We broke down every aspect of the Iowa Hawkeyes in the weeks leading up to this game. We discussed Iowa's offensive philosophy and play calling tendencies. We broke down the offensive play makers on the Hawkeye squad. We compared Georgia Tech and Iowa's strengths and how they stacked up against their respective schedules. We learned that Iowa's defense is really good this year. We matched up Derrick Morgan and Demaryius Thomas against their Hawkeye adversaries.
Winfield left the realm of sports and found some hot Iowa chicks. He also polled several Big 10 and Iowa State bloggers to see what their opinions were of Iowa and its mob-like fan base.
As you can tell, our goal was to supersaturate the FTRS readers with Iowa information. We want you to know every little detail there is to know about Iowa ranging from traditions to skeletons in the closet. Personally, I got Iowa-ed out. I'm ready to watch Tech take on the Hawkeyes and I'm tired of previewing the matchup so here are my quick thoughts and FTRS' predictions.
Commitment to the Run
Iowa has struggled with teams that committed to the run. For all the accolades and awards won by the Iowa defense this season, they've faltered against teams that continued to pound the football. The three worst defensive efforts of the Hawkeyes were against Northwestern, Michigan, and Ohio State. The Hawkeyes gave up ~20 offensive points per game in those three games and had a 4 minute TOP disadvantage per game. The opposing offenses established the run and never stopped running as their OC's called in at least 45 run plays. In fact, those three teams' rush:pass ratio was 140:72 combined. The average yards/carry of the Buckeyes, Wolverines, and Wildcats was just short of 4 yards per carry.
If GT keeps up the season rate of ~4 rushing attempts per pass attempt and maintains the team average 5.32 yards/carry, I don't see GT losing. GT is 19-3 under CPJ when they've attempted at least 45 rushes (1-3 when they've failed to do so). The Hawkeyes will have to severely limit the dive and rocket sweeps and that will probably be the focus of Norm Parker's bowl practices. Another opponent of the Hawkeyes will be their incredibly inefficient offense with a stale QB at the helm.
Rusty Field General
Even the best defensive effort cannot make up for poor decisions by Stanzi. Nesbitt is much less of a liability than Stanzi in that Nesbitt only threw a pick every 38 pass attempts while "Stanzi Balls" flutter towards defenders every 19 pass attempts. Now, when one takes in to account that Stanzi hasn't seen an enemy defensive linemen in 59 days, one can wonder if the Stanzi Ball rate will go up.
War of Philosophies
Iowa hasn't really played a team with the offensive identity of GT and GT hasn't played a team with as good a defensive unit. I feel like watching Iowa's offense will be like watching Chan Gailey the Movie based purely on their inconsistency.
Concerning extra prep time, Ferentz hasn't really shown great aptitude for preparing with a bunch of spare time. At Iowa, he's 15-10 all time coming off more than a week of prep and 4-3 all time in bowl games. CPJ since his time at Navy is a little better at 21-11 with more than a week of prep time and he has a 2-3 record in bowl games. If anyone would like to look up every single schedule of every opponent and figure out Ferentz/Johnson's records against teams with extra time to prepare, be my guest. I'm sure that'd be an interesting statistic as well.
Generally speaking, I could see anything happening in this game. I thought we would beat LSU last year but then it turned out we were screwing around at practice the weeks leading up to the Peach Bowl
and I wasted 250 bucks on bowl tickets. This bowl game we're playing a bend-don't-break defense rather than a blitz-happy-speed defense, which kinda plays into our hands. If we can just keep the football in our offense's hands and gain 4-5 yards per carry, then we don't have to worry about our defense getting pounded by giant corn-fed sumbitches.
Bird: GT wins 21-20.
Winfield: As usual my prediction spews optimism. We find a way to beat the corn-fed lines of Iowa. The Jackets are too fast for the Hawkeyes and win 38-23.
Dane: Iowa doesn't show up. GT takes 42-0 lead in first quarter and QB kneels rest of the game.
Ted: I don't make GT game predictions until game day, so this is my "unofficial" prediction. I'm gonna say GT wins this one 82-6.