Each week during the season the Hawkeye Headquarters staff predicted the outcome of the Iowa football game. Here are our final picks of the year.

HawkeyeHQ.com
Blake Hornstein (10-2): 10 years from now you’ll remember exactly where you were sitting when the memory of Joe Labas vs Destin Wade comes to mind. A legendary QB matchup, and one that’s sure to make history — one way or another.

The over/under is holding firm at 31, the lowest number for all bowl games by a full touchdown.

Spencer Petras can’t throw (guys, he’s injured) and Will Levis is on to the NFL draft.

What better way to end the pre-McNamara era with yet another hideous final score? We’ve seen 7-3, 9-6, 10-7 and 13-10. My prediction is going to make all those finishes look like barn burners: Iowa 3, Kentucky 0.

Ryan Jaster (7-5): A famous man once said, “We create our own demons.”

Who said that? What does that even mean? Doesn’t matter. I said it because Robert Downey Jr. said it as Tony Stark in the Christmas classic, “Iron Man 3.”

So he was famous, the guy who originally said it was famous and I’m… verified on Twitter. For now.

Wait — I’m gonna start over. Let’s track this from the beginning: 1999. Kirk Ferentz’ first season at Iowa. It was a different time – with surprisingly similar music to 2022. (Think about that. Iowa’s coach has been here so long a song popular in his first year has been remade.)

He was 44 in that first season with Iowa. A 16-year-old son named Brian was probably more concerned with successful driving than successful drives.

Within a few years, Iowa was in the Orange Bowl, something unheard of at the time but then duplicated after the 2009 season. An elusive Rose Bowl finally returned to the schedule after the 2015 season and within a few minutes, everyone had seen enough. Two trips to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Football Championship – one agonizingly close and the other aggravatingly not. And so it goes. The ups and downs of the roller coaster that is Hawkeyes football. Some highs: Five top 10 finishes. Defensive dominance. 6-4 wins. Some lows: 2006. 2012. 2014. Offensive offense. 9-6 losses.

The good outweighs the bad but never reaches the highest of highs, while the lowest of lows seem entirely avoidable. This season was no different – ups, downs, near misses and close calls – but people keep expecting next year to be.

The truth is…  you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain

Is Kirk Ferentz there yet? Some say yes, some say no. But a new hero has definitely arrived: Cade McNamara.

Many speculated the former Wolverine would never come without a guarantee of a coaching change (or rearrange), yet there was Brian — now Iowa’s 39-year-old offensive coordinator — casting a shadow at the new quarterback’s heavily hyped first public appearance in Iowa City like a cartoon devil on his left shoulder.

Remember: We create our own demons. And Iowa is elite at it. Transfer portal, ongoing lawsuits, NIL, Scott Van Pelt appearances… even this week the Hawkeyes sent mixed messages about Iowa Swarm on consecutive days.

As a result, what we’ll see on the field in Nashville is… unclear. Neither team will have its starting quarterback. Iowa will be showcasing third-string Joey Labas after seeing no upside in playing second-string Alex Padilla for most of the season. Per usual in 2022, it’s likely up to Jack Campbell and the defense.

There’s no reason to pretend any crystal ball or simulation can account for the chaos that is this year’s Music City Bowl. Which is why the totally irrelevant prediction is perfect. TransPerfect, even. It’s like it was made for this.

And the TIP says the Hawkeyes will win 14-9 with a strong run game that gets the Hawks up by two touchdowns at the break. That lets Kirk put the game on cruise control and in the defense’s hands in the second half. They bend, but don’t break and time runs out on any Kentucky comeback — just like they drew it up for two-plus decades. The Hawkologist’s prognosis is a solid 6 on the 6-point pain index. If not physically, perhaps visually. But we’ll watch. Because at best, it’s a Sickos Committee delight. At worst, it will be something unholy. Sorry, wrong Petras.

Here’s a look at what others from near and far expect, starting with the weather from Local 4’s Tyler Ryan:

Quad-City Times
Steve Batterson: Iowa 13, Kentucky 7. In a match-up that will feature newcomers under center for both teams, the consistency of a stingy Iowa defense and the legs of Drew Stevens and Tory Taylor will allow the Hawkeyes to end 2022 with something they couldn’t get done on the first day of the year — a win over the Wildcats.

CBS Sports
Dennis Dodd:
Iowa
Tom Fornelli:
Kentucky
Chip Patterson:
Iowa
Barrett Sallee:
Iowa
Shehan Jeyarajah:
Kentucky
David Cobb:
Iowa
Jerry Palm
: Kentucky

ESPN
Bill Connelly: 
Kentucky 13.2, Iowa 12.8 (!)

Athlon Sports
Steven Lassan: Kentucky
Mark Ross: Kentucky
Ben Weinrib: Kentucky
Eric Sorenson: Kentucky 11, Iowa 9

Bleacher Report
Morgan Moriarty: Iowa 13, Kentucky 10

#IowaSim22
Cody Hills: 
The final Iowa Sim — ever — is live from Nashville at 6 p.m. Friday.

For more Hawkeyes coverage, follow @HawkeyeHQ on Twitter and Facebook.

Sam LaPorta #84 of the Iowa Hawkeyes scores a touchdown against the Kentucky Wildcats in the Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium on January 01, 2022 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)