It’s only been two weeks since the Hawkeyes last played football, but the Cy-Hawk aftermath has overshadowed Iowa’s week off and next matchup, which also could be overlooked with a date at Michigan after that.
The Hawks have never played Middle Tennessee State — or Middle Tennessee, as the football team prefers to be called — but either way the Blue Raiders are not expected to be trouble for the No. 14 team in college football.
So the focus of fans has been been behind and ahead.
Here’s how the Hawkeyes spent the bye week. Me? Took a couple of days off, donated to a charity event or two, watched the Cubs collapse, learned about @electrolemon’s September 21 love, and read a lot of tweets: deleted tweets, apologetic tweets and tweets about tweets.
The one tweet I’m waiting on: Have Chad and Mark entered the transfer portal yet?
Speaking of roster changes, the Hawkeye Headquarters family has fractured as WOI is off to a new owner in the Nexstar-Tribune deal. We need to give a shoutout to Jon Schaeffer and the CyHawk Gameday crew. Here’s to you.
That picture was in case a possible soft drink sponsorship came through in time for our Cy-Hawk coverage, but that money might have gone to Jennifer Lopez and Shakira for the Super Bowl halftime show instead. It works as a final tribute here… and confirmation that the pregame beverage in my off-brand can cooler was non-alcoholic.
One thing we do have sponsored is this column you’re reading, and we could not be more pleased to have our predictions on Hawkeye Headquarters brought to you by Draft Day Sports Lounge inside Rhythm City Casino, “where you can grab a bite and make live bets!”
So get your gold out for the goldout and let’s get to the picks.
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in receptions is back for a third season of picks.
Kevonte Martin-Manley: Iowa 40, Middle Tennessee 14
Steve Batterson: Iowa 40, Middle Tennessee 24. Blue Raiders QB Asher O’Hara has the arm and feet to keep things interesting for a while, but Iowa’s offense has too many pieces for Middle Tennessee to earn its first win in seven tries against a Big Ten team. The balance the Hawkeyes are developing between the pass and run and the number of players capable of contributing to that balance will decide this one. Iowa pulls away in the second half to head to Ann Arbor at 4-0.
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mitch Light: Iowa
Mark Ross: Iowa
Iowa 30, Middle Tennessee 28
Kerry Miller: Iowa 42, Middle Tennessee 10
Ralph D. Russo: Iowa 42, Middle Tennessee 14
Hawkeye State predictions
Scott Dochterman: Iowa 44, Middle Tennessee 13
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 35, Middle Tennessee 21
John Bohnenkamp: Iowa 30, Middle Tennessee 10
Brendan Stiles: Iowa 38, Middle Tennessee 10
John Patchett: Iowa 46, Middle Tennessee 10
Tyler Tjelmeland: Iowa 42, Middle Tennessee 3
Jack Brandsgard: Iowa 45, Middle Tennessee 10
Chad Leistikow: Iowa 45, Middle Tennessee 10
Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Iowa 48, Middle Tennessee 10
Black Heart Gold Pants
JPinIC: Iowa 41, Middle Tennessee 13
Jerry Scherwin: Iowa 45, Middle Tennessee 10
DC: Iowa 40, Middle Tennessee 14
Matt Cabel: Iowa 34, Middle Tennessee 14
BoilerHawk: Iowa 38, Middle Tennessee 9
Benjamin Ross: Iowa 41, Middle Tennessee 3
Doug Saye: Iowa 31, Middle Tennessee 13
Matt Reisener: Iowa 42, Middle Tennessee 14
Cody Hills: Iowa 45, Middle Tennessee 13
And finally, the totally irrelevant prediction based on playing EA Sports’ NCAA Football 2004 on a PS2, as is the tradition since 2015.
Ryan Jaster: Hawkeyes 49, Middle Tennessee 7. The Blue Raiders come out throwing with success on their opening drive, but once they crossed midfield, they switched to the run and stalled, going for it on 4th and 8 from the Iowa 37. The result is an interception. Five plays later, Iowa’s running back punches it in five plays later after being set up by a 33-yard pass. Middle Tennessee sticks to the air on its next drive and it pays off with a 44-yard touchdown pass and eventually the quarter ends in a stalemate. Iowa starts the second quarter with another drive punctuated by a 4-yard TD run set up by a big pass play, this time for 31 yards. A second interception gives Iowa the ball in great field position, but they can’t capitalize, missing a field goal as time expires. Big pass plays are the difference in the second half, none bigger than an 88-yard touchdown after the Blue Raiders pinned the Hawkeyes deep in their own territory with a punt. Other highlights include a 32-yard TD pass, a punt return to the 12 setting up an 8-yard TD run, a 66-yard pass TD despite four defenders converging for the tackle and an 80-yard TD pass. Middle Tennessee converted no 3rd downs and Iowa racked up 436 yards passing — 307 yards by one receiver.
Prognosis: No pain is predicted this week, just blowouts. So I’d like to use this space to issue a different kind of prescription. One of the best pieces of advice I read in the wake of all the bye-week drama is to diversify the people you associate with and the authors you read. I’ll add the media you consume to that as well. Obviously, we have fun and link to a variety of prognosticators here — displaying the diversity of football opinions is the whole point — from national to local and from fans to professional reporters. But allow me on a serious note to direct you to the perspective of my good friend and Hawkeyes fan C. Brandon Guidry: “We need Iowans and Americans to engage across race in an informed and thoughtful way – to become more racially literate – by reading black authors, by entering black spaces, and by naming racism when we see it. It sounded to me like that is what Gary Dolphin and Carson King were trying to do. Shouldn’t the rest of us do the same?” Read his entire post here.
Predictions on Hawkeye Headquarters are brought to you by Draft Day Sports Lounge inside Rhythm City Casino, “where you can grab a bite and make live bets!”
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Ryan Jaster writes a weekly predictions column during football season for HawkeyeHQ.com and previously wrote and edited for CBS Sports, the Quad-City Times, ChicagoSports.com and the Chicago Tribune. You can follow his Hawkeye musings at @Hawkologist.