College Football Pick
It’s going to be extremely difficult to repeat what Iowa did last year, going undefeated in the regular season before losing in the Big Ten title Game and Rose Bowl. But that’s not to say they don’t have the returning talent to do so. With a favorable early-season Schedule, including this Game against Iowa State, jumping to the top of the Big Ten West will be possible again.
The Cyclones may be improved this year, but still lack in most areas compared to Iowa. In last year’s meeting, the Hawkeyes actually trailed by a touchdown at halftime on the road, but dominated the second half 21-0. Quarterback C.J. Beathard finished with three touchdowns, while the running Game produced 260 yards as a unit. On the other side, it wasn’t pretty as Iowa’s defensive line held ISU to 63 yards on the ground.
The hope for the Cyclones is that quarterback Joel LAnning builds off what he did a year ago throwing for 10 TDs and 4 INTs, while also rushing for 330 yards and Four touchdowns. For the most part, it was a step above Sam B. Richardson and with a full offseason as starter, LAnning could get ISU an upset or two.
That’s made possible with the help of returning skill players like Allen LAzard at receiver and Mike Warren at running back. Under new head coach Matt Campbell, the Cyclones want to try and become a power-rushing team, similar to Iowa. However, an almost brand new offensive line (outside of LT) will have its hands full against one of the best defenses of 2015.
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The Hawkeyes return a good portion of talent from that group, whether it’s Jaleel Johnson on the line, Josey Jewell at linebacker or Desmond King at corner, they are loaded across the board. It’s going to fall on LAnning to put points on the board for the Cyclones, but scoring on the road wasn’t their specialty last season. To close 2015, ISU scored just six points in a loss at West Virginia.
As for Iowa on the other side, this offense looks poised to match what last year’s group did. While they weren’t the best or most explosive, the Hawkeyes continually got the job done. That starts with LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley in the backfield, both of whom have plenty of experience. C.J. Beathard is also a candidate to improve in his second season as starting QB. He’ll have top receiver Matt VandeBerg back and that’s probably all he needs.
Our Pick – If you take a look at the last 6 years in this series you’ll see that the series is tied 3-3. You’ll also see that Iowa is 1-2 against Iowa State when the Game has been at home, losing the last two. This in state rivalry is always going to bring out the best in these teams.
The fact that Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa last week while Iowa pounded Miami Ohio, should create some added value with the underdog here and give us a few bonus points with the line. Iowa State +15