Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Oklahoma Sooners: Breaking Down the Insight Bowl
Trying to predict who will win this Insight bowl matchup might be as hard as predicting any bowl this season. At first glance, it appears that Oklahoma will simply roll over Iowa to the tune of a 50-10 score.
The problem with that prediction is that until yesterday, Oklahoma had BCS bowl hopes in its grasp. Just how fired up are Bob Stoops' boys going to be to take on the Hawkeyes in what they have to be seeing as a second-rate bowl game?
For their part, Iowa has to be happy they are just in a bowl game and get to face off against such a premier opponent. As seems to be the case under Kirk Ferentz, you really never know what Hawkeyes team you are going to get on any given week. Are you going to get the Iowa team that handled the Michigan Wolverines, or are you going to get the team that actually lost to Minnesota? (One of two conference wins for the Golden Gophers.)
Of course, Oklahoma has been plenty Jekyl and Hyde as well. Are you the Sooner team that battered then-11th-ranked Texas and 10th-ranked Kansas State, 55-17 and 58-17 respectively? Or are you the Oklahoma team that lost to Oklahoma State 44-10 and (5-7) Texas Tech 41-38?
If this was any other year, Iowa would look to be a four touchdown dog to Oklahoma, but there are simply too many questions about Bob Stoops' ability to keep his team focused this year. Iowa has lived and died on their ability to play solid defense and mistake free football. Should they manage to control the clock they just might be able to put up fight.
Offensively, Iowa's cupboard isn't bare. Between James Vandenberg's 23 touchdowns and just six interceptions, Marcus Coker's 1,384 yards rushing and Marvin McNutt's 78 catches for 1,269 yards and 12 touchdowns the Sooners are going to need to watch their step.
If Iowa can keep Oklahoma's offense off balance with a defense that actually ranks better than the Sooners, then they may have a chance to score a very big victory for the Big Ten.
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