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The Pants Predicts: Iowa at Northwestern

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Pat Fitzgerald has gotten the best of Kirk Ferentz throughout his career and Northwestern has defeated Iowa three consecutive times. Will the trend continue this week?

Northwestern v Iowa
Pat Fitzgerald has had the upper hand against Kirk Ferentz in his tenure.
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

The Hawkeyes got back into the win column last week, just as the entire staff predicted. The 26-20 win over Purdue wasn’t enough to cover the spread, however. That’s where the staff was split nearly evenly a week ago and the result is a ton of parity in our year-long standings.

That is, parity except for Thad, who joined us mid-season and is yet to get a prediction wrong. So take your notes on his call this week accordingly.

Here’s a look at the updated standings.

Thad - 2-0

BoilerHawk - 4-3

JP - 4-3

Matt C - 4-3

Matt R - 4-3

Ben - 3-4

DC - 3-4

Jerry - 3-4

Doug - 3-4

Turning to this week, we have a similar look with all but one of us picking Iowa to win (continue reading to see which of us hates Iowa and chastise them in the comments accordingly). And as with a week ago, we’re pretty evenly split on whether the Hawkeyes will cover the 10.5 point spread.

That spread is down from -11 it opened at and has been as low as -9.5 Iowa on some sites. The over/under is at 37.5 making for an implied final score of 24-14 (OK, 13.5, but we learned last week the Iowa defense can’t actually limit opponents to scoring in half point increments).

On average, the staff is predicting a final score of 19-9. The exact average is 19.1-8.5, which would be good to cover that 10.5 point line by the slimmest of margins. It’s worth noting Iowa’s totals are skewed pretty heavily by one or two predictions, so keep that in mind if you’re considering betting the farm law firm on Iowa to cover. Either way, we’re pretty heavily on the under in this one, which shouldn’t come as any surprise with two offenses as challenged as these.

Here’s a look at our individual predictions.


JPinIC: Iowa’s offense has been a problem most of the year. But the Hawkeye offense looks like a juggernaut compared to what we’ve seen from Northwestern this season. The Wildcats are averaging 12.5 points a game and are facing a top-ten Iowa defense. Regardless of how bad Iowa’s offense has been, on paper the Hawkeyes should win this one.

And yet, it seems like a game they could very well lose. Ryan Field is a weird, quiet place where very, very weird things seem to transpire for Iowa. We could well see a 2-0 game here and I honestly don’t know which team gets the 2.

Ultimately though, I think the Iowa offense has more success than the Northwestern one and I’m still waiting on our first defensive or special teams score.

Iowa 17, Northwestern 13

DC: This game is dumb every.single.year. and this time won’t be any different. Iowa could be Ohio State good and Pat Fitzgerald would find a way to keep the total score under 20. I think Keith Duncan strengthens his grip on the Lou Groza award with 4 more FGs and Phil’s boys pitch a shutout leading to a pretty memorable Fitzgerald gif on the sideline.

Iowa 12, jNW 0

MattReisener: It’s hard to have much faith in Iowa’s offense these days, particularly with Brandon Smith out of commission. But I trust Northwestern’s offense a whole lot less. Iowa guts out a road win and secures bowl eligibility on the stregnth of its defense.

Iowa 13, Northwestern 3

Jerry Scherwin: Have no fear Pantser’s, your resident Captain Optimist is here to tell you that the only thing to fear is fear itself. Who cares that this game is generally pretty dumb. This is not your general jNW game. Have you seen these guys play football? It’s ok if you haven’t. They really haven’t been worth your time. They have an equivalent offense to the one I ran as a 5th grade offensive guard with the Bolingbrook Trojan Pee Wee Football team… aka, their quarterback is lights out in practice and then falls all over himself under the lights. Did they keep things interesting against Wisconsin? Sure. But Wisconsin also just lost to Illinois soooooo? This is a blowout, so go worry about Mitch Trubisky sucking more, or Kirk Cousins winning the MVP award or Aaron Rodgers taking on Tom Brady in the Super Bowl and enjoy your weekend.

Iowa 42, jNW 6

Adam Hensley: Northwestern is the biggest disappointment in the Big Ten this season, but this will still be close. It always is.

I expect the Hawkeye defense to win this thing. Northwestern averages 12.5 points per game this season. You know which teams average more points than the reigning Big Ten West champs? Old Dominion, South Alabama, and Texas State, to name a few.

Also, someone please tell Pat Fitzgerland that ctrl+alt+delete doesn’t actually restart your computer.

Iowa 24 Northwestern 10

tnels20: The last two seasons, Iowa has only scored 10 points in each game against Northwestern (and that includes an overtime in 2017). Both of those years Iowa averaged under 3 yards per carry. This might be a third straight year where Iowa can’t run the ball, but I don’t think it will matter. Northwestern has only been over 15 points once all year and I don’t see a way for them to break that this week against Iowa’s defense. I expect Iowa to attack the Wildcat’s zone defense with a heavy dose of short and horizontal passes to offset the struggles running the ball.

Iowa 20 - Northwestern 13

Doug: Iowa will ride their defense once again and will finally make a game against Northwestern look rather easy as the offense scores a trifecta of touchdowns - two through the air.

Iowa 30 - Northwestern 12

Ben: What makes any of you people think Iowa is gonna cover the spread here? Give me the Cardiac Kitties Covering Conveniently in a nail biter at Sleepy Ryan Field.

Iowa 17 Northwestern 13

BoilerHawk: Iowa’s only blown out Northwestern or lost a close game. This Iowa team isn’t blowing out Northwestern.

NW 9, Iowa 7

mattcabel: This game is going to be bad. A classic 11 a.m. Iowa/Northwestern match-up. Points will be at a premium, the score will be wonky and honestly I have no idea what team will win, but I’m going to go with Iowa. Why? I don’t know. Last year’s game against Northwestern was about as bad as they get. But it’s a new year...right?

Iowa 9, NW 6.


That’s what we’ve got. What are you predicting?