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Way-too-early 2015 Big Ten football power rankings

7. Iowa Hawkeyes

usa-today-8108712.0Iowa’s 2014 season ended in the most Kirk Ferentz way possible — looking disinterested and ho-hum before getting drubbed by a more athletic and physical opponent. However we’re supposed to be looking ahead, and the Hawkeyes need to move on from a disappointing 2014.

To that end, Kirk Ferentz released his first 2015 depth chart on Thursday afternoon and that included naming C.J. Beathard the starting quarterback of Jake Rudock. There were also glimpses of where the defense, who got crushed against just about every big team it faced this past season, is heading this upcoming season.

Hint: It isn’t overly pretty on that side of the football.

Sure, Drew Ott is back, but replacing three starters on the defensive line will be a challenge. It’s a challenge that’s further complicated by the fact that the guys on the initial two-deep roster happen to have three letters won among six players. It means a very green group that will be key to Iowa’s ability to make a step in a positive direction on defense.

However, this is still a team that managed to pull off a 7-5 record despite all the trouble it had. So, while it may look a bit dire in some spots heading in to 2015, this team still has talent in the spots that can make it in to a winning program.

The question is, will being just a “winning” program be enough anymore in Iowa City?

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Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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