Each week during the season the Hawkeye Headquarters staff will predict the outcome of the Iowa football game.
Blake Hornstein (2-0): Last week? Iowa vs. Iowa State. Next week? The whiteout game vs. Penn State. Sandwiched in between: A home game against a MAC opponent as 28.5 point favorites. It’s a weird place emotionally to be in. But I’ll take the Hawkeyes’ word that they’ve flushed the tape, and are totally locked in to this week’s opponent.
I’ll save you the drama: I’m picking the Hawks. The question I’m more focused on is… how many points is Iowa going to score? The Brian Ferentz vitriol ironically enough has felt as low as it’s been in the calendar year. What’s even more odd is that the team is six points behind its PPG benchmark during the portion of the season we’d expect the Hawkeyes to run up the score.
I believe that the Iowa offense is actually pretty close to clicking. Is this the week? Last year’s team managed 27 against Nevada, I think the Hawkeyes will have another dominant finish to it’s non-conference schedule. See you at State College.
Prediction: Iowa 38, Western Michigan 3
Ryan Jaster (2-0): Like Kirk Ferentz, I’m old enough to remember when Western Michigan was not the team you wanted to see on the Iowa schedule. The Broncos were undefeated against the Hawkeyes until 2013. And let me tell you, that 59-3 win was more satisfying than it should have been.
Not because Iowa had lost to Western Michigan in some one-off MACtion magic, but because they’d done it twice – in 2000 and 2007. Of course, a MAC team still got the best of the Hawks the one year they beat the Broncos, too, thanks to Northern Illinois. Throw in Central Michigan beating Iowa in 2012 and the lesson is clear: Don’t take any MAC team for granted. They’re good for two wins a decade against Iowa and they have none yet in the 2020s, so they are due.
Besides, based on what you’ve seen this year, what’s more likely from these Hawkeyes? A 56-point win, or a score more like 27-21 or 29-18 from those other two matchups? The Broncos win the close games in this series. Plus, the Hawks are favored by 28 and haven’t even scored 25 in a game yet. Ominous.
So that’s what the history says – and we know what Brian and the fanbase need – but neither of those things determine my weekly selections. I let a PS2 do that.
And the Totally Irrelevant Prediction says everything will be fine because the Hawkeyes build a larger-than-8-point lead even before the first quarter ends. As we learned last week, that makes Iowa virtually unstoppable since 2015 (now 64-2 – what a stat that is). The Hawks don’t cross 50, but can I interest you in 35? The aims are true and the passes are not dropped, so Iowa trades field goals for touchdowns in this one to secure a 35-14 win. Believe it or not, the Hawkologist’s prognosis is a 1 on the 6-point pain index. No pain is predicted.
Here’s a look at what others from near and far expect, starting with the weather from Local 4’s Tyler Ryan:
David Eickholt: Iowa 45, Western Michigan 10. This needs to be the game where the Iowa offense puts it together before they head to the big showdown against Penn State. The Hawkeyes are going to look to get the wide receivers involved in 1-on-1 situations and McNamara will throw at least two touchdowns while the Iowa running backs score a pair on the ground. Iowa coasts to a big early lead and McNamara will not play in the fourth quarter.
Western Michigan is going to look to get after McNamara, so it’ll be vital for the Iowa offensive line to give him some protection while he delivers the ball downfield. Give me the Hawkeyes in a drama-free game.
Dennis Dodd: Iowa
Tom Fornelli: Iowa
Chip Patterson: Iowa
Barrett Sallee: Iowa
Shehan Jeyarajah: Iowa
David Cobb: Iowa
Jerry Palm: Iowa
Bill Connelly: Iowa 36, Western Michigan 4
Steven Lassan: Iowa
Joe Vitale: Iowa
Luke Easterling: Iowa