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The Pants Predicts: Iowa vs. Minnesota

The Hawkeyes host a top-10 team in Kinnick. Can they pull off the upset? Is it even an upset?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 06 Iowa at Minnesota
The Hawkeyes have taken home Floyd each of the last four years. Can they do it again?
Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s been a sobering week for Hawkeye fans. Well, sobering in the emotional sense. I’m not here to judge how you handle your emotions. But the Hawkeyes 2-point loss in Madison last weekend, paired with the hoops performance to kick off this week has left Iowa fans in disarray.

The Hawkeyes’ hopes for a Big Ten West crown died on the turf at Camp Randall when Nate Stanley came up a foot short on that 2-point conversion play. Meanwhile, the Minnesota Golden Gophers took down #4 Penn State to gain substantial street cred and vaulted into the top-10 themselves. Rough day.

If there was any solace for optimistic Iowa fans, it was that the Hawkeyes managed to cover in Madison. That meant all but three of our staffers were on the right side of the spread last week. Here’s an updated look at the standings.

Thad - 3-1

DC - 5-4

Doug - 5-4

Jerry - 5-4

Matt C - 5-4

Matt R - 5-4

Adam - 1-1

BoilerHawk - 4-5

JP - 4-5

Ben - 3-6

As we look to this week, the Hawkeyes are somehow favored at home against #8 Minnesota. Iowa opened at -2 and have since moved to -3 at The game has a 44.5 point over/under. That’s an implied score of Iowa 23.75, Minnesota 20.75. That seems unlikely.

At the Pants, on average we’re calling for a final of.... 23-23. Technically, we’re picking Iowa to win 23-22.7 - pretty narrow margin. It’s also not good enough for Iowa to cover the 3-point spread. It would, however, mean the over hits. Take that for what it’s worth.

Here are our individual predictions.

JPinIC: This one has me all sorts of turned around. I know Minnesota took down Penn State last week and that proved all the haters wrong and yada yada yada. But I watched a decent chunk of that game and candidly if Iowa plays that Penn State team with that Sean Clifford, they beat them handily in Kinnick.

I still don’t know what to make of Minnesota and yet, I do know what to make of Iowa. And it isn’t great. It’s not bad either, but the offense isn’t going to light up anyone and if the defense has any struggles, even for a single play, this team can lose.

Still, the Goofs are coming off an emotional win and Iowa is playing pissed off against the one team they’ve managed to flex on (in relative terms) the last few years.

Iowa 20, Minnesota 18

Jerry Scherwin: Do I feel good about this game? NOPE! Do I think we’ll win this game and ruin Minnesota’s season because there is literally nothing on the line any more for the Hawkeyes? SURE DO! We’re going to see everything we ever wanted to see against Wisconsin a week too late. We’ll see motion and tight ends over the middle and 150-yards of rushing. We’ll see three picks (one of which will go to the house) and one upset PJ Fleck. We’ll grab the pig and we’ll hold it up high and we’ll somehow win out and that will be our consolation prize as we go deep into the “not football SZN”. It will also be the linchpin in which we hang our hopes on for next season being a “Big Ten Championship” type of year. Prep yourselves now.

Iowa 24-Minnesota 21… still can’t score more than 26 thooooo

Mattcabel: I’m known as a pessimist around here, and for good reason. I tend to go into every Iowa game with pretty low expectations and always expect the worst. Most of the time, my gut feelings are right. This week, my gut tells me that Iowa will beat Minnesota, because like Jerry noted above, there’s nothing left for this Iowa team to accomplish except spoil another team’s season. And then everyone gets happy again, we have another 8-4 season, Kirk will have a good snort and chuckle, and time will continue being a flat circle.

Iowa 21, Minnesota 17

DC: I’ve been very wrong about Minnesota. I’ve also been very wrong about our Hawkeyes. Both of those things have me very pessimistic going into Saturday. I will sit on my couch Saturday hoping that the offense finds life to #KeepFloydHome but until I actually see it, I can’t pick them to win. Minnesota’s offense gives me pause because they seemingly can choose how they want to beat you and I can totally see BF going in with a game plan to attack through the air to shut up the haters despite Penn State having some success running last week. I’m in a bad place as a fan right now and I hate this prediction and hope I’m wrong.

Minnesota 28, Iowa 17

Ben: I hate Minnesota so goddamn much. Is it because my entire family and ¾ of my high school class went there? Maybe. Is it because I grew up going to Minnesota football and basketball games, watching some of the worst teams in the conference? Probably. Is it because I didn’t get accepted to Minnesota? Definitely absolutely not and you’re the bitter one and not me.

ANYWAY, I’m very happy that Minnesota fans from the past three generations are getting literally their first taste of football greatness ever. I’ll be even happier when they get their first taste of complete and utter disappointment Saturday, when Iowa inexplicably sinks their boat in what will assuredly be a hair-pulling exercise in offensive dominance by an Iowa team that has nothing but pride left to play for.

Iowa 31, Minnesota 17

Adam Hensley: I think Iowa’s offense will have a better time moving the ball than it did against Wisconsin last week, but Minnesota is a good football team. Better than people want to give it credit for, anyway. Quarterback Tanner Morgan and wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Tyler Johnson are a lot to handle, even with a defense as solid as Iowa’s.

The Gophers have an average defense as far as Big Ten teams go, ranking seventh in the conference in points allowed per game (20.7) and fifth in total passing yards allowed (1,587). Given the fact that Iowa’s offense hasn’t found any rhythm whatsoever during Big Ten play, I think this defense will give the Hawkeyes trouble.

I see this game coming down to the wire, much like every loss for Iowa this season.

Minnesota 27, Iowa 24

tnels20: Two days ago, I felt really good about this game, and now I really don’t think I have a feel at all. Minnesota comes into Kinnick Stadium riding high, but it’s a team that has never experienced success like this. On the other hand, it’s an offense that is absolutely rolling right now and has a season low of just 28 points (game 1 of the season). What they did to the (what had been) dominate Penn St defense was jaw dropping. Those receivers are no joke.

I’m still not sold on their defense and their numbers are boosted by facing Nebraska (with a backup QB and a ton of injuries), Rutgers, and Maryland in consecutive games and then a bye week to lead into that Penn St game. I mean, could the stars align anymore? Meanwhile, Penn St just came off of trio of Iowa, Michigan, and Michigan St before their bye week. Those are three super physical games and I think Penn St might have just ran out of gas while stalling out over the train tracks. It was just bad timing.

I don’t know if the offense can match Minnesota’s offense, but I just feel like we are due for a bounce or two to go Iowa’s way. It’s heart over head this week.

Iowa 25 - Minnesota 22

Doug: I watched Minnesota play Penn State and I was impressed. I was expecting Penn State to hold the offense nearly scoreless but the Gophers threw the ball all over the field with great success.

Unless Iowa changes its defensive strategy (I hear everyone laughing) and get some pressure on the quarterback, I think Minnesota can and will be successful through the air. As we all know, Iowa hasn’t shown that they are capable of scoring in bursts this season so that could be a disastrous result.

I would have MN -7 on a neutral field and as it’s at Kinnick, would give Iowa three points for that making it -4. I just don’t like that Minnesota gets to come into Iowa as an underdog and give the Fleckites more rowing motivation.

While I know that Iowa can beat top teams at home, I’m going to stick with my line of MN -4 and say it will be another rough week on the message boards.

Minnesota 31 - Iowa 27

BoilerHawk: It feels like Kinnick is getting way too much credit for this game by favoring Iowa. I’m also at the point where I’m a little too Elmo-watching-it-burn.gif with Hawkeye sports at the moment but I’ll go ahead and lean into it. In an ode to last year’s Axe-ing of Camp Randall, the Goofers fry bacon on Kinnick after they beat the Hawks.

Minnesota 23 - Iowa 21 (7 field goals)

MattReisener: It feels gross to predict Minnesota to win this game, especially since they haven’t beaten Iowa in Kinnick Stadium since 1999. But the Gophers have enough weapons on offense to pose a real threat to Epenesa and crew, and it’s tough to trust this offense to put up enough points to beat a competent Big Ten defense until it proves otherwise. Iowa falls to 6-4 on the season after losing another heartbreaker, and I watch this video to remember better times:

Minnesota 21, Iowa 20

That’s what we’re predicting, what’s your call for Iowa’s matchup with Minnesota?