Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Pants to all of you, wherever you may be and however you may be celebrating this year.
Hawkeye fans everywhere are hoping to have more to celebrate tomorrow as Iowa plays host to the Nebraska Cornhuskers in search of their sixth straight win over the Big Red. The Hawkeyes opened as 12-point favorites in this one, but that moved up to 13.5 later in the week as pessimism following Nebraska’s loss to Illinois seems to have set in.
At BHGP, we’re largely feeling optimistic about this one with only two staffer taking Nebraska straight up. Those two picks do skew the totals a bit, however, as we’re predicting an average score of Iowa 30, Nebraska 26. That puts us officially on the Huskers to cover the spread and frankly given the last two meetings between these two teams, that makes some sense. Our average prediction also has us on the over of 53.5, which is a bit surprising given how good Iowa’s defense has looked.
Here’s a look at our individual predictions for Friday’s matchup.
Look, I’m starting to buy in to this Iowa team a little bit. Is there something still to be desired from Spencer Petras? Absolutely. Could we have some better playcalling from time to time? You bet. But I’m in on this running game and this defense. The Hawkeyes have been pounding the ball on the ground and Nebraska has shown little ability to stop that to-date. On the flip side, Iowa’s defense has been creating turnovers and proven stingy in the RedZone. That sounds like a recipe for success.
Which is why I’m on Nebraska. I’ve been an Iowa fan long enough to know that just when you start expecting success the rug is about to be pulled out from under you. The last two games in this series have come down to field goals and I think this one does too. It feels like a game where Petras has a bad interception, we have another fumble inside the 10 and the defense gives up one big play to WanDale Robinson (because they only allow the other team’s best weapon to do anything, apparently) and next thing you know it’s trouble.
Nebraska 27, Iowa 24
That’s it, that’s the prediction.
Iowa 42, Nebraska 10
Every year this is the game I find myself worrying about the most. Usually, it is the final regular season game and a win or loss lingers for a long time following the trophy game. This year, I feel the best I’ve maybe ever felt going into it, and that is what makes me even more worried. Iowa has dominated the point of attack all year, and Nebraska has been pushed around all year.
My expectation is Iowa to run the ball effectively and force Nebraska to bring safeties and linebackers to help. Nico Ragaini and Tyrone Tracy are the benefactors of this with a few big plays making yards after the catch. Nebraska will have a few trick plays up their sleeves (they are soft and will wear sleeves), but will also turn the ball over multiple times.
Iowa 31, Nebraska 23
Which player is Scott Frost going to throw under the bus this week? I hope it’s not Iowa’s former No. 5 (and would be No. 6) wide receiver!
Iowa 44, Nebraska 11
I am the epitome of a superstitious, broken record. I won’t go game by game any more. I predicted Iowa would win the first two and we lost. I have since picked against our boys... and you know the deal. Nebraska is the most-storied football program in the history of anything. Sorry to UCLA basketball, Iowa wrestling, the Harlem Globetrotters, some lacrosse team out east and you get the picture. Luke McCaffrey and Adrian Martinez will both run and pass for 600 yards. Phil Parker will decide he has become disinterested with the whole football thing. I’ve heard he has been seen at The Home Depot quite a bit lately looking into peel and stick flooring. Good call, Coach. It’s a cost-effective way of updating a place.
Brian Ferentz is going to try to set the single game passing record of 83 tosses a game. I think this is solid reasoning. I’m predicting right now that Nebby wins this one going away.
Cornholers, set your VCR’s, get on your Starter jackets, and step foot in that time machine. We’re gonna party like it’s 1997. Go Hawks! Matt Campbell has publicly stated he wants nothing to do with this dumpster fire.
Nebraska 55, Hawks 2
If there is anyone enjoy Nebraska’s downfall more than me, I would like to meet them. I cannot get enough of the disarray Lincoln finds itself in, week after week, year after year.
This means, of course, I’m horrified about the possibilities for tomorrow’s showdown. Nebraska has absolutely nothing to lose and, /extreme Bill Simmons voice, believe it’s a kitchen sink game in that regard.
We’re going to see Adrian Martinez and Luke McCaffrey in the backfield. Double passes, triple passes, maybe even a quadruple pass. Will Iowa be ready? I think so. The defensive line is playing with its hair on fire and Nebraska’s QBs are shaky enough in the pass game, I expect at least one interception.
The question will be if Iowa can play extremely clean & consistent on offense and convert touchdowns instead of field goals. I think they will, but expect it to be a close one.
Iowa 35, Nebraska 31
From my perspective, this game has all the makings of another blowout win for the Hawks. I truly do believe that Iowa’s ground game will explode this Friday, especially because of how dominant Iowa’s offensive line has looked along with Monte Pottebaum and Shaun Beyer.
Regardless of which quarterback Nebraska trots out there, the likelihood of that position committing a turnover or multiple in this game will be high when you factor in how good Iowa’s defensive front has looked in every game this season.
It’s really hard to find any sort of edge in this game for Nebraska and I don’t think this one is somewhat close.
Iowa 43, Nebraska 17
So that’s what we’re predicting, what day you Hawkeye fans?