The Iowa Hawkeyes are in a strange place. They enter the weekend with a full lead in the Big Ten West at 7-2 overall with a No. 22 ranking in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. And yet, there is very little optimism for this team given the lackluster offense we have seen for years.
The people of Vegas match the fans’ sentiment perfectly. Our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook opened this one with Iowa favored by just 1.5 points despite playing at home. This figure fell to just 1 point on Friday morning. Likewise, the over/under opened at an all-time low of 29 total points, but dropped to an absurd 28 points throughout the week.
At The Pants we’re just as pessimistic and, as usual, we’re betting on the downside. Always.
On average, we’re asking Rutgers to defeat the Hawkeyes 12 to 11. That’s quite a contrast to the preseason where not a single staff member predicted Iowa would lose this one (that’s not No big deal for us though, not a single fan surveyed in our pre-season poll chose it either). At 12-11, we’re FIRMLY under (duh) and taking Rutgers on the moneyline because we don’t need stinking points.
Ugh, this is such a sad situation and completely different from men’s and women’s hoops.
Here’s a look at our individual predictions for this week.
I keep thinking that at some point the offense is going to accidentally do something better. There was a great stretch in the middle of the season where we saw a real live racing game that really gave me hope that they could be something down the stretch. When they bent their backs and just ran the ball down Wisconsin’s throat, I thought they would be able to just do that all the way and that would allow Deacon Hill to have just enough success .
I was wrong. But the defense continues to improve each week, even if it doesn’t create turnovers at the rate we’re accustomed to. I think the tide turns this week and Phil’s group gets the offense going again with several short fields off turnovers while keeping the Scarlet Knights out of the end zone.
Prediction: Iowa 13, Rutgers 9
Where to start when talking about this legendary match? In fact, the only memory I have is of former Rutgers punter Adam Korsak getting a lot of love from the Kinnick crowd. Nowhere else in America do fans wildly cheer for punters. This game could break a record for distance traveled. I don’t know anything about Rutgers. I know our defense and special teams are tough. I also know that our attack will not bring many (any) points. Iowa football is sometimes painful to watch, but I say we all try to embrace our imperfectly perfect team. Go hawks!
Prediction: Iowa 13 – Rutgers 6
Two good defenses, two bad attacks, deja vu. Rutgers’ offense is bad, but not as bad as ours and they ran the ball for over 200 yards against a very good OSU defense last week. Phil Parker and his team are doing everything they can to keep this team afloat, but I’m not sure they have enough gas in the tank to make it to Indy at the rate they’re going.
Gavin Wimsatt is the wild card here, if Iowa’s front 7 can contain Kyle Monangai and put the game on his shoulders they have a good chance to win this game, but this is the best rushing attack they have seen This year. and Wimsatt is the kind of mobile QB who has given Phil’s defenses fits over the years. As much as it pains me, I think my dad’s alma mater pulls this one off in a defensive brawl that puts a lot of Sicko money in the sportsbooks’ pockets. No one will be happier than me if I’m wrong.
Prediction: Iowa 13 – Rutgers 17
Every time this Iowa team wins, I want to root for it. Sure, the offense is as dynamic as an upside-down, on-fire Winnebago, but they’ve had some success when the defense and special teams have given them opportunities. If the defense plays its A game, there aren’t many offenses that would worry me. In the meantime, it’s a little sad how encouraged I can be by a 23-yard completion to Kaleb Brown with less than two minutes left in a game. It’s possible guys, a downfield passing play IS possible!
Rutgers’ offense isn’t particularly scary but the defense will need to play well against Monangai and Wimsatt. Rutgers’ rushing attack and mobile quarterback passed for over 200 yards against Ohio State, so the threat is real. For some reason this one seems like a waste to me. Iowa hasn’t posted the turnovers that have sustained it in previous years, but has largely come through so far. I fear it will catch up with them on Saturday.
Prediction: Rutgers 13, Iowa 9
It’s hard to justify a pick against Iowa in a home game against an opponent without a recent history of success in big games (or really any game, for that matter) and with a one-dimensional offense. However, at least Rutgers HAS an offense to speak of thanks to an excellent rushing attack. Expect Phil Parker to come up with a solution to slow down Rutgers’ ground game, but the Scarlet Knights should be able to move the ball enough against Iowa to get on the board, especially if the Hawkeye offense offers to their opponent an excellent position on the ground. Rutgers may not be able to score many points, but with their stout defense and the slow-motion wreck of Iowa’s offense, they may not have to.
Prediction: Rutgers 13, Iowa 10
I don’t feel good about this one. This team barely beat a scrappy but horrible Northwestern team. Turns out not being able to move the ball on offense isn’t great!
Prediction: Rutgers 13, Iowa 6
I pretty much agree with Matt on this. I’m just not feeling it for Iowa this week. Rutgers still isn’t there, and there are some trends working in Iowa’s favor against Big Ten East teams that aren’t the Michigan-Ohio State-Penn State triumvirate. And Rutgers has lost to everyone on its schedule that is in the mid-range or above.
But there’s Iowa’s offense to contend with. There’s nothing else to say about this abomination of an offense other than it will (again) cost Iowa a game it should win, and it will throw the Big Ten West into chaos.
Oh, and I bet the bottom. You already knew that.
Prediction: Rutgers 13, Iowa 10
This is how we see things going this week. And you, Hawkeye fans? Let us know your score predictions in the comments below.
Odds/lines are subject to change. Terms and conditions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for more details.