2009-10 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Predictions
by Doc - 8/20/2009
2009-10 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Predictions: 10-2 (6-2 in Big Ten)
In 2008 I predicted this Hawkeyes team would falter to the bottom of the Big Ten and after they lost their first two conference games this appeared to be the case. But Iowa finished strong, including a victory against Penn State and a dominating bowl victory over South Carolina, 31-10. I believe that this late surge last season will carry over into 2009 and this will be a real good football team.
That being said, the schedule is brutal with their four road conference games coming against Penn State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State. They lost star running back Shonn Green, a talent back who had close to 1,900 yards last season. I only see a little drop off at this position and expect Jewel Hampton to fill the shoes well.
Last year the Hawkeyes lost some tough games early in the season to Pittsburgh, Northwestern, and Michigan State. With some breaks and no key injuries, this 2009 squad has the talent to win the Big Ten.
Strengths: I believe this is one of the best coaching staffs in the country with Kirk Ferentz and Defensive Coordinator Norm Parker. All four linebackers return, led by Pat Angerer to anchor the defense. Iowa also returns Quarterback Ricky Stanzi, a player that really improved with experience in 2008 and I look for a big year out of him. Iowa is also strong in special teams and I look for that to play a role in a couple of close games.
Weakness: As I previously mentioned, the schedule is brutal. Iowa lost two of its top three receivers from last year and with a young offensive line. Even with a talented Stanzi at the helm it may take time to get chemistry with this new group.
Favorable line to play: Michigan at Iowa (Oct. 17). This is the first home game in the Big Ten and a must-win for Iowa, as they have dropped the home opener in the conference three straight seasons. Iowa and Michigan have not met since 2006 and the Hawks have not beaten the Wolverines since 2003. Assuming that the line is not too steep, I really like the homer as Michigan will be playing back-to-back road games. The week before they take on Michigan State and if they play well there, I really like Iowa. Keep an eye out for this one.
Favorable line to play against: Arizona at Iowa (Sept. 19). This is a typical sandwich play with Iowa coming off a game versus Iowa State and playing Penn State the week after. Arizona could be a strong club in the Pac-10 if they can find a quarterback to replace Willie Tuitama. An upset by the visitor would not surprise me.
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