Indiana at Iowa
Kirk Ferentz can’t fuse Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard but he can play them both and that’s what he intends to do. He’ll insist he’s doing it because he wants to and not because the fans will revolt if he doesn’t get the big-armed Beathard into the game. That may be the case. Ferentz often seems as though he doesn’t listen to anybody except maybe his coordinators, so why start being Mr. Fanservice now?
The usual rap against a two-quarterback system is that it forces both quarterbacks to become situational. It’s not hard to see that happening here, with Rudock sticking to the West Coast-y short passing and Beathard coming in when there’s a chance of going vertical. The danger is in tipping off the defense to what sort of play is coming by who is under center — in short, the offense becomes predictable.
I don’t think that applies here. Iowa’s offense isn’t going to become predictable. It already is.
The question is not so much “what will Iowa do on offense?” as it is “what will Indiana do on defense?” Recall that the Hoosiers have already upset a big-name team on the road and they didn’t do it by scoring 58 points. No, IU won that game with defense, and that’s what it will have to do here. Iowa’s defense is statistically good but hasn’t been seriously pressed by anyone other than Pittsburgh. IU has yet to hold an FBS opponent under 24 points. If this turns into a point-scoring contest, the momentum will all flow towards Indiana. If Iowa can get up by 14 early, the Hawks can probably hold that lead. If they don’t just sit on the ball. Which they will.
I’m calling this my sneaky-good game of the week, and I’m guessing Iowa holds on. Barely.
The pick: Iowa 31, Indiana 30