The playoff before the playoff
Tomorrow, Iowa plays Michigan State in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship. This game is easily the one I am most excited for this season. No doubt about it. Tomorrow’s matchup means so much for Iowa. Every game has led them closer to the playoffs, but this is the one to get in. This is, essentially, a playoff game. The loser most likely goes down to some lesser New Years Six bowl, barring a loss by another top four team, and the winner moves on to the playoffs.
Iowa’s looking to show the world that they can win games, and this one is very winnable. I go into this game with the same mentality that I did last week. I’m confident Iowa can win, but I wouldn’t be surprised with a loss. The line is only 3.5 points in favor of Michigan State, so this game is expected to be close.
This is a game where two championship defenses will face two really good offenses. I think that the defenses are better than the offenses they are playing against, so the game will probably be low-scoring. Iowa has the better defense in my opinion, but Michigan State boasts the better defense.
Michigan State’s run defense is superb, so Iowa will have to switch to passing if they can’t get it going on the ground. The Spartans pass defense is good, but Iowa’s pass offense is better. Smith and Vandenberg should be able to get past the defensive secondary, and without the elements plating a factor, Beathard should be able to make deep, accurate passes.
Michigan State’s two good wins could easily be considered flukes, and a loss to Nebraska is laughable. If you take away two plays that happened after time expired, Michigan State is a 9-3 team that near the bottom of the top 25, so playing MSU is perhaps Iowa’s best opponent to win the Big Ten against. Michigan State also runs a defense very similar to former MSU defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi’s Pittsburgh defense, so they know what they are playing against.
To all of those thinking it can’t be done, lets just see what happens tomorrow. Iowa hasn’t lost a game this season. They have found a way to win every game, and that speaks volumes in itself. 12 teams have tried, and none of them have had success stopping the Iowa football team. Will Michigan State fare better than the others? Let’s hope not,
After talking Iowa up the whole article, I have to do something I’ve never done. I have to predict against Iowa. The beauty of my predictions, however, is that I never get them right. I think Michigan State will win 24-21. Obviously I’m going to cheer against my own prediction, but I can’t be a blind Iowa fan. I have to face reality this time. This team can beat Iowa, and if the Hawks don’t show up like they did a week ago, Iowa won’t be taking home the trophy. Let’s just hope that Iowa’s awake and ready to play. The players know what this game means for themselves, the fans, and the state. They’re going to try to bring glory to all of them. It’s great to be a hawkeye.