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The Pants Predicts: Michigan State

We’ve been wrong each of the first two weeks. Did we learn our lesson on the Hawkeyes?

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan
We’re on the Spartans and now we’re gonna puke.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

We’re just one day away from week three of the Iowa football season and apathy is starting to set in among the fanbase. Losses to Purdue and Northwestern were highly disappointing and came in equally frustrating fashions. The Hawkeyes were favored in each of those games and the BHGP staff was on Iowa to cover.

With a showdown with Michigan State on deck this weekend, the Hawkeyes opened as 9-point favorites. That has come in some during the week, but Iowa is still favored. So, have we learned our lesson? Maybe!

More than half of us are not only calling for Michigan State to cover, but for the Spartans to win outright. On average, we’re expecting a final score of Michigan State 19, Iowa 17. That’s obviously not good news for the Hawkeyes and is well within the initial line of -9. It’s also well below the over/under initially set at 50.5.

So, do we know what we’re talking about? History says no!

Here’s a look at our individual predictions.


I’m the eternal optimist. That’s meant riding with this team through a lot of hot garbage, but I don’t recall feeling quite the way the last two weeks has felt in quite some time. Even in 2014 when the entire fanbase wanted the captain gone I was optimistic about the future.

Not now. Not when star receivers are making decisions like ISM made last weekend. Not when the run game looks so Jekyll and Hyde. Not with a QB who is still finding his footing and an OC who has shown a tendency to vastly underperform and a HC with a tendency to “that’s football” through an entire season before truly adjusting.

MSU 23, Iowa 17


I’m done with this team until the players and/or coaching staff give me something — anything — that proves they’re interested in winning football games. Until then, I’ll be picking against the Hawks. This team can’t put together scoring drives that result in more than 3 points if they wanted to (and I’m not sure they do!). Presumably remove Ihmir Smith-Marsette from the equation, Spencer Petras thinking he’s trying to throw a 100+mph fast ball every down, and a lack of faith in giving the ball to the offensive talent, I have no faith in this squad anymore.

It’s been two games, and that doesn’t feel ridiculous to type.

I predicted this team would go 5-4 and my fellow bloggers thought I was ridiculous just a few short weeks ago. Now I wish I would have picked more losses.

Michigan State 24, Iowa 13

Ben Ross

How is Iowa favored in this game? I realize Michigan State was a double-digit dog against Michigan last week and came out ahead, but this just feels like a totally different situation. Iowa hasn’t shown much to get excited about and the cookie is getting a little crumbly.

I can just kinda sorta see Rocky Lombardi just dunking on Iowa all day long here, and well if I could bet on that I probably would. Iowa’s gotta have to find some sort of inspiration from somewhere, and I’m afraid it’s not going to come from the tent.

Sparty 17, Iowa 13


The good news is that for substantial portions of each game, the defense has been a typical Phil Parker defense. Iowa forced 2 turnovers against Purdue and 3 against Northwestern. They have also forced a higher percentage of 3-and-outs than in previous seasons. The offense has had moments where it moves the ball, but a combination of turnovers and penalties have stalled too many drives short of points.

I have a hard time seeing Iowa lose two games in a row at Kinnick Stadium. Iowa gets more creative and disciplined with its run game and finally connects on a big pass play. It may be ugly at times, as it often is against Michigan State, but the Hawkeyes get their first win of the season.

Iowa 23, MSU 18


I have so little faith in this team which is to say I don’t trust the offense a lick. The defense is a step or two down from the elite unit they were last year which is still very good! But still not enough.

The best outcome for this game feels like a total rockfight where Iowa’s defense does all the heavy lifting and some of the scoring. The worst version of the game is this...but Iowa loses. And that 2012 win at Michigan State was the high point of the season!

Michigan State 17, Iowa 15 (5 field goals)

Bartt Pierce

Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Shame on me. Not happening a third time. I’m going all Missouri on this one. Show me, Hawks. Our Hawkeyes have looked very good at times this year. We have not put it all together. If toe jam is an emotion, that is how I have felt the last two weeks.

The Hawks are a 9 point favorite? At this rate we may not score 9 second half points the rest of the year. If I sound bitter and pessimistic, it’s because I am. I have been a big Brian Ferentz fan. He’s a younger, more intense version of his dad. He bleeds black and gold. I’ve lost that. I want to believe again. Once again, show me. I’m picking against our boys until we can push people around and hit them in the mouth. I want to see Iowa football be Iowa football. Go Hawks.

Sparty 28, Hawks 17


When Iowa’s schedule was first announced, there was no game I was more confident about the Hawkeyes winning than their tilt against Michigan State, a talent-depleted program that struggled to hire a coach in the offseason and is trying to implement new offensive and defensive schemes on the fly despite the COVID-disrupted spring and fall practices. Now? I’m not so sure. The Spartan offense isn’t overly impressive, and I think Iowa should be able to blunt the MSU running game and force the very inconsistent Rocky Lombardi to beat them with his arm. But I remain concerned about Iowa’s offense being able to score unless they’re gift-wrapped the ball in opposing territory. I’ll bite the bullet and pick Iowa in a low-scoring affair, but I don’t feel good about it at all.

Iowa 14, Michigan State 13

Rob Donaldson

The first two weeks certainly could’ve gone better, but there have also been a lot of positives to build on moving forward. I hate to say that Iowa’s “due,” but it really feels that given how much talent there is on this team on both sides. I think this will be a battle and I think Petras has somewhat of a bounce back game and helps contribute to a Hawks win.

Iowa 24, Michigan State 16

So there you have it. If Iowa loses and you had any hope left, blame Rob, Matt Reisener and Tnels. What are you predicting for this weekend?