Tennessee Tech head football coach Watson Brown knows what to expect when his Golden Eagles take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
After all, this is not the first time his program has traveled to an FBS program for a chance to cash a large paycheck.
“You can see how good Iowa is by watching just one tape,” Brown said. “They are well-coached and very sound. But this is not our first rodeo. We know what to expect from a team like that.”
Brown and his team knows because they have traveled to other FBS big-boy programs over the past four seasons. Last year, Tennessee Tech lost to Arkansas 44-3 and to TCU 62-7. The Golden Eagles have also lost to Kansas State (49-7), Louisville (51-10) and Auburn (35-3) during that stretch.
“We have been one of the better teams in our league the past two seasons with a record of 9-7, but it is time to take the next step with this program,” Brown said. “We are getting better, but we are not where we want to be. We need to be lucky and play better this season.”
Brown admits that playing good Division I programs and traveling to their stadiums has helped his own program with facilities and equipment.
“The money that we get from playing these games has helped our program have some of the best facilities in the country on our level,” Brown said. “That is the positive of playing these games.”
When talking about Iowa, Brown said he had to have a very physical camp this preseason because Iowa plays a very physical style of football. And he had to get his guys ready for what they are going to see Saturday in Iowa City.
“I didn’t want us to be shocked by how physical the Hawkeyes are,” Brown said. “And you have to beat Iowa because that team usually does not beat themselves. They are very sound and they win the right way. I would like my program someday to be just like that program.”
Iowa and Tennessee Tech played a common opponent last season. The Hawkeyes opened the season with a 37-7 win over Eastern Illinois. Both Tennessee Tech and Eastern Illinois play in the Ohio Valley Conference, and the Golden Eagles beat Eastern Illinois 34-20 last season.
“That game was so long ago for them so it is hard to watch that tape and get a lot out of it,” said Brown, who is 18-27 in his first four years as Tennessee Tech head coach.
The Iowa-Tennessee Tech contest will begin at 11:01 a.m. Saturday at Kinnick Stadium and can be seen on the Big Ten Network nationwide. The Hawkeyes are a 40-point favorite and have won 10 straight season openers under head coach Kirk Ferentz, who is 89-60 in his first 12 seasons in Iowa City. A sold-out crowd of 70,585 is expected.