Game One, August 31 vs Akron - Iowa will rip the Zips. The question mark here is whether or not Akron scores. The most tasteless comment I ever heard on a football prediction show was when then Iowa Assistant Coach, Ducky Lewis, was asked to predict the Iowa State game on "Beat the Bear". ISU was playing a small college whose name I don't remember. Let's call them Montana State. Ducky said: "Montana State? They couldn't beat a crippled kids home." WHO TV was flooded with calls the next day. This game is a mismatch. Hawks 44, Zips zipped as the Hawk ‘D' rises to the occasion. 1-0.
Game Two, September 7 @ Miami of Ohio - Many prognosticators have predicted either a close game here or a Miami upset. Miami has a great young quarterback; a strong home field and they are playing with revenge from last year. Factor in the MAC's great upset record against the Big Ten and you could have major trouble brewing. Is that right? As Chevy Chase would say "Wrong again, Shaina, you ignorant slut!" The Hawks blew their doors off last year at Kinnick, leading 44-0 after three quarters. Miami scored 19 in the fourth quarter against Iowa subs. During the next week, Redhawk players shot their mouths off about how they would beat Iowa next year in Oxford. The word traveled to Iowa City. Iowa will not overlook this game. In addition, Miami uses a spread offense. Iowa Defensive Coordinator, Norm Parker, spreads the love and loves the spread. Hawks 38, Redhawks 21. 2-0
Game Three, September 14 vs Iowa State - This will be an emotional game, combining rivalry feelings with 9/11 remembrances. Nerves will be frayed. If the game had been played on time last year, Iowa would have rolled the Clones by using a strong running game against an inexperienced ISU QB. By November, however, Wallace had learned and earned his stripes as a GREAT college QB. There are two obvious key matchups:
1. Iowa's dominating offensive line will be pitted against a relatively inexperienced ISU defensive line. Look for Iowa to run the ball and use the clock.
2. ISU's Seneca Wallace and his passing posse against a Sapp-less Iowa defensive backfield. Antwan Allen will be picked on and attacked. He and the other deep Iowa defenders must somehow control the Wallace aerial show.
This year, the Hawks will have help from something totally absent in last year's game-a pass rush. Hodges, Babineaux, Roth key the Hawks as Kaeding kicks the tiebreaker, 27-24! Three and 0!
Game Four, September 21 vs Utah State - The Aggies will be in Body Baggies after this one. The Hawks offense soars to new heights. Remember Gino Sessi? Jermelle Lewis runs wild. Iowa 63, Utah State, 10. Four and 0.
Game Five, September 28 @ Penn State - No one and I mean no one beats Joe Pa three years in a row. One of the greatest coaches of all time will find a way against a young coach that he respects very much. Nittany Lions prevail in State College, 35-34. 4-1!
Game Six, October 5 vs Purdue - Ugly Boilermaker uniforms and the spread offense prove to be fodder for the Norm Parker defense. After all, Kyle Orton isn't Seneca Wallace. Hawks take control early and win going away 42-21. Five and one.
Game Seven, October 12 vs Michigan State - Mr. Rodgers will please his fans with many spectacular, acrobatic catches. However, the Hawk defense rises to the occasion, frequently putting Mr. Smoker on his back. The Iowa staff has a better game plan as the Hawks rule the Spartans, 35-24. Six and one.
Game Eight, October 19 @ Indiana - This is not a basketball game. Hawks hound hapless Hoosiers, 41-9. Seven and one.
Game 9, October 26 @ Michigan - The heartbreak of Marquise Walker's miraculous catch in the end zone last year still haunts the Hawks. Matt Stockdale has nightmares replaying his injury and subsequent hospital stay where he watched "The Catch at Kinnick" that doomed the Hawks upset bid. Big Blue always has excellent personnel. However, this year they are absent the great quarterback they have enjoyed for years. (All Michigan starting quarterbacks for umpteen years have gone on to the NFL. Ironically, the best of them all, Drew Henson, a sure fire #1 pick in the NFL draft is the one that broke the string when he opted for baseball) A rumbling in some deep crevice in my demented brain tells me that this game could be a Deja' Vu of Tommy Nichol kicking the Hawks to victory at Ann Arbor over the Anthony Carter Michigan team. Nate is great as the Hawks skate, 12-10. Eight and one.
Game 10, November 2 vs Wisconsin - Barry and Kirk are great friends, having served together under Hayden. Iowa could have won last year. Barry told me that he felt fortunate that the Badgers prevailed. Has Iowa found a way to stop Lee Evans? The Hawks come down from the high at Ann Arbor and lose a rare one at home as the battery of Bollinger and Evans is too much to overcome. Badgers 38, Iowa 24. Eight and two.
Game 11, November 9 vs Northwestern - Randy Walker was the coach in Bowlsby's pocket during the coaching search 3 years ago. Today, Randy is on the carpet as the Hawks roll his purple people. Northwestern uses the spread offense. Have you been paying attention? Things return to normal as Norm's 'D' spreads the Hawkeye love. Hawks 45, Northwestern, 17. Nine and two.
Game 12, November 16 @ Minnesota - The Golden Rodents at the god-awful dome have proved difficult in the past for Iowa when the Hawks were playing for a New Year's Day bowl game. This year will be no different as Minnesota rises up to keep the Hawks out of Florida on New Year's Day. Minnesota 31, Iowa 21.
A nine and three season should put the Hawks in a quality bowl game. HTO will have hotel rooms reserved as soon as the game is announced. Get ready to go bowling!