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Iowa State vs. Iowa
Current Betting Line: Iowa -13.5 O/U 45
In state rivalries make college football great. The only problem with Iowa vs Iowa State is that it hasn't been much of a rivalry in recent years. The Cyclones haven't scored a TD against the Hawkeyes since 2006. That is a serious drought that they hope to end as 13.5 point underdogs on Saturday. Both teams won their openers in 2010. The Cyclones downed a better than advertised Northern Illinois 27-10, and the Hawkeyes made quick work of Eastern Illinois 37-10. Let's see how these teams matchup!
It wasn't long ago that the Iowa State Cyclones were among the worst teams in the Big 12. They still aren't among the best, but they are making strides. Coach Paul Rhoads is in his second year. He led this team to a 7-6 record last year and has 12 starters back from that team. The offense starts with RB Alexander Robinson. He had 1,232 yards and 6 TDs as a junior. Against the Huskies in week one he had 97 yards and 2 TDs. He busted loose on a 63 yard play. QB Austen Arnaud had 0 TD passes and he gave up 2 INTs against the Huskies. He will have to shape up this week as the Hawkeyes defense is light years in front of Northern Illinois's.
The most important member of the Iowa Hawkeyes offense is back. That is QB Ricky Stanzi. He had a scare against Eastern Illinois where it appeared he might be injured, but he came out unscathed. Last year he passed for 2,417 yards and 15 TDs. The senior will do better this year. The running duo of Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegner combined for 1,475 yards a year ago. Marvin McNutt will be a force at WR for the Hawkeyes. He corralled 8 TD passes a year ago on 34 recs for 674 yards. The Hawkeyes aren't likely to put points at will, but they can score against big points against the Cyclones. Playing at home will work to their advantage.
The Hawkeyes are best known for their defense. They ranked in the top 10 last year. Iowa has 8 starters back from that defense. Perhaps the most important is SS Tyler Sash. The junior was named to the 1st Team All Big 10 last year after picking opposing QBs 6 times. He had 5.5 tackles for a loss. HC Kirk Ferentz's defense is what allowed the Hawkeyes to win this game last year. They trailed 0-3 at half time, but the defense produced turnovers and helped gain a 35-3 win when all was said and done. If they make trouble for QB Austen Arnaud once again then they will score an easy victory.
The Iowa State Cyclones defense has just 5 starters back. The LB corps is a complete unknown as all three starters have 0 game experience. Look for Iowa HC Kirk Ferentz to try and exploit that. The best returning members of the Iowa State defense is SS David Sims. He had 5 INTs and 88 tackles last year. Defense kept the Cyclones in the game for a single half last year, but that will be hard for them to do this year. They are playing on the road against a skilled offense. There are big gaps in talent. When it comes right down to it they are going to struggle to keep up with Stanzi and company.
This will be a big home game for the Iowa Hawkeyes. They are coming off an 11-2 season where they won the Orange Bowl and competed for the Big 10. Ferentz wants to set things off on the right foot, and smashing the Cyclones is the perfect way to do so. Traditionally, Iowa State shows up for this game. Iowa is just 1-5 against the spread their last 6 in this series. Over the last decade, if you had give Iowa State +13.5 points in this game, they would have covered all but 2. Iowa's offense ranked 10th in the big 10 last season. They won just two games by more than 13 points, the number on this game. But Iowa States offense also struggled. They ranked 103rd in the Nation a year ago and without major improvement, that could be trouble against one of the better defensive units in the country.
This is a very slight lean towards Iowa State
+13.5 which is currently available at most
sportsbooks. To consider a small play, we'd need at least +14.