An 0-2 start in the Big Ten has some Hawkeyes fans on edge. After the Penn State loss in the final second, I saw fans talking rematch: “See you in Indy at the Big Ten Championship Game.” After Iowa failed its first Big Ten road test at Michigan State, the sky was falling. So you can imagine what might happen if the Hawkeyes come home for homecoming and fall short against Illinois in the trophyless border rivalry. But rest easy: The Illini aren’t a popular pick.

Featured predictions
Steve Batterson: Iowa 34, Illinois 7
Don’t expect this year’s border battle to be much of a battle. An Iowa team looking to move beyond the frustration of an 0-2 start to the Big Ten season and a young Illinois team making a change at quarterback in its first Big Ten road test is a combination that doesn’t fit. The Hawkeyes should be able to control this one in the trenches, particularly on defense where the Illini will attempt to protect Jeff George Jr. with an offensive front including three freshman starters. Iowa should be able to get things going on the ground against one of the most porous run defenses in the Big Ten.

Hawkeye Headquarters
Adam Rossow: Iowa 27, Illinois 10
Dan Vasko: Iowa 27, Illinois 6

National predictions
Bill Connelly: Iowa 32, Illinois 17 

Athlon Sports
Mitch Light: Iowa 31, Illinois 10

Dan Murphy: Iowa 
Mitch Sherman: Iowa 
Tom VanHaaren: Iowa 

Hawkeye State predictions
Land of 10
Scott Dochterman: Iowa 24, Illinois 6 
Bobby La Gesse: Iowa 34, Illinois 10 

The Gazette
Marc Morehouse: Iowa 34, Illinois 14

Hawk Central
Chad Leistikow: Iowa 31, Illinois 10 

Go Iowa Awesome
Mark Hasty: Iowa 31, Illinois 20. 

Pat Harty: Iowa 38, Illinois 17

Hawkeye Nation
Rob Howe: Iowa 27, Illinois 17 
Jon Miller: Iowa 
Sean Neugent: Iowa 31, Illinois 3
David Schwartz: Iowa
Mitch Smith: Iowa 

Hawkeye Report
Mike Zierath: Iowa 31, Illinois 14  
Tom Kakert: Iowa 38, Illinois 13
Blair Sanderson: Iowa 38, Illinois 16 
RDietz: Iowa 31, Illinois 10
Lyle Hammes: Iowa 31, Illinois 13 
John Kerth: Iowa 31, Illinois 14  
Matt Randazzo: Iowa 31, Illinois 10 

Max Brekke: Iowa 22, Illinois 11
BoilerHawk: Iowa 24, Illinois 7 
JP Scott: Iowa 28, Illinois 13 
JPinIC: Iowa 28, Illinois 10 
Hello Jerry: Iowa 30, Illinois 13 
Matt Cabel: Iowa 21, Illinois 17 
Benjamin Ross: Iowa  
Jordan Hansen: Iowa
Rob Donaldson: Iowa 

#IowaSim17 simulation
Cody Hills: Iowa 20, Illinois 10

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 23, Illinois 17. Iowa ate up clock and yards grinding through the middle of the field. A missed field goal was all that kept this game from being put away for good earlier. It honestly reminded me of the last time these two teams met in Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes dominated everything but the scoreboard in a 29-20 win in 2015.

Prognosis: A lot of people are picking big wins for Iowa. The spread is 18, but when have the Hawkeyes ever had it that easy? Weather could be a factor… and once upon a time it was the great equalizer. Will it be Saturday? The forecast says no. Not one pick went to the Illini… and no one even has it within a field goal. Jeff George beat the Hawkeyes in Kinnick 31-7 in 1989, but no one is giving his son a chance to do the same. Prediction: No pain.

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