Each week during the season the Hawkeye Headquarters staff will predict the outcome of the Iowa football game.
Blake Hornstein (6-3): Even the Sickos Committee has to be sick watching Iowa football. I mean, seriously, the only thing halfway funny about Iowa vs. Northwestern was the employees hand-placing zeroes for both teams at halftime.
The Scarlet Knights are a good team and Greg Schiano’s a good coach. They’re more battle-tested than Iowa, and they don’t have to score 40 or 30 or 20 to likely beat them.
This team isn’t good enough to only suffer one bad — or one “Iowa” — loss this season. This is the other. They’ll beat Illinois, they’ll beat Nebraska. But this is not a great place for the Hawkeyes to be.
And yes, bet the under.
Prediction: Rutgers 14, Iowa 10
Ryan Jaster (7-2): Lately Iowa’s been playing close to the edge and not really looking its best.
If they’re getting beat, they can count on D – still controlling the West.
The Hawkeyes are a questionable-at-best replay call away from being 8-1. By most subjective measures – just look at the AP poll with three 3-loss teams ahead of Iowa – the Hawkeyes aren’t considered good. Iowa got six points in the poll, but really only got two votes – one 22nd and one 24th.
But for the only objective measure that really counts — winning — just check the standings. They’d go to the Big Ten Football Championship Game in Indianapolis as West champs if the season ended today, whether you like the Hawks on a neutral field against any Top 25 opponent or not.
The College Football Playoff voters get it: Iowa is No. 22.
Speaking of wild deuces, how fascinating is it that Iowa media and fans as a collective thought about an intentional safety when the Hawks were backed up to the 1 after their four-down goal-line stand?
I don’t think Kirk Ferentz trades the shutout up 7-0, but giving up the two points and making Northwestern drive 80 yards instead of ending up with a punt that was returned to the Hawkeyes’ 40 might have been the right call, hindsight or otherwise.
It’s a thought that’s not as absurd as it sounds. In the legendary 6-4 game, Iowa took the safety with 8:11 left in the game. When the Hawkeyes took possession Saturday inside the 1, there was 6:36 remaining.
I didn’t collect my thoughts quickly enough for an intentional safety tweet — but I thought them. Then this week I had a dream that Iowa sacked the quarterback for a safety and I had no means to post it. What a nightmare. But this column isn’t about totally irrelevant premonitions.
Let’s get to Rutgers already.
In the past 30 years, Rutgers has had only eight winning seasons. Greg Schiano has six of those — this year should be seven.
Good fortune is smiling on the Hawkeyes, too, as all of the closest teams in the standings lost last week and Iowa once again controls its own destiny after winning what was only the seventh-highest-scoring game at Wrigley Field this year.
And yet, it’s as easy to believe the Hawkeyes could lose to Rutgers, Illinois and Nebraska – or all three – as it is to think they’ll run the table.
But Iowa has never lost to Rutgers. In all of the Scarlet Knights’ games since that very first one way back in 1869, they’ve never come away with a win against the Hawkeyes.
That’s more than 1,400 games — but they’ve only played each other three times, all in the past decade — and Iowa has won by an average margin of 18.
Most expect a score more like 2016’s 14-7 than 2019’s 30-0.
The Totally Irrelevant Prediction is no exception. The TIP says the Hawkeyes win 20-14, capitalizing on a Rutgers fumble in the final seconds of the first half one play after a 48-yard field goal doinks off the upright. Given a second chance, Iowa hits a 36-yard field goal and sits on a 10-point lead — well clear of the magic number — the rest of the way.
Still, the Hawkologist’s prognosis is a 4 on the 6-point pain index. They’ll win, but it won’t be easy and you’ll wonder why you put yourself through this every week. It’s a roller coaster. Come along for the ride.
David Eickholt: There’s a reason that this game is the lowest over/under in college football history and I’d still take the under. These two offenses aren’t the most efficient passing the ball, but both are tough, physical and fundamentally sound defenses.
I do think Iowa is playing with an additional chip on their shoulder after the news was made public about Brian Ferentz’s job status in the middle of the season. The Hawkeyes deserve a “30 for 30” because they win in the most unconventional ways and how often they do it frustrates the nation.
Tory Taylor had an off game last week, but I expect him to bounce back and for Iowa to win the field-position battle. If Rutgers can find a way to run the ball on a consistent basis and avoid Cooper DeJean’s side of the field, they’ll have their chances.
I think this game is truly a coin flip, but I’ll go with the home team because of the stakes in the Big Ten West and the way the group has come together following Brian’s inevitable dismissal.
Iowa 13, Rutgers 10.
Dennis Dodd: Rutgers
Tom Fornelli: Rutgers
Chip Patterson: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Iowa
Shehan Jeyarajah: Iowa
David Cobb: Rutgers
Jerry Palm: Iowa
Bill Connelly: Iowa 21, Rutgers 14
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Joe Vitale: Iowa
Luke Easterling: Iowa
David Kenyon: Iowa 14, Rutgers 13