Last Updated: 2017-11-10
In the grand scheme of things, the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes really serve no purpose to the rest of the College Football season. Currently, the Hawkeyes are the highest ranked of five 3-loss teams in the College Football Playoff Top 25. So far, their biggest accomplishment was knocking off the Ohio State Buckeyes last week. Thanks to the Hawkeyes, the Buckeyes seem out of the running for a playoff spot. However, they still have a legitimate shot to win the Big Ten.
As for the Hawkeyes, their chances of winning the Big Ten West would need a miracle. First, they have to defeat the undefeated Wisconsin Badgers this weekend. Did we mention that the game is on the road? The Hawkeyes have lost 2 of their 3 road games this year. Furthermore, the Hawkeyes are three games back of the Badgers with three games to play. They also are a game behind the Northwestern Wildcats after losing in a head to head battle. In other words, the Hawkeyes would need a complete collapse by the top two teams in the division.
Still, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for the Hawkeyes to really knock the Big Ten out of College Football Playoff contention. The Hawkeyes have been outscored by 16 total points in three losses. Remember, they lost on the last play to the Penn State Nittany Lions. In fact, five games have been decided by one score. They also defeated the Iowa State Cyclones by three points in overtime. Therefore, the Hawkeyes have a great chance of giving the Badgers a lot of trouble.
Defensively, they are giving up 18 points per game. They intercepted the electrifying J.T. Barrett four times last week,while holding the Buckeyes to 24 points. They tackle well and will need to display another phenomenal defensive effort to slow down the Badgers’ running game.
However, the offense will need to showcase their firepower for the second week in a row. Quarterback Nathan Stanley has been shredding defenses lately. He comes into Week 11 with 22 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He threw five touchdown passes, while surpassing 65 completion percentage rate for the second time this year. Will Stanley be able to duplicate his performance. He’s only at 58 percent right now. In addition, the Badgers are holding quarterbacks to below 52 percent passing.
If the Hawkeyes lose, the Big Ten will be better off. But if they win as double digit underdogs for the second week in a row, two seasons will have been ruined in seven days. Yet, the Hawkeyes won’t get the proper credit. When there are only four spots for the College Football Playoff berth, back to back wins over Top 10 teams should mean much more.