Being a Hawkeye fan is a roller coaster ride. Always has been, but this year is proving to once again be a ride not for the faint of heart.
A few short weeks ago, things seemed to be headed toward the drain. The Hawkeyes were humiliated on national TV at Penn State, getting shut out for the first time in two decades in a 31-0 loss. A week later, starting QB Cade McNamara was lost for the season and all of a sudden the Iowa offense somehow looked worse than what we saw a season ago.
And yet, since that loss at Penn State, the Hawkeyes have rattled off three straight wins after notching their first win in Camp Randall since 2015. As a result, Iowa finds itself atop the Big Ten West standings and in complete control of its own destiny for a trip to Indianapolis as the last representative from the West in conference history.
But controlling your own destiny is easier said than done when you are struggling to field an offense as the Hawkeyes are. And not they face off with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who come to town looking for their first win in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale since head coach PJ Fleck arrived in Minneapolis.
Despite their struggles, the Gophers come into the week just a game behind the Hawkeyes in the West and could vault themselves into the driver’s seat with a win. While they would still sit behind Wisconsin after the week ends, the Badgers’ impending date with Ohio State looms large and Minnesota would still have an opportunity to settle things on the field with Wisconsin.
Given the scenario, every game the rest of the way will be a relative playoff game for the Hawkeyes in the West.
Here’s a quick look at the details for Saturday’s matchup.
Date: Saturday, October 21st
Time: 2:30 pm CT
Matchup: Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-3, 1-2) at Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1)
Location: Kinnick Stadium - Iowa City, IA
Preliminary Weather Forecast: mostly sunny with temps in the low-60s, 5% chance of rain
DraftKings Opening Line: Iowa -5.5, O/U 32.5
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
The Hawkeyes and Gophers are set to square off for the 117th time in series history this weekend. Minnesota holds the all-time record at 62-52-2.
Notably, the rivalry comes with a trophy as Iowa and Minnesota have played for the Floyd of Rosedale dating back to 1935, when the governors of the two states made a friendly wager for an actual hog. Since that time, the Hawkeyes have held the edge in the series at 44-42-2.
That’s thanks in large part to a recent run of major success as the Hawkeyes have won the last eight meetings between the two programs and 18 of the last 22 overall. Five of those eight wins have come by a touchdown or less. In total, Floyd of Rosedale has resided in Iowa City for 2,898 consecutive days.
The Hawkeyes have won ten straight at home against the Gophers with Minnesota’s last win in Iowa City coming in 1999 - Kirk Ferentz’s first year in town. Minnesota’s last win in the series came in 2014. Iowa is 32-23-1 against Minnesota in Iowa City all-time. Ferentz is 18-6 all-time against the Gophers. Minnesota’s PJ Fleck has never beaten the Hawkeyes.
On the season, the Hawkeyes are now 2-0 in trophy games after winning the Cy-Hawk Trophy and Heartland Trophy last week. The Hawkeyes are 26-8 in their last 34 rivalry trophy games.
As we move toward kickoff on Saturday afternoon, here’s a look at the preseason predictions for this one.
Staff Prediction: Iowa Win, 100% of the vote
Fan Prediction: Iowa Win, 81% of the vote
BizarroMath Prediction: Iowa 16, Minnesota 13
Be sure to check back in throughout the week as all preview and postgame stories will be published to this stream.