(10-2, 7-5 ATS)
(7-5, 5-6-1 ATS)
Insight Bowl betting action kicks off on December 28th in what really could be one of the most entertaining games of the season. The Iowa Hawkeyes will look to avoid finishing the season on a total slide in their finale against the overachieving Missouri Tigers.
Mizzou deserves a lot of credit this year for really playing well against a relatively tough schedule. The only losses were at the Nebraska Cornhuskers and at the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and had one of those two games bounced the other direction, there would be a great chance for these guys to be in the BCS and not in the Insight Bowl. Thank a defense that pitched two shutouts and held five foes in single digits in scoring this year for this great 10-2 season. Allowing 15.2 points per game ranked No. 1 in the Big XII this year and was one of the top marks in the entire country. Interestingly enough, QB Blaine Gabbert and company really didn’t play all that well on the other side of the ball, though. Gabbert was supposed to challenge to be a Heisman Trophy contender, something that never materialized. He threw for 2,752 yards and 15 TDs against seven picks this year, and he never really got a ton of help from the rest of his mates either. There wasn’t even a man that rushed for 500 yards this year on the ground, while WRs TJ Moe, Michael Egnew, and Jerrell Jackson all probably underachieved.
Iowa’s problem stems from suspensions in this one. Top RB Adam Robinson and top WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos are both out of the fold after being suspended two weeks ago for this game, which is going to be a ton of strain on an offense that was already mediocre at best. The good news is that Head Coach Kirk Ferentz really gets to have a nice look at some of his younger skill position players. Freshman RB Marcus Coker is a huge back that has had a decent season this year, accounting for 403 yards and a TD on the ground as a freshman. Junior WR Marvin McNutt really had a great year, catching 51 passes for 798 yards and eight scores. Sophomore WR Keenan Davis only caught ten passes all year long, but he might be thrown into action more as a third receiver in this offense with Johnson-Koulianos out of the fold. The best thing that Ferentz has in his corner though, is the fact that QB Ricky Stanzi is still in the pocket. This will be the last game in the career of arguably the greatest quarterback in Iowa history. Stanzi, who started for 2.5 seasons in his career, threw for 2,804 yards and had a 25/4 TD/INT ratio in his senior campaign.
Though we know that the Hawkeyes are facing all of these suspensions, we know that Stanzi is a warrior that just refuses to lose. He had never lost a game in his career in which he started and finished until this year, and you know that he doesn’t want to finish up with a total dud like this. Missouri had a great year this season, but we just have the feeling that Iowa is going to get the job done some way, some how.
Insight Bowl Free Pick: Iowa Hawkeyes +3