Penn State hasn't beaten Iowa in Iowa City since 1999. It's the place where national championship hopes went to die in 2008. It's the team that drug us to 6-4 in 2004 and left me depressed in the cold rain in 2009. Will Penn State exact revenge this year or will the Hawkeyes continue to be the pain in our side? Let's get to the picks.
bscaff: This is a night game at Kinnick, which can mean only one thing: you will likely have to step on bodies to reach the bathroom stalls if you're female. Based on prior police reports for 11am kickoffs, I wouldn't be surprised to read: 'Morris, Jennifer of Iowa City, IA, age 19, found passed out on top of three other passed out underage girls in female restroom at Kinnick Stadium, at least one of whom had defecated'. And we all know the police report of the Iowa fan who blew .350 and dove through a glass window at the hospital. That will be hard to top. Even so, Sunday's police blotter may be the most hyped read since Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses got him on every Muslim's hit list. I can barely control my excitement.
Penn State by 17 and a police report 42 arrests deep.
Tim: Conventional wisdom would say to expect a close loss as a result of a physical field-position battle that comes down to special teams and which team's offense can make the fewest mistakes. Not to mention the game is at Kinnick Stadium, a place where PSU hasn't won since the days when dial-up Internet was the norm.
As we've learned this season however, conventional wisdom needs to be booted out the door with this current coaching staff. Kirk Ferentz won't have the luxury of planning against a predictable, conservative offense that will play right into his defense's strengths. Furthermore, Iowa's strength of running the football will be going up against the strongest part of the PSU defense. Iowa has not shown much capability as far as a consistent passing game is concerned and unless somebody emerges as a receiving threat for James Vandenberg to throw to, it could be a tough night for the Iowa offense.
With that being said, I'm not comfortable predicting a blowout win for PSU here, but I do like their "gameplan" offense and ever-improving defense to be the key to a 5th straight win in what will be a raucous environment under the Kinnick lights.
Penn State 28-17
Jared: Iowa has a stout defense, a bruising running back (who may or may not play) and a very dependable kicker. Tack on the fact that Penn State has struggled mightily at Kinnick lately, and it makes this game much more frightening than it should be. Similar to last year, this should be a low-scoring affair. However, Penn State's offense is far more prolific than what Iowa has displayed so far. McGloin & Co. should be able to get into the end zone a few times, and Penn State's defense will add to the misery of the Hawkeyes offense.
Penn State 21-10
Devon: To predict that Penn State will walk into Kinnick and come away with a win is pretty presumptuous, especially considering how well the Hawkeyes played last week, especially defensively, in beating Michigan State. But this is a good matchup for the Lions--James Vandenburg has been awful, and though Mark Weisman has had tremendous unforeseen success, he a) is banged up and may be limited even if he does play and b) hasn't gone up against Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges. For a Ted Roof defense that keeps getting better each week, this might be the best performance since Navy. And offensively, I've learned not to question Bill O'Brien's schemes. The home field advantage is what keeps this close, as Penn State will, for the first time all season, start slow before picking up the pace in the second half.
Penn State 24-20
Nick: Last year, Iowa seemed totally unprepared for the seek and destroy missile known as Gerald Hodges to be launched repeatedly in an uncharacteristically blitz happy gameplan by Tom Bradley. This year, there appears some other guy at linebacker that will suit up in blue and white too. I, like defensive awards, am having trouble recalling what his name is, but chances are you may hear his name once or twice on Saturday causing havoc in the Hawkeye backfield. For the first time since 1998, the genius of Ken O'Keefe will not be on display against the Nittany Lions and I have it on good authority he took with him the evil hex Iowa City possessed over Penn State.
Penn State 27-13
Dan: Penn State looks real good now mid-way through the season, but a couple of things have me unsettled this week. They're coming off a bye week with momentum from their previous four wins maybe diminishing a bit, Iowa is a team that has also improved over the past few weeks and this is a night game in Kinnick. Iowa possesses the 19th-best defense in Division I which will put Matt McGloin and the Nittany Lion offense to the test.
BUT... The Iowa offense is god-awful, like, approaching Penn State-2010-and-2011-offense awful. James Vandenberg has regressed to the mean and even below after an impressive rookie year last year. Mark Weisman is medically cleared, but we still don't know if he'll play. The Iowa offense will be the difference and not a good difference. Don't expect a lot of points from either team, but expect Penn State to put a few more on the board.
Penn State 21-16