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The Pants Predicts: Iowa vs. Illinois

The Fighting Illini are riding a hot streak as they enter Kinnick. Is anyone at the Pants predicting an upset?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 17 Iowa at Illinois
Will anyone pick the Fighting Illini?
Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Hawkeyes took down #8 Minnesota last week for their “signature” win this season (which makes me sad to type). Despite the field rushing, Iowa was actually favored in that one. But perhaps fans took to the field not because the Hawkeyes won, but because they covered. Good on ‘em, even if I picked against them :(

Here’s an updated look at the season-long standings.

Thad - 3-1-1
Matt C - 6-4
Jerry - 5-4-1 (should you really be allowed to pick a push?)
DC - 5-5
Doug - 5-5
Matt R - 5-5
Ben - 4-6
BoilerHawk - 4-6
JP - 4-6
Adam - 1-2

As we look to this week, the Hawkeyes are favored at home against the Illinois Fighting Illini. Iowa opened at -12 and have since moved to -15 at The game has a 46.5 point over/under. That’s an implied score of Iowa 30.75, Minnesota 15.75.

At the Pants, on average we’re calling for a final of 29-13. That’s good enough to cover the 15-point spread, even if just barely. It would also hit on the under. On the whole, exactly half the staff has Iowa covering and half is taking Illinois with the points. Nobody is picking the Fighting Illini to win outright.

Here are our individual predictions.

JPinIC: Illinois is riding a major hot streak coming into this one. They’ve won 4 straight and the comeback against Michigan State was one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen in a football game. A major part of that has been winning the turnover battle as they’re +14 on the year and +9 over that 4-game stretch. You can say they’re just really good at creating turnovers, and maybe you’re right, but they’ve recovered 16 of 17 fumbles, something our own Thad Nelson tells me has a 0.05% probability. That’s incredibly lucky.

I don’t expect that luck to continue, especially in Kinnick on senior day. If not for the pageantry, this could be a trap game. But with all the focus on leaving Kinnick the last time as a winner, I don’t see any way the Hawkeyes fall asleep on Illinois.

Iowa 24, Illinois 13

Jerry Scherwin: I’m not going to pick Illinois here. I’m just not going to do it. No matter how much I think this is the trappiest trap game in the history of Iowa/Illinois trap games, Iowa is going to figure out a way to get their 8th win of the season. Lovie be damned.

Iowa 24, Illinois 17 - but it’s closer and more painful than even that predicted score shows.

DC: People want to try to pick this game as a trap game or let down spot for Iowa after sinking Minnesota’s boat, but they’re wrong. It’s Senior Day, it’s Nate Stanley’s (and likely AJE, Wirfs, and Jackson’s) last game in Kinnick. All these guys are going to be locked in. Let’s hope we see more of the first half against Minnesota again this week on offense.

Iowa 24, Illinois 7

tnels20: Lovie has guided Illinois to an impressive resurgence. This is not even close to the team that Iowa smacked 63-0 last year. However, this is also a team that is a good matchup for the Hawks. Illinois has a very talented running back duo, but the passing game has struggled at times and given up 31 sacks on the season. With the return of Brandon Smith, Iowa’s passing game should get a little boost as well and feature three major playmakers. I think we see Iowa jump out to an early lead and force Illinois into a few mistakes. My bold prediction is we see senior punter/holder Colten Rastetter get to pass on a fake.

Iowa 30 - Illinois 16

BoilerHawk: Initially I was concerned that Illinois might pose a threat against Iowa and then I saw this:

Iowa 30, Illinois 7

Doug: I’ll be watching the game with a bunch of Illinosites pre-gaming before a bachelor party so it’s imperative that Iowa wins so my night is primo.

Illinois has built its success on takeaways and that shouldn’t be something that is predictable or repeatable. If Nate Stanely can make smart decisions with the ball and Tyler GREATsen can take advantage of defenders trying to strip the ball rather than just make sound tackles, Iowa should have the offensive firepower to get the job done.

As many have commented, no one is going to want to let this senior class down by not being prepared and focused.

Post game, really young Hawkeyes ask their parents if they can sit on Illini Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

Iowa 34, Illinois 14

MattReisener: This recent run of victories for Illinois has been a lot of fun to watch, and Lovie Smith deserves a tremendous amount of credit for turning this team around in such dramatic fashion. But the Illini are due for what the kids call a “regression to the mean.” Brandon Peters isn’t throwing for 369 yards this week, the Illini defense can’t continue forcing turnovers at their current rate, and this Iowa team is not going to take its foot off the gas pedal and let the Illini claw their way to an upset on senior day. The final score won’t be 63-0, but there will be a few moments that give Illini fans some very upsetting flashbacks.

Iowa 27, Illinois 10

Mattcabel: Why am I so nervous about this game? It’s Illinois! If this were a road game, I’d be picking this as a definite loss for Iowa. But since it’s at home, since it’s senior day, I feel like the Hawks will be able to get a win here. It just might not be pretty.

Iowa 24, Illinois 17

Dr. Ben Ross III: Guys guys guys: Illinois is fake. Iowa by a million.

Iowa 41, Illinois 14

Adam Hensley: Illinois is the Big Ten’s feel-good story of the year (besides Nebraska flopping). However, feel-good stories die at Kinnick — just ask Minnesota.

Iowa 27, Illinois 13

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