The Hawkeyes are coming off a lopsided win and a bye week in advance of the trip to Evanston. Northwestern picked up a Big Ten road win last week at Maryland. Iowa is looking for their first in the often-friendly confines north of the Friendly Confines. If you’re a Hawkeyes fan making the trip, you’ll likely be among friends. (Semi-pro tip: Don’t buy tickets in advance.) But will you leave happy?

Let’s see what the experts think.

Featured predictions
Steve Batterson: Iowa 35, Northwestern 31
With the ball in the hands of Akrum Wadley and Justin Jackson, there is the possibility for some points to be scored Saturday at Northwestern. Iowa’s defense, while struggling at times against the run, has done a decent job of keeping opponents out of the end zone. The guess here is that ultimately makes a difference down the stretch of what could be an entertaining match-up once two slow-starting offenses get going.

Hawkeye Headquarters
Adam Rossow: Northwestern 23, Iowa 21 
Dan Vasko: Iowa 21, Northwestern 13

And here’s a Hawkeye Headquarters bonus from bye week:

National predictions
Bill Connelly: Iowa 27, Northwestern 24 

Athlon Sports
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mitch Light: Iowa
Bryan Fischer: Northwestern

Dan Murphy: Northwestern 28, Iowa 21 
Mitch Sherman: Iowa 30, Northwestern 21 
Tom VanHaaren: Iowa 27, Northwestern 21 

Hawkeye State predictions
Land of 10
Scott Dochterman: Iowa 24, Northwestern 23
Bobby La Gesse: Iowa 27, Northwestern 24 

The Gazette
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 27, Northwestern 24

Hawk Central
Chad Leistikow: Northwestern 28, Iowa 21 

Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Iowa 30, Northwestern 17 

Hawkeye Nation
Rob Howe: Iowa 
Jon Miller: Iowa 
Sean Neugent: Iowa 34, Northwestern 24
David Schwartz: Iowa
Mitch Smith: Iowa 

Hawkeye Report
Mike Zierath: Iowa 34, Northwestern 24 
Tom Kakert: Iowa 24, Northwestern 21 
Blair Sanderson: Iowa 24, Northwestern 21 
Torbee: Iowa 31, Northwestern 20 
RDietz: Iowa 24, Northwestern 23
Lyle Hammes: Iowa 24, Northwestern 21  
Matt Randazzo: Iowa 24, Northwestern 21 

Max Brekke: Iowa 20, Northwestern 13
BoilerHawk: Northwestern 20, Iowa 15  
JP Scott: Iowa 20, Northwestern 17 
JPinIC: Iowa 34, Northwestern 24 
Hello Jerry: Iowa 27, Northwestern 17 
Matt Cabel: Iowa 31, Northwestern 21 
Benjamin Ross: Iowa 
Jordan Hansen: Northwestern 
Rob Donaldson: Iowa 27, Northwestern 24

#IowaSim17 simulation
Cody Hills: Iowa 31, Northwestern 24 (on a last-second touchdown

Irrelevant prediction
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 34, Northwestern 7. Iowa grinds out a win by running the ball, stopping the run amazingly well (-38 yards rushing for the Wildcats) and forcing turnovers. Seems like a solid, traditional gameplan. 

Prognosis: Many of the scores above have close games in the 20s, but recent winners have actually been averaging 40 in this series. Evanston isn’t quite the trap that it once seemed to be — a friend refused to visit even while living in Chicago in the 2000s — but Kirk Ferentz is still only 8-8 against the Wildcats in his tenure. The Hawkeyes are 5-5 in their last 10 games in the series and 2-3 in their last five at Ryan Field. After going a perfect 21-0 against Northwestern from 1974-1994, Iowa has been 9-11 since. It’s no cause for alarm — the B1GCats have been better with and under Pat Fitzgerald — but this trip is no vacation. The experts above seem to cautiously agree. Expect a close battle ultimately won by the Hawkeyes. Kind of like the fairly painless predictions of the last Big Ten road game… at Michigan State. Oh. 

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