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The Pants Predicts: Iowa vs Western Michigan

We believe that Iowa will win. By a lot. What could go wrong??

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Western Michigan
Bring on the Broncos!
Kimberly Moss-USA TODAY Sports

The non-conference season finale is upon us and the Iowa Hawkeyes are looking to get onto the plus side of the 25 points minimum for the first time all season. Fortunately for Brian and fans of points, the Broncos have shown an ability to give them up this year, forking over 48 to Syracuse in week two.

Vegas doesn’t expect Iowa to be quite so successful, but the Hawkeyes are expected to not only top that coveted 25 point mark, but to win by at least that. Our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook have Iowa favored by a staggering 28.5 as of Friday morning. The over/under has continued to trend lower all week despite that spread creeping up. It stands at 42 total points as of Friday.

That implies a final score of Iowa 35.25, Western Michigan 6.75. Here at The Pants, we’re pretty bullish on the Hawks as well. On average, we’re predicting a final score of 38-6 in favor of Iowa. That puts us firmly on Iowa giving the points and pretty firmly on the over 42 total points.

While the average is pretty well over the 28-point spread, just over half of us are taking Iowa with the points while a handful are still going to lean on the Broncos. Nobody has this one closer than three scores.

Here’s a look at our individual predictions for Saturday’s matchup.


Hawkeye fans have spent the last two weeks somewhere between smirking at the lack of offense and freaking out over it. On the one hand, Brian out is what 95% of fans are hoping for. On the other, watching the offense stink is no fun for anyone.

This is the game to give everyone what they have wanted to see and help Brian save his job. The Broncos gave up 45 points in the first half to Syracuse a week ago and while the Orange are a better offensive team than Iowa, the Hawkeyes should be able to carve up Western Michigan like a Thanksgiving Turkey even with Brian calling plays.

Prediction: Iowa 38, Western Michigan 6

Bartt Pierce

I don’t have great memories of playing these dudes from the western part of the mitten state. Unfortunately, I remember the 27-21 loss in 2000 and the 28-19 loss in 2007 more than the 59-3 shellacking the Hawks gave to PJ Fleck in 2013. If I recall correctly, ol’ PJ literally injured himself sprinting on the sidelines. That brings a smile to my face. I hope that on some whiteboard in the Iowa football complex, there is a note that the Hawks have a losing record against these directional horses. I correctly predicted the score for last week. If I do so again I’m selling everything I have and moving to Vegas.

The Hawks will kick some sand in these guys’ faces on Saturday. Cade will hit a few big plays, Patterson and K. Johnson will go off, Phil Parker’s guys will do what Phil Parker’s guys do, and the Hawks will roll. I’m normally a “we just need to win by one point” fan, but this week is different.

Prediction: Iowa 42 (yes, 42), Western Michigan 6


The offense took a (very small) step forward last week, even if the numbers are still alarming as far as total yardage, points per game, first downs, and so on. Fortunately, Iowa gets to play a defense that should allow them to go into “get right” mode with Penn State looming. This is a Western Michigan side that gave up a 48-0 run to Syracuse last week after taking an early 7-0 lead in Whatever the Carrier Dome is Called. They got in a bit of a dogfight with St. Francis (PA) in their season opener, a school I didn’t know existed until I looked at Western Michigan’s schedule. That was a 4-point game in the 3rd quarter before two late Western touchdown’s put the game out of reach.

Iowa’s power game, while still not great, will be too much for Western. Cade McNamara isn’t 100 percent, but he said at this week’s press availability that he’s had a full week of practice and this is the best he’s felt in a month. They get the receivers going on Saturday as Cade’s timing with them continues to improve and the ground game is on point for a week as the Hawks bludgeon these guys. If this isn’t a blowout with Iowa scoring 40+ points and topping 400 yards for the first time in a game since at Maryland in 2021 (seriously, no game above that yardage mark since 2021!!!), we have major problems.

Prediction: Iowa 45, Western Michigan 0

Glendale Hawk

I think what we’ve seen out of the offense the first two weeks is the result of a) Cade’s injury limitations and not having quite enough practice time to be 100% comfortable and b) an offensive line that has not landed on a solid core just yet. I expect the OL to take a big step forward against a WMU team that is, to be frank, really bad, and I think Cade’s confidence is on the come up. The more reps he gets, the better off this team is.

The defense is going to do what the defense does to bad teams, and whatever points WMU scores should come against the backups late in the 4th quarter when people are filing out to beat traffic. If this game doesn’t get Brian back above his own personal Mendoza line, there should be serious concern in the facility. This is the get right game that the team needs right now and they do, finally, get it right.

Prediction: Iowa 42, WMU 7


Iowa may not drop 59 points on Western Michigan they way they did during the team’s last meeting, but if the Hawkeye offense is ever going to finally put a complete game together, this is the opponent to do it against. Western Michigan struggled to put away FCS St. Francis in Week One and was absolutely shellacked by a mid-tier Syracuse team in Week 2. Iowa should have plus talent at every single position, and I expect Brian Ferentz to go for the jugular early in hopes of exorcising some of the program’s offensive demons and cooling the flames nipping at his seat. Iowa scores early and often, and the defense overwhelms the Western Michigan offensive line and keeps running back Jalen Buckley mostly in check and quarterback Jack Salopek running for his life.

Prediction: Iowa 41, Western Michigan 7


Feels like a game that’s going to look like there was more offense involved than there actually was a la 2019 Holiday Bowl. In other words, a high points/yard number as special teams and defense make an outmatched Western Michigan team more outmatched. Cooper DeJean puts together an all-around performance for the ages with an interception return for a touchdown and punt return TD. He even gets a snap or two on offense to make Penn State think.

Kaleb Brown gets involved. Kaleb Johnson gets back on the tracks. Fun times all around.

Prediction: Iowa 33, Western Michigan 10, Cooper DeJean 12


Don’t see much to worry about here, but I take pride in the fact that I believe I’ve been the closest on scores for both games out of all my colleagues here. I’d like to keep that streak going. The points total goes up, but not by a ton. Easy win, slows down late in the second half.

Prediction: Iowa 31, Western Michigan 6


No more excuses. We’ve seen glimpses of hope and heard the sound bites from players and coaches that this offense is close to putting it all together. It’s time to prove it. Western Michigan brings the 110th ranked scoring defense to Kinnick, this is the best opportunity the Hawks will have in some time for one of those comfortable games other teams seem to enjoy more often than we do.

It’s not just Brian that has to call a good game, but the players need to execute. We’ve seen this offense leave points on the board by dropped passes, poor reads, or other mental errors. This is a game where you can get away with those and still win, but it’d be better to clean those up completely. You won’t get away with them for long after this weekend.

I’m not going to assume there will be an offensive explosion out of nowhere, but I do think we’ll see an overall cleaner game, with more drives ending with six instead of three. Get up big, get up early, sit McNamara and let Hill get some serious game reps and let’s move on to conference play.

Prediction: Iowa 33, Western Michigan 7

Oh God, we’re all in on scoring - what could go wrong?!?

How do you see this one playing out?