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Iowa Hawkeyes Football Preview: Predicting the 2015 season

It’s that time of the week…as we wrap up our look at the 2015 Iowa Hawkeyes football team. Yes, we’ve talked offense and defense. Of course we had to look back at the 2014 season and we even took in an interview with our friends at Black Heart Gold Pants.

Oh, and we went around the campus to give you a look at where the other programs stand from this past academic year.

Now comes the coup de gras…the moment you’ve all been waiting for. What will the 2015 football season have in store for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

There’s no sense in prolonging the anxiousness, right? So, let’s look at the schedule and where both Andy and Dave see the Hawkeyes finishing up this season.

2015 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Schedule:
*courtesy FBschedules.com

2015 Iowa Hawkeyes Football Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 5
Redbirds Illinois State RedBirds
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 12
Cyclones at Iowa State Cyclones
Jack Trice Stadium, Ames, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 19
Panthers Pittsburgh Panthers
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
7:00 p.m. CT
BTN (Alt.)/BTN2Go
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Sep. 26
Mean Green North Texas Mean Green
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 3
Badgers at Wisconsin Badgers
Camp Randall Stadium, Madison, WI
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 10
Fighting Illini Illinois Fighting Illini (HC)
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
11:00 a.m. CT
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 17
Wildcats at Northwestern Wildcats
Ryan Field, Evanston, IL
11:00 a.m. CT
TV TBA
Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Oct. 24
Open Date
Saturday
Oct. 31
Terrapins Maryland Terrapins
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 7
Hoosiers at Indiana Hoosiers
Memorial Stadium, Bloomington, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 14
Gophers Minnesota Golden Gophers
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
7:00 p.m. CTBTN/BTN2Go Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Nov. 21
Boilermakers Purdue Boilermakers
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA
TBA Buy
Tickets
Friday
Nov. 27
Cornhuskers at Nebraska Cornhuskers
Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, NE
TBA Buy
Tickets
Saturday
Dec. 5
Big Ten Big Ten Championship Game
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
TBA Buy
Tickets

 

With that out of the way, how does our staff see things shaping up? Yes, we’re going to go game by game here, with Andy providing commentary on his picks for this week.

vs. Illinois State:
AndyWin
DaveWin 

Illinois State isn’t a team to sleep on out of the FCS division of football, but Iowa is playing at home and they should be able to at least escape from this one with a win. It isn’t as if the Hawkeyes have struggled against other FCS teams in the past or anything (wait, they have…). Still, I expect us to find out a lot about where this team is quickly thanks to how good Illinois State is.

at Iowa State:
AndyWin
DaveLoss

What, you thought a Cyclone would be a homer with this pick? Come on now…if there’s one thing I’ve learned about this series its to not expect what everyone expects. How do you explain the disaster that was Iowa State beating Iowa last season (even though it made my weekend as a proud former student at ISU)? As for this year, Iowa State needs to grow up quickly and while this game is at home, I’m expecting the unexpected and that means Iowa finding a way to win this one. It was a very close prediction because these two teams appear closer on paper than last years records would indicate.

vs. Pittsburgh
AndyLoss
DaveWin

This game last season was insane, and perhaps the greatest sign that at least the players hadn’t given up on the process or the coaching staff. However, Pitt is going to be a very different team this season with new head coach Pat Narduzzi in charge. With all the talent back for Pitt and a new edge, look for the Panthers to get some revenge on the team that came in and punked them in their place last year.

vs. N Texas
AndyWin
DaveWin 

Iowa will tune up for the Big Ten stretch with a North Texas program that has not been able to replicate success it had early under Dan McCarney. Of all the non-conference games this is the one I have the most confidence in Iowa winning. Should the Hawkeyes take a loss in this contest, look out for a season that will be really ugly…good thing I don’t see that happening in any way, shape or form.

at Wisconsin
AndyLoss
DaveLoss

Welcome to Big Ten play, it’s time to finally go to Camp Randall — a place only Kirk Ferentz and a few select coaches remember. That’s because it will be the first trip for Iowa to their Heartland Trophy rivals since 2009. Iowa and Wisconsin were much closer on the talent and production scale back then. Today? Not so much. After a test in Week 1 versus Alabama, look for Wisconsin to be on a roll with the schedule it has following that week. Wisconsin doesn’t lose at home to this Iowa team…not with Joel Stave being the man we knew in 2012 and 2013.

vs. Illinois
AndyWin
DaveWin 

Flip a coin for me here, and it landed on tails…which was Iowa obviously. Simply put, this game will come down to two things — Has Iowa found a dangerous run game and has Illinois finally started to play some quality defense. If either are answered in the affirmative by this point in the schedule, said team will win. I believe Iowa’s offense is closer to solving the puzzle than Illinois defense after spring, so I’m going Hawkeyes in this one.

at Northwestern
AndyWin
DaveLoss

Evanston, Ill. is the place where promising season’s go to die…usually. However, this game is perfectly set up for Iowa to go in and steal a win against a pesky Northwestern defense. If you don’t trust Iowa’s offense heading in to the season, let’s just say there should be zero confidence in anyone not named Justin Jackson on Northwestern’s offense. Iowa goes in to Evanston a little leery of this matchup, but comes out confident it can do something nice. It also means a two-game winning streak in B1G play!

vs. Maryland
AndyWin
DaveWin 

As tempting as it is to think of Maryland coming in and doing what it did to the Hawkeyes last season, I just can’t see the Terps coming all the way to Iowa City and pulling off a second half comeback. Not with a shaky spring from the quarterback position and a defense still adjusting players and positions. Look for Iowa to remember to close out a game at home and keep a modest winning streak alive.

at Indiana
AndyLoss
DaveLoss

We reserve the right to change our minds on this one, right? For me this game hinges on the potential of Jordan Howard at running back and the health of quarterback Nate Sudfeld at Indiana. If Howard lives up to the numbers he put up at UAB last season and Sudfeld is upright and on the field, this is a trap game waiting to happen. People are also sleeping on the Hoosiers’ defense, a group I’ve been more impressed with the more Brian Knorr works with them.

vs. Minnesota
AndyLoss
DaveWin 

This could be the game that gives the thumbs up or thumbs down to Kirk Ferentz as the head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes. So far the trophy case in Iowa City remains empty of rivalry trophies, and after a loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten opener, Iowa needs a rivalry win in the worst way possible. It won’t come against Minnesota, who continue to build on back-to-back bowl game appearances. While there are some major questions on offense for the Gophers, they’ll have it all sorted by this point…and that defense is going to be freaking good. That’s not a fun recipe for beating Kill’s bunch, even if this one is at Kinnick. That’s 0-of-2 in rivalry games, and the pitchforks are likely out in full voice should that happen.

vs. Purdue
AndyWin
DaveWin

As mediocre as Iowa was and appears to likely be once again in 2015, Purdue is just terrible. If Iowa can’t win this game at home, well they don’t deserve a bowl game. Consider this a chance to take some punishment out from a bad loss the week before and clinch a bowl berth with a week left to spare. Simply put, Purdue is gradually getting better, but it won’t turn the corner in the West division with this game. 

at Nebraska
AndyLoss
DaveLoss

So, if you remember, Ross of BHGP put it this way — take a loss in all three rivalry games and be at or below .500 and Ferentz’s seat would rightfully be hot. On paper, and in my head, there isn’t a formula that helps the Hawkeyes win this game. Nebraska’s starting talent is better across the board, and I’m banking on Nebraska having any offensive issues well sorted out.

Iowa’s 2015 Record/Finish:
Andy: 7-5 (4-4 Big Ten) – 4th in Big Ten West
Dave: 7-5 (4-4 Big Ten) – 3rd in Big Ten West

Predicted 2015 Big Ten Standings (per Andy): 

West:
1.
2.
3.
4. Iowa Hawkeyes
5.
6.
7.

East:

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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