Dec. 31, 2009 | 6:00 PM EST, Tempe, AZ, on NFL Network
Game Preview: I hate sounding like a broken record, but what did these guys do to deserve another game? They should really add a rule that in addition to six victories you also have to have a winning record in-conference—which neither of these teams did. Both are mediocrity personified and the one player who has any real next-level talent or buzz, Gopher WR Eric Decker, is unlikely to play. We probably shouldn’t expect fantastic matchups on New Year’s eve, but this one seems like a real waste. I hope no one gets hurt.
Iowa State Preview: Iowa State’s best win of the year was an upset victory over Nebraska. A game in which the Huskers turned it over four times in the red zone. They certainly have improved with their new coach, but they are a long way from challenging the big guys in the Big 12. Some like the potential of QB Austen Arnaud but I actually think he is regressing. The Cyclones will try and run the ball with 1,000-yard back Alexander Robinson, who may want to show the Gophers something given that he is a Minnesota native. The Cyclones don’t have much to get excited about, but the same can be said for their opponent.
Minnesota Preview: The Gophers are unpredictable. They beat bowl teams Air Force, Northwestern, and Michigan State, but lost to reeling Illinois at home and scored a combined seven points against the Big Ten elite of Ohio State, Penn State, and Iowa. This team flat out has trouble advancing the ball. Their leading rusher has less than 400 yards and leading receiver Eric Decker is unlikely to suit up. The best they can hope for is an inspired performance from QB Adam Weber. He’s done it before; against MSU he threw for over 400 yards and five TDs.
Game Prediction: These teams are probably pretty evenly matched, but I think that the Gophers have performed better than the Cyclones. It was a down year in the Big 12 and Iowa State caught a couple of teams looking the other way. Minnesota will eke out a victory. I am not sure how exactly, but since I have to make a call, this is it.
Iowa State Cyclones : 20
Pick: Despite the above, I would stay away from this game. Both teams are too unpredictable and their are better plays earlier in the day and in days to come.
Golden Gophers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games as a favorite of 0.5-3.0.
- Iowa State is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games
- Iowa State is 6-16 SU in its last 22 games
- The total has gone UNDER in five of Iowa State’s last six games
- Minnesota is 2-4 SU in its last six games