Hawkeye HQ predictions and pregame: Will one of these scores end up on Kinnick’s walls?

Hawkeye Headquarters

From my PS2 to Kinnick Stadium’s walls: Iowa’s 24-3 win in the 2017 opener over Wyoming is the one “totally irrelevant prediction” that was perfect. (Ryan Jaster, HawkeyeHQ.com)

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back. It feels like so much has happened since we last prognosticated together.

Did I miss anything?

Probably. But I’ll give you a minute to click all of those links and catch up before we get to the predictions. Meanwhile, I’ll wax nostalgic…

My fondest memory of the storied 4-0 history of Iowa vs. Miami of Ohio is driving from Cincinnati to Cleveland listening to the 2003 game while on a 7-game MLB stadium tour with my dad. I was working at CBS Sports in Fort Lauderdale at the time and Iowa was coming off a trip to my neighborhood for the Orange Bowl. Fred Russell ran for 161 yards and Ben Roethlisberger was intercepted four times by the Hawkeyes in their season opener.

Sounds dominating, doesn’t it? Iowa won 21-3.

And therein lies the challenge of predicting Hawkeye football, which is why I do it on a PS2 with a 16-year-old game.

Welcome to the fifth year of my “totally irrelevant predictions,” established 2015. (What a time that was!) The first two seasons were on Twitter alone, but then in 2017 I decided to expand it into a column.

And this happened the very first game:

And then this even unlikelier scenario happened last season:

So sometimes the prediction isn’t so “totally irrelevant” — just look at today’s compared to the experts — but we bring you professional picks as well to balance out the absurdity. Local, regional and national — although I regret to inform you that Iowa vs. Miami did not make SI’s “Week 1’s 12 most intriguing games.” But we know what the most interesting game to most of you is, so let’s get to it.

Celebrity prediction
The Hawkeyes’ all-time leader in receptions returns for a third season of picks.
Kevonte Martin-Manley: Iowa 30, Miami (Ohio) 3

Featured predictions
Hawkmania
Steve Batterson: Iowa 35, Miami (Ohio) 7
As nice as it is for Manny Rugamba and Cedric Boswell to have a Hawkeye homecoming and as good as Oliver Martin might look in an Iowa football uniform, the biggest objective this week for the Iowa football team is getting its ground game going. Expect the Hawkeyes to gain a little traction in that area this week.

Hawkeye Headquarters
Adam Rossow: Iowa 35, Miami (Ohio) 10
Dan Vasko: Iowa 31, Miami (Ohio) 13

National predictions

Athlon Sports
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mitch Light: Iowa
Mark Ross: Iowa

CBS Sports
Dennis Dodd: Iowa
Jerry Palm: Iowa
Tom Fornelli: Iowa
Chip Patterson: Iowa
Barton Simmons: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Iowa
Ben Kercheval: Iowa

Fox Sports
Iowa 31, Miami (Ohio) 27

Bleacher Report
Kerry Miller: Iowa 45, Miami (Ohio) 12

Associated Press
Ralph D. Russo: Iowa 42, Miami (Ohio) 14


Hawkeye State predictions
The Athletic

Scott Dochterman: Iowa 41, Miami (Ohio) 6

The Gazette
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 34, Miami (Ohio) 7

Hawkeyes Mic
John Bohnenkamp: Iowa 28, Miami (Ohio) 6
Brendan Stiles: Iowa 35, Miami (Ohio) 10
John Patchett: Iowa 38, Miami (Ohio) 10
Tyler Tjelmeland: Iowa 45, Miami (Ohio) 14
Jack Brandsgard: Iowa 38, Miami (Ohio) 10

Hawk Central
Chad Leistikow: Iowa 31, Miami (Ohio) 16

Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Iowa 30, Miami 12

Black Heart Gold Pants
JPinIC: Iowa 34, Miami (Ohio) 9
Jordan Hansen: Iowa 35, Miami (Ohio) 10
Jerry: Iowa 52, Miami (Ohio) 9
DC: Iowa 38, Miami (Ohio) 12
Matt Cabel: Iowa 34, Miami (Ohio) 10
BoilerHawk: Iowa 31, Miami (Ohio) 3
Benjamin Ross: Iowa 31, Miami (Ohio) 17
Doug Saye: Iowa 41, Miami (Ohio) 6
Trez: Iowa 42, Miami (Ohio) 9
Matt Reisener: Iowa 42, Miami (Ohio) 10

#IowaSim19 simulation
Cody Hills: Iowa 31, Miami (Ohio) 6

Irrelevant prediction
@Hawkologist
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 30, Miami (Ohio) 10. All this waiting for football season to start and Iowa opens with a delay of game. But it doesn’t take long for the run game to get loose. The Hawkeyes almost stall at the 50, but the choice to go for it on 4th and 1 pays off 6 plays later, as Iowa finds a tight end in the end zone for a 4-yard TD. Unfortunately, the quarterback suffers a chest injury and is knocked out for the rest of the half. Miami moves it down the field with precision passing — it is Ben Roethlisberger in the game after all, playing the same game I referenced above as this is a “2004” game that was released in fall 2003 — until throwing an interception at the 12 one play after he was roughed up on a blitz. Iowa’s offense is defined by big runs and very little passing for the rest of the half. The defense holds until a long pass with 6 seconds left reaches the 1-inch mark. Miami tries a quick lunge, fails and kicks the field goal for a 7-3 halftime score. The balanced attack of pass and run returns with the return of Iowa’s starting QB and a 2-yard TD run caps a 77-yard drive to make it 14-3. Miami tries to make it interesting in the fourth with a TD and a threat among 3 Iowa field goals, but a 96-yard interception return for a TD as time expires leaves little doubt to who dominated.

Prognosis: As referenced above with the 21-3 and 24-3 scores, Iowa openers don’t turn into the blowouts that others do, so it gives me pause to see so many 30s to 10s scores (as if that’s even a rout by college football standards). Kirk Ferentz doesn’t run up the score — even the aforementioned 63-0 Illinois win didn’t feel that way — so the picks might be ambitious. One thing that is not in question among the experts above — an Iowa win. It’s all Hawkeyes. No pain predicted.

Opening week Hawkeye Headquarters coverage is presented by The Robinson Group brokered by eXp Realty.

For more Hawkeye coverage, follow @AdamJRossow and @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook — and sign up for our HawkeyeHQ.com pregame and postgame newsletter. All you need is an email address and we’ll send you a newsletter every Friday and Monday during football season.

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.

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