes, a winning season and a bowl bid. After opening the season 2-4 the Hawkeyes are now 6-5 and close out the regular season at home this weekend against Western Michigan.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says a key to the reversal in fortunes was that the attitude remained positive even in the midst of a four-game losing skid. He says much of the credit goes to a senior class that will be playing its final game in Kinnick Stadium, as he says they provide the leadership to all the younger guys. Ferentz says they’ve been able to provide that leadership through the good and the bad, and he says it’s tougher to do when things aren’t going so well.

Iowa became bowl eligible with a victory over Minnesota but Ferentz views this week’s game as a must win if the Hawks want an invite. He says it would be shortsided to think they could go to a bowl with six wins, and that should be motivation.

Ferentz says the Hawks will need to get better in a number of areas, because he says Western has had some extra time to get ready. He says Western has looked at tape and says right now the Hawkeyes aren’t putting fear in anybody’s heart. Ferentz says nothing has come easy this season and it won’t start now.

It is unusual to end the season with a non conference game but given the circumstances there is a lot on the line. "This is a real big game for us, on a couple of fronts," Ferentz says. Helping Iowa’s bowl prospects is a rabid fan base that always boosts ticket sales. Ferentz says bowl people like fans who follow a team and he doesn’t know of many teams that have a better following.