Iowa and Iowa State earn Bowl Appearances

For the past five years, college football in mid-December for football fans in Iowa has been a relatively uneventful, one horse show. The norm as been the Hawkeyes making their way to some warm location for a relatively unremarkable bowl appearance, and the dysfunctional Cyclones packing up yet another debacle of a season. However, it would be more than fair to say that things have turned out very differently this season. Not only have the Cyclones righted their once sinking ship, but the Hawkeyes no longer find themselves stuck in the mud of non-BCS berths. This year, the Cyclones find themselves playing in the Bowl and the Hawkeyes in the Fedex Orange Bowl. Here is a quick look at what to expect in each team’s match up. Iowa State v. Minnesota After a season initially marked by low expectations, first year head coach, Paul Rhoads, leads his 6-6 Cyclones against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Cyclones are highlighted offensively by running back Alexander Robinson who ran over a 1,000 yards this season and QB Austin Arnaud (an Ames High grad). The Cyclones will need to be consistent running the ball if they have a hope of putting the Gophers away. Though Arnuad, can indeed do just that, his passing ability is shaky. Arnaud often bails himself out of bad situations with his feet but cannot afford to throw picks against the Gopher secondary. Arnaud has only thrown two more touchdowns than he has interceptions, so his discipline to make the right decisions are make and break for the clones. On the Gophers side of the ball, the Cyclones will have deal with a pass happy playbook headlined by star receiver Eric Decker. If the Clones can keep Minnesota from lighting up the passing game, then the Gophers become very one dimensional. The Gophers failed to put even one running back over 500 yards this season exemplifying their obvious lack of rushing prowess. Defensively both teams are not stellar, with both squads allowing over 350 yards on average per game. Watch for a close (dare say overtime?) and fairly high scoring, offensive game in Tempe. The WEB’s prediciton: Iowa State def. Minnesota 30-27 Iowa v. Georgia Tech For the Hawkeyes, things were pretty much rolling a long perfectly most of season as the team went undefeated in its first nine games. Iowa City was chanting "championship" and the Hawks were weekly ranked in the top five of the BCS poll. However, disaster struck in the form of a severe ankle sprain for starting quarterback Rick Stanzi as the Hawkeyes dropped two of their last three games. Though denied an undefeated season, the Hawkeyes were fortunate to make an at large birth in the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech. Both teams are stout yet on different sides of the ball. While the Hawkeyes have one of the nation’s stingiest defenses, the Yellow Jackets have one college football’s most prolific offenses, ranked second in rushing. The Hawkeyes will have their hands full with the Tech’s trademark play: the triple option. In the Big Ten (aka eleven but whatever), the Hawkeyes never faced anything quite like the Georgia Tech. Headlined by QB Josh Nesbitt and running back Jonathan Dwyer, the Georgia Tech offense averages an insane 307.5 rushing yards per game. It’s fair to say that the Hawk defense has some work on their hands in Miami with that kind of rushing attack. The Hawkeyes themselves are not very prolific on offense yet will be getting Stanzi back from injury. One thing he needs to look out for in his return is the rapid Georgia Tech pass rush which can force bad throws (something that Stanzi unfortunately often succumbs to). For the Hawkeyes, this game is going to come down to if they can stop the Georgia Tech triple option, plain and simple. If they can’t do that, then they might as well stay in Iowa City all together. As of now, the Yellow Jackets just seem to have the advantage with that scary offensive firepower. The WEB’s prediction: Georgia Tech def. Iowa 31-21