IOWA CITY, Iowa – For the first time this season, the Iowa football team will not face a ranked opponent on Saturday.
Unranked Kent State, powered by an opportunistic defense that leads the nation with eight forced turnovers, and by talented dual-threat quarterback Dustin Crum, is fifth-ranked Iowa’s next opponent on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
And while Iowa is considered a heavy favorite, history shows that teams from the Mid-American Conference can be dangerous. Iowa has lost four times to MAC opponents under Kirk Ferentz.
But for it to happen a fifth time, the Golden Flashes probably would have to play well in all three phases. And that’s asking a lot.
Iowa has played 24 straight games without surrendering 25 points, and the current Iowa defense has forced seven turnovers in two games and also has scored three touchdowns, which is just one fewer touchdown than the Iowa offense has scored this season.
This week’s edition of the Hawk Fanatic picks also marks the debut of Dallas Jones as a picker. Welcome to the fun Mr. Jones.
Iowa 37, Kent State 17: Iowa’s points will come from three touchdowns by the defense, two by the offense and by a safety.
Cincinnati 31, Indiana 24: The Bearcats will prevail despite head coach Luke Fickell interviewing for the USC job during halftime.
Penn State 30, Auburn 27: The Nittany Lions will prevail despite head coach James Franklin interviewing for the USC job during halftime.
Oklahoma 45, Nebraska 14: The Cornhuskers will get pounded even without Scott Frost interviewing for the USC job at halftime.
Alabama 34, Florida 21: Nick Saban will celebrate this key conference win by being pleasant for several minutes.
Iowa 42, Kent State 23: Iowa is one of this week’s bad beats, but at least that streak of giving up fewer than 25 points will be intact.
Cincinnati 38, Indiana 27: I haven’t seen Cincinnati play, but I have seen Indiana play and the Hoosiers didn’t exactly blow my skirt up.
Auburn 45, Penn State 42: I just like Auburn better than Penn State, it’s as simple as that.
Oklahoma 55, Nebraska 10: Even Scott Frost doesn’t have Nebraska winning this game.
Alabama 45, Florida 31: After giving up 31 points to a nearly-top 10 team, Nick Saban goes on a tirade in his postgame news conference and fires his entire staff.
Iowa 38, Kent State 10: Iowa hasn’t been ranked in the top 5 since the Obama administration, so expect them to make an example out of Kent State. Expect the starters to be in sweats by the end of the third quarter.