Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says the time for preseason predictions is over. The Hawkeyes open on Saturday against UNI and while they enter the season with high expectations Ferentz says it is time to prove it on the field. “Three out of the top 5 teams, at least in the polls I looked at, were unranked going into the season last year and ended up in the top five. That to me is college football, you just never know what is going to happen,”Ferentz says.

Ferentz says the Panthers will present a tough challenge in the opener. “They’ve got a great tradition up there obviously with their program. They’ve played very, very well, if you look back at the last five openers, they’ve played extremely well and we expect a very tough competitive ballgame Saturday,” Ferentz says.

Like the Hawkeyes the Panthers have an experienced team and Ferentz says they pose a lot of threats on offense and make you work hard with their defense.

Ferentz says the Panthers have been especially tough on FBS foes. He says in the last five openers, including one against the Hawkeyes that he says took a miracle for them to win, UNI has showed they are ready to play.

Ferentz says given UNI’s recent history there is no excuse for taking this one lightly as he says they don’t care where they are going or where they are playing, they come ready to play.

Ferentz says a veteran defensive line will need to play well to help out a new set of linebackers. “For us to have a good defensive football team, certainly our line is going to have to be productive, and do their jobs well. And they should,” he says.

Iowa’s offense made big strides a year ago and has the potential to be even better this season. He says things can change quickly, so they have to keep their foot on the gas and meet their potential to be better on offense.