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Oklahoma vs. Iowa
Friday, Dec. 30, 10:00 pm
For one team the Insight Bowl is about what should’ve been. For the other it is about what could be.
This is a matchup that features two teams that no one saw meeting in a bowl game. At one point Oklahoma was ranked No. 1 in the nation while Iowa was, has been, and is a middle-tier team out of the Big Ten.
But the Sooners offense has been decimated by injuries, including losing one of the best wideouts in college football in Ryan Broyles and leading rusher Dominque Whaley. Oklahoma stumbled a the end of the season, losing two of three games, and now they find themselves out of a BCS bowl and playing in a pre-New Year’s snoozer. However, their two late-season losses, to Oklahoma State and Baylor, came against considerably better competition than what Iowa seems to offer. Then again, Oklahoma also has that bizarre loss to Texas Tech on its resume, and that shows that they can be beaten on any given day. And another key consideration is that Oklahoma could suffer a letdown after losing that Bedlam Game to their rivals in Stillwater.
Oklahoma has the No. 4-ranked offense in the nation and the No. 62 defense. And the fact that they are ranked in the Top 5 despite losing two of their best players is quite notable. And given the fact that Iowa’s defense hasn’t been all that daunting the Sooners should have no trouble putting some points on the board.
Iowa also stumbled down the stretch. They lost three of their last five games and dropped four of their last six outings against the spread. It should be interesting to see how much of an effect the impending retirement of Norm Parker will have on the Iowa defense. Their long-time defensive coordinator is calling it quits following the Insight Bowl, and I think the Hawkeyes D will come to play in this one. The Hawkeyes truly enjoy playing for Parker and they won’t want to disappoint in his final hurrah.
This one just seems to lack the pizzazz of many of the other late-December/early-January matchups. The Sooners should be playing against a better team on a better date, but injuries derailed what could have been an amazing season for Oklahoma fans.
You never know what you will get from a team that is playing in a bowl game that they are too good for. But the Sooners will end this season on a positive note. Iowa may keep this game close for a half, but that is about it. The Hawkeyes will get overpowered by the Sooners on both sides of the ball and Oklahoma may walk away with a double digit victory. So far in the bowl season the numbers have been pretty accurate and I have Oklahoma winning by a bit more than 2 touchdowns which is 12 points. So really once again the line is where it should be. This is another play that I will have to wait until we get closer since this matchup resembles the TCU-LA Tech game where the favored team will win but may not cover. Many people will want to jump on the ‘over’ here as well, as Oklahoma has a shot of putting up high 40s. But the smart money is on a slower game. Again we shall see as we get closer.