Each week during the season the Hawkeye Headquarters staff will predict the outcome of the Iowa football game.
Blake Hornstein (2-1): I don’t care that Spencer Petras completed 14 of his 26 pass attempts in his best performance to date. Brian Ferentz and company showed a trust and willingness to take shots down the field.
Speaking of trust, how about a Nico Ragaini (Ray-guh-ee-Knee, as we now know) homecoming revenge game? The Connecticut native grew up just 2.5 hours from Rutgers, but the intriguing part of Ragaini’s return is the effect it may have on other elements of the offense.
Kirk Ferentz introduced the idea that a healthy Ragaini could open up more opportunities for Arland Bruce IV and Sam LaPorta, who has had a quiet season thus far. Pair that with Kaleb Johnson’s breakout performance against Nevada, and… it’s something?
Rutgers will be a far greater challenge than Nevada — Iowa’s unlikely to put 27 on the board again anytime soon. But I buy the notion that the energy is shifting on the offensive side of the ball. And if they can’t convert 3rd downs, they have the best punter in college football to set up the 4th best defense in all of college football.
This one will be somewhere between Iowa State and Nevada. Meet me in the middle, Hawks fans?
Prediction: Iowa 17, Rutgers 10.
Ryan Jaster (2-1): A year ago, I was convinced that Iowa’s trip east was a trap. This time, I’m not so certain. That game at Maryland ended up being a 51-14 stunner. A rare “comfortable” win. This one’s biggest surprise seems to lie in its 33.5 total. There’s not a lot of room for comfort there.
The reward for that road performance last year was a 5-0 start and No. 3 ranking with a No. 4 Penn State coming to Kinnick. No. 4 awaits again in the form of last year’s Big Ten Football Championship Game foe: Michigan. Yet, the stakes are lower this year.
But as the 2002 team that’s being honored at next week’s home game showed, all that Iowa State loss costs you is the Cy-Hawk Trophy and a national championship. One should be expected every year and the other just shouldn’t – if you value your sanity. Sometimes it’s clear I don’t.
That brings us to the totally irrelevant prediction, which thanks to the Sickos Committee reached a whole new audience this week after seven-plus years of nationwide irrelevancy. The TIP foretold a 19-17 Iowa win, and as many noted on Twitter, that’s the over. Its new fans should know that it’s a simulation played on a PS2’s NCAA Football 2004. Hence, the irrelevancy.
Therefore, I feel obligated to post the boilerplate disclaimer we used to see more often before sports gambling was legalized in so many states: The totally irrelevant prediction is for entertainment purposes only and should not be used as a basis for any actual cash wager.
That said, if you experience discomfort before, during or after this game, it should come as no surprise. After all, it’s Iowa-Rutgers and the Hawkologist’s prognosis is a 3 on the 6-point pain index.
Here’s a look at what others from near and far expect, starting with the weather from Local 4’s Tyler Ryan:
Steve Batterson: Iowa 20, Rutgers 10. Under the lights, there will likely more energy in the stadium than there was in a sedate setting the last time the Hawkeyes visited Piscataway.
Iowa won that 2016 game 14-7 and expect a similar type of game Saturday with defense and special teams dictating the outcome.
The Hawkeyes’ ability to deliver improved cohesion among the front five on the offensive line and take another step forward in the passing game against a strong Scarlet Knights’ run defense will settle the score this week.
Bill Connelly: Iowa 25, Rutgers 15
Kerry Miller: Iowa 20, Rutgers 13
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Mark Ross: Iowa
Ben Weinrib: Iowa
Cody Hills: Iowa 20, Rutgers 3