Hate Week has nearly concluded in the state of Iowa as we’re now just a day away from the highest profile meeting in the history of the Cy-Hawk series as the #10 Iowa Hawkeyes travel to Ames to take on the #9 Iowa State Cyclones. The Cyclones come into the showdown ranked higher, playing at home and benefiting from a raucous crowd after ESPN’s College Game Day comes to town for the the second time in school history and the second time in as many meetings between these two teams.
With those tailwinds at their back, Iowa State enters the matchup favored 4.5 points on most sports books. The over/under is hovering around 46-46.5 depending on your book, which implies a final score of Iowa State 25.5, Iowa 21.
As for our staff, we’re a much more mixed bag than we were a week ago when we largely were on the Hawkeyes to take down Indiana. This week, just over half our staff is taking Iowa State to win outright, but only two are picking them to cover the spread.
Even more interesting, on average The Pants is predicting a final score of Iowa State 19, Iowa 19. So yeah, it’s safe to say we’re a bit torn on how exactly this one will play out. Such is life when you have two teams ranked so closely together facing off early in the season.
Here’s a look at each of our individual predictions.
I came into the season expecting this Iowa team to finish 9-3 and a loss to Wisconsin away from a West division title. Despite being wrong on my prediction for the Hawkeyes to lose their first two games and build momentum from there much like a season ago, I’m going to hold firm on my prediction for week two.
I think Iowa State’s ability to run the ball will be a problem for this Iowa defense. I expect them to give up loads of yards and enough points to be out of reach for the offense. That’s not to say I think this gets high scoring. More just that I expect the ISU defense to set out to stop Tyler Goodson and the Iowa run and I don’t trust Spencer Petras to pull a Nate Stanley and win this through the air.
Iowa State 17, Iowa 16
Week 1 saw a reversal of predictions where Iowa beat Indiana in a blowout while Iowa State scraped by UNI. Matt Campbell pulled a Kirk Ferentz where you do nothing in a non-conference matchup against an undermanned opponent.
This is a matchup between two high level defenses and two offenses that leave you scratching your head routinely as the punter trots onto the field. I don’t trust either QB to make a game winning play and feel like both teams will be channeling their inner Bears fandom by praying their defense can score for them.
Following Week 1, this sets up for Iowa not only covering, but winning in a low scoring game thanks to the advantage on special teams. The spread and O/U seem way off, which is why I’m abandoning all of my thoughts in favor of The Desert knowing much more than me. ISU wins and both teams put up some points.
ISU 29 - Iowa 20
All good things must come to an end. If this was in Kinnick or at a neutral site I’d go with the Hawks. The first hostile environment for our quarterback and others makes me go with the Cyclones. The Hawkeyes created our own breaks last week, but it feels like it will be tough to replicate that this week. I don’t really care about how the Cyclones are going with black for their uniforms, but I do find it fascinating that a school is basically getting rid of its school color. Can you even imagine Iowa doing that? If Iowa State is going to break the streak, this is the year. If given the choice, I 1000% would rather lose Saturday and win the B1G West. As always, Go Hawks!
Iowa State 24 Iowa 17
Iowa came out firing on all cylinders last week, and while I don’t think the success from last week is sustainable, I do think that the Hawks have shown in the past that their defense will step up. Petras and co. need to be better. Outside of the Goodson run in the first quarter, there weren’t a lot of great moments on that side of the ball. ISU struggled with UNI yet again, but obviously Hawk fans know not to judge just based on that. Breece Hall is the most important piece for the Cyclones offense. If they slow him down, Hawks have a great chance.
Iowa 20 - ISU 17
I have waffled on this game for some time. Even after a wet turd of a game against UNI (free idea: stop scheduling them Game 1!) where Breece Hall & Charlie Kolar were dinged up to various degrees, the only right thing to do to ISU is overrate them. They simply bring back too much production to overlook on both sides of the ball. I’m also not thrilled about Kirk Ferentz’s record in away games against ranked teams (2-6 ATS since Brian took over) and think he plays with fire just a little too much against Iowa State.
Yet all the weird ideas - ISU wearing black in one of their hottest games of Campbell’s tenure! - seep into my mind to think Iowa actually should win. After all, their defense is probably the strongest single unit on the field. But Iowa State’s D is going against Iowa’s offense. While I share some of Thad’s skepticism about Purdy, he’s undoubtedly the better QB between him and Petras. That ultimately proves to be the difference.
Iowa State 22 - Iowa 19 (OT)
If you’ve ever referred to Iowa and its fans as “HOKS,” “TOE,” or “AHF,” you can pound sand.
Iowa 20, Iowa State 10
This game will be extremely close, though it might not be the most titillating contest for casual fans tuning in to watch offensive fireworks. Iowa’s defense has all the makings of being one of the best in the country, and I expect them to do enough to slow down a dangerous Cyclone attack. However, Iowa State will be dialed in to attack the Hawkeye running game and force Iowa to beat them in the air, and I haven’t seen enough from Petras and the passing attack to believe they can accomplish this in what promises to be a hostile road environment. ISU wins on a late field goal.
Iowa State 20, Iowa 17
I’ve been on the record in my public circles that I think ISU is vastly overrated — all the time, but this year in particular, I’m not drinking the Kool-Aid. This is Iowa’s game to lose, and I am a bit worried about the offense — particularly Spencer Petras — but I’m thinking the defense will take care of things enough that Petras won’t need to be spectacular. As the resident pessimist of this site, I’m a little surprised to see so much doubt here, so I’m going to flip the cards and be the optimist for once. I know it’s possible, but I truly cannot fathom losing to this insufferable program. No matter what happens though, I’m just excited to go back to not caring about Iowa State football in a little over 48 hours.
Iowa 24, ISU 14
Those are the predictions and here’s how we’d play this one at the sports books, if we were so inclined (please gamble responsibly).
Let’s see your predictions for the biggest Cy-Hawk game in series history!