The Biggest matchup in college football this Saturday takes place in Iowa City as the number one ranked Ohio State Buckeyes take on the thirteenth ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The Hawkeyes head into this one as seven-point underdogs, but I can assure you that this wonâ€™t be a gimme game for the Buckeyes. The last time the Buckeyes were in Iowa City two years ago, the Hawkeyes handed Ohio State its worst loss under coach Jim Tressel and by loss I mean a 33-7 massacre. That was the only game in which the Buckeyes have lost by more than two touchdowns under Tressel.
I have to acknowledge that Iowa has one of the best home field advantages in the country winning 32 of its last 35 games, but the last time Iowa and Ohio State met at Kinnick Stadium Troy Smith wasnâ€™t the starter. Smith was Justin Zwickâ€™s backup. He came in to replace Zwick in that game against the Hawkeyes and completed eight of 12 passes and threw Ohio Stateâ€™s only touchdown. He started the very next game and is 19-3 as the Buckeyesâ€™ starter since.
Iowa is going to have a tough time with Smith. Theyâ€™ve been very vulnerable when facing elusive quarterbacks. We saw this when they played against Iowa state as Brett Meyer kept the Hawkeyes off balance the entire first half. One thing youâ€™re going to want to keep in mind is that the Hawkeyes are yet to show anything offensively. They have been playing very vanilla football which hasnâ€™t allowed Ohio State to assemble a strong scouting report. Former Big 10 Player of the Year, quarterback Drew Tate, was banged up in the early going, but heâ€™s completely healthy going into Saturdayâ€™s matchup. Itâ€™s going to take a huge performance from him for the Hawkeyes to prevail. As Drew Tate goes, the Hawkeyes go. It sounds like a Chinese proverb, but it has proven to be true. However, in Saturdayâ€™s matchup, Iowaâ€™s defense will be every bit as important to its teams success as Tateâ€™s right arm.
One thing that you canâ€™t see on paper is Iowaâ€™s home field advantage. It will be the biggest factor in favor of the Hawks in this one. When you consider the fact that Ohio State struggles in Big 10 openers and in night games, my small lean is on Iowa. The Hawkeyes have a chance to do something extraordinary in knocking off the number one ranked Buckeyes Saturday. They may fall short, but I think theyâ€™ll keep this one within a touchdown.
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