Brad's Best Bets - Top 10 Battle in Ames
College Football week two is here and there are just two Top 25 matchups. Oregon travels to Columbus, Ohio for a Big Noon kickoff against Ohio State. A game that undoubtedly has playoff implications for both teams. Both Oregon and Ohio State escaped last week with victories over unranked teams, however they both still control their own fate. Another exciting game on the slate is Iowa at Iowa State; a game that features two Top-10 teams. Iowa looked impressive in their debut, while Iowa State might have been looking ahead as they struggled mightily against Northern Iowa.
Listen, I’ll be the first person to tell you that it’s smart to back the home team in a closely contested rivalry game. This game however, it would be unwise for me to propose such a thing. If we’re being honest, I think the wrong team is favored. All offseason all we have heard about are the returning starters for Iowa State and how they are a legitimate playoff contender. Blah, blah, blah… I’m not and have not been an “ISU is elite” truther. Iowa State lacks one very crucial component to their game, the ability to stretch the field. Last year Iowa State was 49th in yards per pass and even lower in air yards per attempt.
Iowa brings another elite defense into the game. Last week they were able to make a dynamic Indiana offense look bad and basic. Not only did the Hawkeyes hold the Hoosiers to six points, they held them to 156 passing yards and 233 total yards. I expect them to put on another strong defense performance this weekend.
The biggest knock on Iowa has always been the play of the quarterback. For a team as elite defensively as Iowa, all they need is a good running game and a serviceable man under center. Spencer Petras is just that, he’s a serviceable quarterback. Since his three-interception outing early in the year against Northwestern last season, he played well. After that brutal outing against Northwestern he threw for eight touchdowns and just two interception. Couple his play with the talent of running back Tyler Goodson, the offense is more than good enough to keep up with their stout defense.
On the other side of the ball we have a talented Iowa State team. It would be unfair of me not to acknowledge last week’s game against Northern Iowa as a look ahead game. However, the Cyclones looked awful. Offensively it seemed that Brock Purdy did not take the next step that everyone was expecting. Purdy was efficient but failed to really put them in any danger.
The Cyclones have every tool to win and cover in this game, but I am siding with history and elite defense. I am backing Iowa to cover the +4.5 points for one unit.