Iowa State -2 - (4 units)
Iowa State ML +110 (6 units)
Wake Forest -3 (2 units) - WIN
1 unit parlay to win 6 units - OK St -14.5, Iowa State +1, TCU -1
1 unit Tcu -1
1 unit Tcu -2
Before the season, I would have suspected Iowa State -4 or 4.5. I was surprised to see them open as a pick vs Iowa and the line was available to me at -2. 4 units on that line for me. Checked this morning to see -3. I find value on Iowa State up to -4 at this point, although, I do see that as a touchdown win for Iowa State at the least. I was planning to put a season preview out for Iowa State, but may spare everyone by putting some analysis into this game which should give you a good idea from my standpoint how this season looks.
1. Series history since Matt Campbell came on board is a huge angle for me. He has said that he wants to get to Iowa's level of a program. He used his first game to show his team how far away they really were. Iowa embarrassed Iowa State @ Iowa in 2016 42-3, Just one year later, ISU was +3 or +3.5 at home. Iowa State was up late in the game, but couldn't hold the lead for a couple reasons. They did not have the depth at that time and they did not have the defensive identity they have since a game or two after that one. ISU lost in OT and this is even after a dropped pass for a TD made ISU settle for a field goal.
Last year I was dead wrong in my post. ISU clearly had a disadvantage with getting their first game cancelled due to weather. Campbell then had to decide whether to start a true freshman at center, or completely change his o-line. He changed the line and made it clear he made a mistake after the game. This year, each team plays a game, then has a bye week before they play in week 3. They will be on even grounds this time.
2. The Iowa offense vs the ISU defense. If you look at what Stanley did 2 years ago,(333 5/0) he did not have to face this type of def scheme that has made ISU one of the best defenses in the BIG 12, if not the nation. Stanleys biggest weakness is lack of deep ball accuracy and that was on display during that game. Now look at his stats from last year (166 0/0.)
This leads to the overall Iowa scheme. If they want to play conservative smash mouth football, ISU proved they can shut it down as they did last year. If they want to play more of a spread, ISU has shown to be able to shut that down with better offenses than Iowa's. We know Iowa's O-line is always good, but ISU, for probably the first time in history has the same level of athlete AND depth on the line as Iowa. Iowa will not be able to move the ball easily on the road this year. No doubt they will make Stanley uncomfortable. Keep in mind, last year Iowa ran for 2.9 YPC on 36 carries. Their offense did nothing.
3. What about the Iowa defense against the ISU offense. This one will be fun to watch and here is why: Iowa does not have issues with statue QB's. Kyle Kempt is exactly that. After the first drive against ISU, the Iowa D spread their LB, daring ISU to run it up the middle. They didn't as they weren't confident with their O-line. This is turn let Iowa pin their ears back and go after the QB. Brock Purdy is a different animal all together. We know a couple things about Purdy:
-He was a true freshman last year. He is only going to get bigger, stronger and smarter as the signal caller with a whole summer to grow. FWIW, the kid idolizes Tebow. I believe he is focused and wants to be on the same level as a Tebow type. Not saying he will get there, but no questioning the kids work ethic. Also consider that Purdy had a few games where he made a bad INT early in the game. WVU, WSU and plenty of mistakes vs TX and TX Tech. He already has shown and ability to bounce back from mistakes. Call it lazy handicapping, but the kid is special and I don't know how Iowa will deal with him, especially given it is the first time they will see him.
Also of note, Iowa State is second in the nation (or at least top five) in returning starts on the offensive line. They may not be the strongest unit on their team, but they have more experience than when they played last year.
4. How does the public view the loss of David Montgomery and Hakeem Butler? I think it is advantage for this team the more the general public assumes they fall back with the loss of these two. Note, I am not saying the offense will be better However, this will be a Calvin Johnson effect. Along with the array of skill position WR like Jones and Milton along with the transfer WR from Arkansas, they have TWO TE that are 6'6 and can catch. ISU has never been known for utilizing the TE position, but I think Kolar and Allen make up a lot for Butler as two guys that can high point the ball and make plays downfield. Watch for these two to contribute in that Butler role.
All in all, Iowa State OUGHT to be favored by at least three, but as I said, feel confident this ISU teams keeps Iowa low scoring and frustrated. Will be interested in the Iowa TT under as well as first half and game under.
I will edit as I have more time to sit and review more numbers and trends, especially as we get closer to the season. As I said, wanted to throw this out there in case it helps anyone one side or another given the number continues to imply early money is on the good guys.
BOL to everyone during the rest of the baseball season until we get to September!
Folks, like many of you, I am shocked at the line movement. In my post about the ISU vs UNI game, I said I wouldn't take the spread as ISU didn't care how they won, which is why I was on the under in first half and game. Right side, wrong outcome thanks to 3OT. That said, I see this as a massive over reaction to folks being able to watch Iowa beat two pretty darn bad programs, while ISU had that nail bitter. Here is the reasons it isn't warranted and why I am happy to take ISU ML as a home dog:
Box score for UNI:
They had two FG's in regulation and a fumble return for a touchdown. Go watch the replay, Purdy's hand is moving forward and the ball moves forward, but somehow it was a fumble...regardless, in regulation:
UNI had 190 yards passing and 33 yards rushing.
Also note, ISU had several penalties that stalled drives and a missed FG in the fourth quarter.
Basically, I am telling you that ISU made mistakes that can and will be corrected from game one to two. First game to second are the biggest over reactions.
To further this point, the UNI QB is quick and elusive. Exact opposite of Stanley. Note his numbers from last year, except no NFL tight ends to throw it to. How is Iowa going to move the ball?
Huge concern for Iowa: Cluster injuries in the secondary. Go back and watch the first two games and they will give up the intermediate routes. That is where Iowa State will thrive this year.
Also note the injuries on Iowa's offensive line. They are thin. While always talented, they will struggle against Iowa State's front. Jon Heacock is one of the best D coordinators nobody talks about. Two weeks to figure out exotic schemes will pair nicely with the LT being out and think on Iowa's o-line.
What does concern me about ISU?
-Run blocking was better, but pass blocking was worse. Of course, Iowa thrives on rushing the passer. As said above (I think,) Purdy is the QB that Iowa struggles with. They didn't show him getting out of the pocket at all against UNI. Expect them to do that and open up the play book more to challenge the Iowa defense.
-ISU Center is questionable. He was sat last year and would be a bummer to lose him this year as well.
These issues stated, this is not enough to warrant being concerned about this game. Yes it will be close and I believe low scoring. Remember, Iowa only mustered 13 points last year, in Iowa.
If nobody thinks the bye week is huge for ISU to correct mistakes and scheme specifically for Iowa, I don't know what to tell you.
BOL to those following and if not, BOL to you outside of this game.