The Prediction

HI Publisher Rob Howe previews this weekend's battle for Floyd and picks the winner.

When, Where: Kickoff is scheduled for 11:01 a.m. CT Saturday, Sept. 22, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Iowa is calling it a sellout.

TV: ESPN2 will carry the game to a national audience with Beth Mowins, Joey Galloway and Lewis Johnson calling the action.

Point Spread: As of Friday afternoon, Iowa is a seven-point favorite at the Vegas Mirage. Total was at 45.5, a point down from a day earlier.

Iowa Trend: Hawkeyes are 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.

Minnesota Trend: Golden Gophers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. win.

Prediction: Before starting this week's On The Side session with Kirk Ferentz, the Iowa coach talked about Minnesota quarterback Max Shortell camping with the Hawkeyes as a high schooler.

Ferentz acted like the Hawkeyes may have missed out on the engineer of this week's opposition. He compared it to not getting Kirk Cousins. They instead signed Jake Rudock out of Florida.

No need to defend that one, Kirk. Most coaches in the country would have made that call.

Shortell talked about his connection with Iowa during the recruiting process in

Check out this this story we published here a few years ago.

Shortell probably even has surprised Gophers Coach Jerry Kill and his staff. He played last season as a true freshman and is expected to start against Iowa this Saturday in Kinnick Stadium.

Let's just say that this venue isn't one you'd choose for a young quarterback starting his second game overall and first on the road. Minnesota's 4-0 start should be commended, but this will be the first test to see how far the program has come under Kill.

The Gophers last won in Iowa City during Ferentz's first season as head coach. They squeaked out a 25-21 win against a team that went winless in the Big Ten in 1999.

None of this matters to this year's game, we know. Minnesota comes to town having beaten the Hawkeyes in Minneapolis the last two seasons despite finishing with a worse record than did Iowa those years.

The home team limps into the contest at 2-2. It's experiencing issues in all three phases of the game.

Iowa also could be 4-0 with a break or two. I know. I know. If my aunt had gonads, she'd be my uncle.

A thing to look at when evaluating a team at this point of the season is seeing how they got to this point. For Iowa, it's suffering a lot of self-inflicted wounds.

Turnovers, penalties, growing pains for players and coaching indecision (or lack of good enough ones at the right times) are overwhelming the Hawkeyes. There's a chance those problems hang around for eight more games. There's also a possibility they're fixed.

This Iowa coaching staff has not forgotten how to do its job. It seems to do its best work when the chips are down.

Score: Iowa 20, Minnesota 17

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