If you've been gauging the mood of some (many?) Iowa fans about this Saturday's season opener, you might think the returning national runner-up that Iowa is playing is Oregon, not Illinois State. If you looked at the expert picks, you also might think that Iowa was in tough for a difficult encounter -- the experts at BTN.com, for instance, all have Iowa pegged for a nail-biter against the Redbirds (the biggest margin of victory is... 4 points). To be sure, the "other" ISU is better than your average FCS squad. And the enduring memory of Iowa football at the moment is of a Tennessee team fresh out of swaddling clothes beating the brakes off Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
But chuck all that doom and gloom in the garbage can, friends. Our friends at WhatIfSports have put their computers to work to predict the future, running thousands of simulations of the game to come up with a representative average result. And the word from their motherboards is clear: Iowa's gonna roll 'em, you guys.
47-6! Presumably that outcome results from Illinois State's starting lineup contracting a vicious stomach flu bug on Saturday morning.
The WhatIfSports computers expect Iowa's offense to put up boffo numbers: 30 first downs, 505 yards of offense, and (as noted) 47 points. That would be one of the finest days in the history of Greg Davis' tenure at Iowa. The computers have Iowa running backs rumbling for 220 yards on 39 carries (a 5.7 ypc average) and C.J. Beathard having an even more impressive day throwing the ball: 22/31, 285 yards, 1 INT. I mean, I suppose you could imagine that Tyler Wiegers gets a few garbage time completions if the final scoring margin is that big, but... LOL c'mon now. This is Iowa.
The projections also have the defense looking pretty salty, holding Illinois State to just 12 first downs, 207 yards, and two turnovers. Those are numbers that we'd take in a heartbeat, especially given the potent playmakers Illinois State has on offense.
So anyway, you can stop fretting about the game this weekend. The machines have spoken! Iowa is gonna send Illinois back to Normal in pieces. Hell, there's probably not even any need to play the actual game. Let's just chalk up the W and move on to game prep for Iowa State.