Week 9 - Northwestern at Iowa

Posted Oct 24, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction & Preview - Northwestern at Iowa

- Nebraska at Minnesota | Northwestern at Iowa
- Michigan State at Illinois | Penn State at Ohio State

Northwestern (4-3) at Iowa (4-3) Oct. 26 12:00, BTN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: Both teams are 4-3, so why does it seem like one is rising and the other is falling through the floor?

Even though Iowa lost its last two games, it just so happened to deal with Michigan State and Ohio State teams that are among the league's most physical and talented – at least offensively for OSU and defensively for MSU. The Hawkeyes battled hard in two tough fights, but the positives from a season going better than expected could all go bye-bye in a hurry with a loss to the reeling Wildcats. With Wisconsin up next and Michigan and Nebraska still to go, another defeat could suddenly make it a fight to get to a bowl game.

Meanwhile, Northwestern went from having Ohio State in trouble late, to losing three straight games with a lifeless loss to Wisconsin and a total clunker against Minnesota. Now, with a trip to Nebraska up next and Michigan and Michigan State to follow, nothing is guaranteed.

It's late October, so every team needs a win, but in this game, both teams really need a victory. Northwestern has won three of the last four in the series.

Why Northwestern Might Win: How did Northwestern look against Wisconsin after being beaten up and battered by Ohio State? Dead. Iowa got hit and hit hard in the second half against the Buckeyes, and they still kept fighting in a tough loss, but is there anything left? Worse yet for the Hawkeyes, Northwestern is going to come in desperate. Pat Fitzgerald wasn't happy with the team's attitude after the loss to Wisconsin, and now this has been an even more stressful week – the coaching staff isn't going to let the team come out flat a third week in a row.

Why Iowa Might Win: Ohio State was able to barrel on the Northwestern defensive front, and Wisconsin beat the heck out of the Hawkeyes. Iowa, if it has anything left after Columbus, should be able to thump away on a soft Wildcat defensive front that's been getting gouged. On the other side of the ball, the NU offense has sputtered and coughed with its two most dangerous weapons – running back Venric Mark and quarterback/receiver Kain Colter – fighting through injuries. There's no spark to the Wildcats lately, but there might be a harsh truth to face – the team just might not be all that great. Mark is definitely out, but Kolter is expected to be back. However, his sprained ankle is a problem.

Who To Watch Out For: It's time for Iowa to get Mark Weisman rolling again. Held to just nine yards by the vaunted Michigan State defense, and limited to 52 yards on ten carries against Ohio State, the bruiser should be ready to handle more of the workload again and be a 100-yard back. He only has three touchdown runs on the year, with two of them coming against SE Missouri State. This is when the Iowa power game needs o come through.

What Will Happen: Northwestern will come out pumped up, but the fire will quickly fizzle out with no pop to the offense. Iowa will pound its way to the win.

Prediction: Iowa 27 … Northwestern 23
Line: Iowa -3.5 o/u: 53
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 3
Buy tickets for this game at TicketCity