Well, we’re here again. It’s Friday and the Hawkeyes are still allowed to play “football” on Saturdays. Iowa is hosting the Wolfpack of Nevada on Saturday evening and those shiny temples in the desert are looking to hand out free money in week three.
The Hawkeyes are a 24-point favorite against the Pack according to DraftKings Sportsbook as of Friday morning with an total points over/under climbing to 39.5 points. As a quick reminder for those who have somehow not watched Iowa this season, the total points in Iowa’s first two weeks has been 27 points. That’s over two weeks. In that span, Iowa has managed a total of just 14 points with only 6 coming from the offense.
But yeah, sure, Nevada gave up 55 points to Incarnate Word in week 2 so maybe this is the week we see the explosion! At The Pants, however, we’re not expecting it.
On average, we’re expecting a final score of 20-6 in favor of the Hawkeyes. That puts us pretty firmly on the under and a full ten points below the Vegas line in this one. None of us are picking the Pack to pull the upset, despite the abysmal offense from Iowa.
Here’s a look at our individual predictions for Iowa vs Nevada in week three.
I am to the point where I just hate watching this. It’s so infuriating. I don’t care the reasons anymore, it’s just gross and embarrassing and there is no excuse for being DEAD LAST in basically every meaningful offensive category in the country. Nevada has a lowly defense, but does that really matter? Iowa is going to win a few games here and there because their own defense is that good, and this is one of them.
Prediction: Iowa 17, Nevada 3
I’m not the sharpest bulb on the tree, but I’m not going to get fooled by this offense. Until they can drive even half of a football field, I’m not predicting our squad can put offensive points on the board. It’s more Iowa than our opponent right now. Our offense is in its own head unlike anything seen in Hawkville in some time. Kirk values ball security but Spencer Petras is turning the ball over. Alex Padilla, maybe not the practice player that Spencer Petras is, deserves to get a start. Something, anything, is better than what we’ve seen the last two weeks. Petras is a standup dude, but Kirk is going to lose the team and fans. Ferentz will have a statue some day, but his legacy could be forever tarnished with his son’s performance as our offensive coordinator/QB coach. I think (hope) we win, but at this point I need to see it to believe it.
Prediction: Iowa 9, Nevada 7
Fortunately for Iowa, Nevada is bad. They gave up 55 points and over 600 yards of offense to Incarnate Word. If ever there is a week for Iowa’s awful, no-good offense to show a little life, it’s this week (and by a little life, I mean 300 yards of offense, which is an embarrassing number but is a massive improvement on what we’ve seen so far). Plus Iowa’s defense is just too good so they’ll get back in the win column no matter what.
Fortunately for Nevada though, Iowa’s offense is a dumpster fire. Which is actually an insult to dumpster fires. Iowa has all of these issues - Kirk, Brian, scheme, the offensive line, quarterback, all of the wide receiver injuries - then there was a tidbit from Scott Dochterman in his latest mailbag on The Athletic. From the article:
“On Andy Staples’ Sirius/XM show Wednesday, former LSU and NFL fullback Jacob Hester said Iowa’s linemen and tight ends tip off who they block on every play. All of them line up light when they’re going to move (outside zone) and heavy (inside zone) when they’re blocking straight ahead. The tight ends never take their eyes off their zone area. Hester documented only six gap counter run plays in Iowa’s first two games, and the rest are inside/outside zone.”
So on top of all of their issues, they also tip plays. This is great. Really, really great. Good job, everyone.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Nevada 0.
Neither my prior algorithm nor BizarroMath see any universe in which Iowa’s 23 point betting line makes any sense. SPAM had Nevada favored in this matchup by 0.5 points pre-season, and BizarroMath, after applying opponent adjustments, favored the Hawkeyes by only seven. After bearing witness to the grindhouse horror show last week, BizarroMath now favors the Hawkeyes by under 4. At home. Against a not great Mountain West opponent.
We’re all counting on Iowa’s defense to hold Nevada in check and, opponent-adjusted, Nevada’s offense is statistically similar to Iowa State’s, so that seems reasonable. But I worry about scheme. I believe Nevada runs an air raid (somebody fact check me), and ISU had (relatively speaking) some luck moving the ball through the air last week with short passes. Anybody else remember years of Northwestern games where Iowa’s defense got slowly picked apart by a QB who could consistently complete dink-and-dunk passes down the field?
On the offensive side, the O actually did show some improvement. Of note, the snap synchronization was more cohesive. Baby steps. But the blocking is a mess. Watching the game live last week from Section 131, it looked like RT Connor Colby was getting consistently beat off the edge, leaving him little choice but to tackle his defender. Flags could have been thrown, and this offense can’t bear the setback of even an extra 5 yards to gain.
I’m picking Iowa to win, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this.
Prediction: Iowa 16, Nevada 13
The fact that Spencer Petras is starting this game is infuriating. At this point, barring an injury or Petras suddenly dropping out of school, there is no force in Heaven or on earth that will convince Kirk to switch to Padilla. If zero offensive points against SDSU wasn’t enough, and if how he looked against ISU wasn’t enough, then I don’t know what is. Kirk routinely references Spencer’s “body of work” as to why he keeps the third-year starter in series after series. But when that body is as lifeless and decrepit as a 3,000 year old Egyptian mummy it just rings hollow every time he says it. Spencer is Kirk’s guy, and if you don’t like it, tough luck.
If there is any game on Iowa’s 2022 schedule that should be a surefire win it’s this one. But with what we’ve seen out of this offense so far nothing is surefire any more. I already gave them their mulligan after the SDSU game thinking there’s no way they could be worse but I should’ve known better. The defense will have their way with the Wolf Pack, and special teams will do their thing, but don’t expect an offensive renaissance.
I’m still confident Iowa wins this game. However, without better, consistent production out of this offense, this may be the last time I can say that for a long time.
Prediction: Iowa 20, Nevada 6
Looking for a dash of optimism to wash away the pain of last week’s loss? The last time Iowa scored only 14 points in its first two games was 1982. That team started the year 0-2, but finished the season 8-4 and capped off the campaign with an impressive win over Tennessee in the Peach Bowl. Within a few years, young offensive players like Chuck Long, Ronnie Harmon, Jonathan Hayes, and Bill Happel had transformed from liabilities and afterthoughts to some of the most productive players in the country at their positions. Kirk Ferentz, then Iowa’s offensive line coach, should remember this season well. Iowa still has a lot of intriguing young talent on offense, even if almost all of it is either hurt, underperforming, or both. Maybe better days are still ahead?
Don’t expect to see an offensive explosion this week, but Nevada’s defense is reeling after being absolutely worked by Incarnate Word to the tune of 55 points and 616 yards of total offense, including 406 yards through the air. If the Hawkeyes can’t find the end zone against the Wolfpack at least a few times, it might be time to pull the plug on 2022 and start counting down the days until basketball season. At least Fran’s team knows how to put points on the board.
Prediction: Iowa 24, Nevada 3
I’m not absolutely broken as a Hawkeye fan because I do have genuinely no idea what a good offensive output would look like tomorrow. As of my writing, only one person has Iowa scoring more than 20 points! Yuck.
Nevada is built a little different than past iterations under Jay Norvell and their secondary is a strength of this team with their ball hawking abilities. I’m between a best case scenario of a bit-for-bit repeat against Kent State last season and a worst case scenario of a week 1 redux. Let’s split the difference. Double yuck.
Prediction: Iowa 18, Nevada 6
I wish this fandom (pain) on no person.
Am I the only one still waiting for Ashton Kutcher to run on the field, screaming “HAWKEYE FANS, YOU JUST GOT PUNK’D!”
Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I’ll take any distraction from an offense that’s now become the walking-punchline for comedic relief in every CBF-related production.
Prediction: Iowa 13, Nevada 10
I said in my Stock Watch this past week that I was going to attempt to remain positive the rest of the season so here is what I have to say about this weekends game.
Confidence must be built during the course of this game. Regardless of who trots out there at QB the offense needs to make plays to gain some momentum moving forward as well as stack those plays on top of each other. The fanbase getting at each others throats over coaching decisions we know will not change doesn’t do any of us any good.
So let’s go Hawkeyes. Tune it up this week and lets pick up the W and move onto Big Ten play feeling better.
Prediction: Iowa 42, Nevada 6
So that’s what we’re expecting. Be kind to Alec (aka Kicker32), he’s been quite sick and is thus highly medicated at the moment.
Here’s hoping the Iowa offense is as medicated as Alec and finds a way to do ANYTHING this week. Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments below.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.