“We want ‘Bama.” It’s a cry used in various ways across college football. Seriously. Jokingly. Ironically.
To be the best you have to beat the best. Since Alabama doesn’t even have to win its own division to get the pundits and tastemakers of BCS and CFP fawning over them, ‘Bama represents “the best” of college football even when it doesn’t belong.
“We want ‘Bama.”
I bet some Hawkeyes fans said it in 2015. (I did a totally thorough background check of my tweets and didn’t see it.) But that one-stop-away 16-13 loss in the Big Ten Football Conference Championship gave Michigan State the opportunity.
And the Spartans lost 38-0.
Would that have been Iowa’s fate in the Cotton Bowl? Maybe. Still, who wouldn’t want Alabama for a home-and-home?
Because apparently, the Huskers want Indiana.
The Crimson Quarry of SB Nation reported earlier this year they complained about their schedule.
Nebraska head coach Scott Frost said “his team needs more games against historically weaker programs, citing Indiana specifically by name,” according to the report.
Well, that sounds like bulletin board material to me and the Hoosiers promptly beat the anointed ones 38-31 in October.
I suppose Frost and the Huskers don’t like playing Ohio State as a cross-division matchup every year while teams like Iowa had to play… Penn State?
Maybe they really don’t want Iowa on Black Friday either. The Hawkeyes are on a 4-game Heroes Trophy win streak and are expected to extend it against the preseason B1G West “favorites.”
Nebraska thought they’d come into the Big Ten and roll, but it just hasn’t worked out that way since they joined the league in 2011. Then they thought Frost would come into the Big Ten and roll in his second year. (Hey, at least the Huskers can hang their hat on the fact they’ve been to the B1GFCG one more time than Michigan.)
So they’d like the Big Ten to take it easier on them. Perhaps until the preseason 24th team in the country is ready to play at a higher level.
So Wisconsin will play Iowa in a Saturday finale and Minnesota will play Nebraska on your favorite store’s favorite day the next two years. Good luck with that being any easier. (Originally, it was announced that Nebraska and Iowa would swap final opponents in those two years.)
The Hawkeyes are 5-3 in Nebraska’s Big Ten era (unlike BTN we don’t move the prehistory into part of the Big Ten “journey”).
But Huskers fans still want to move the goal posts.
And when they move the goal posts, they always move them back into the 1990s. Without fail.
Ironically, those stats don’t look like the end zone spike they were intended to be — and encompass the entirety of Kirk Ferentz’ time at the top in Iowa City.
And so many of those stats were against — dare I say? — inferior Big XII competition.
Big Ten Nebraska isn’t even that Nebraska, let alone national title Nebraska.
So fine, boot Iowa off Black Friday and bring on ‘Bama. Kinnick after dark isn’t friendly to any opponent.
Let’s see what the experts say about this game as we ride off into the (San Diego?) sunset.
Once again, we are thrilled 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!”
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in receptions is back for a third season of picks.
Kevonte Martin-Manley: Iowa 33, Nebraska 10
Steve Batterson: Iowa 33, Nebraska 20. With a bowl game on the line, Nebraska has no shortage of motivation on Friday but Iowa has a defense. The Hawkeyes’ ability up front on the defensive side of the ball has the potential to be a difference maker in this one. If Nate Stanley and the Iowa offense can keep turnovers to a minimum, something Iowa has been good at this season, the Hawkeyes will have a chance to haul the Heroes Trophy back to Iowa City.
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mitch Light: Iowa
Mark Ross: Iowa
Dennis Dodd: Nebraska
Jerry Palm: Iowa
Tom Fornelli: Iowa
Chip Patterson: Iowa
Barton Simmons: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Iowa
Ben Kercheval: Iowa
Iowa 32, Nebraska 28
David Kenyon: Iowa 27, Nebraska 22
Ralph D. Russo: Iowa 28, Nebraska 20
Bill Bender: Iowa 24, Nebraska 20
Bill Connelly: Iowa 30, Nebraska 21
Hawkeye State predictions
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 23, Nebraska 13
Chad Leistikow: Iowa 30, Nebraska 21
Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Nebraska 17, Iowa 10
Rob Howe: Iowa 27, Nebraska 21
Black Heart Gold Pants
JPinIC: Iowa 27, Nebraska 20
Jerry Scherwin: Iowa 25, Nebraska 10
Tnels20: Nebraska 23, Iowa 18
Matt Cabel: Iowa 24, Nebraska 19
BoilerHawk: Iowa 15, Nebraska 14
Benjamin Ross: Iowa 20, Nebraska 13
Doug Saye: Iowa 30, Nebraska 14
Matt Reisener: Iowa 24, Nebraska 17
DC: Iowa 31, Nebraska 10
Adam Hensley: Iowa 20, Nebraska 16
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 28, Nebraska 20. No weather was simulated, but this game was still sloppy. Hawkeyes surprise and throw a 33-yard pass to midfield on the first play — but it’s fumbled, the first of 4 Iowa turnovers. The Huskers build a 14-7 halftime lead, but 3 fumbles of their own and big Iowa pass plays in the second half turn the game around. The game essentially ends on a fumble recovery by Iowa that was picked up instead of jumped on, then fumbled again and returned 76 yards for a touchdown. Missed extra point and failed onside kick and we’re done here.
Prognosis: Weather could be the great equalizer, and we don’t have as many picks above as national interest drops off and holiday schedules get in the way, but just about everyone is picking Iowa again. And for good reason. The Hawkeyes might not be Big Ten West champions, but they are better than the team picked to be Big Ten West champions in the preseason, and I said as much the day it was announced. The Heroes Trophy is staying put. No pain is predicted. Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and … Happy Holiday Bowl?
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, born and raised in Rock Island, 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.