|3.5 MINN (-105) @ pinnacle|
8* Take Minnesota (#128)
Th Gophers offensive line has been a unit of strength in early season play. This offense has now hung 40+ in back-2-back weeks. Four of the starters on that offensive line are from Minnesota, and know the depth and meaning of this ‘Floyd of Rosedale’ trophy in a major rivalry game. Offensive tackle Blaise Andries is one of them: “We’re going to take this one personal…..at the end of Friday Night, somebody is going to walk away with that pig. We don’t just want it to be us, we obsess over it. We are going to do everything we can to get that pig!” (looking to snap Iowa’s five game series win streak, including a hotly contested loss last year). Head coach PJ Fleck instructed his players to dream about the trophy. I expect Minnesota to play like their hair is on fire, a maximum intensity effort for a team that has enjoyed a pretty dominant home field edge in recent seasons.
I’m not buying that Iowa’s problems are fixed, even after their blowout win over Michigan State last week. They certainly got the Spartans at the right time, and everything broke right for the Hawkeyes from the opening kickoff. This team hasn’t won a road game this year. They’re still dealing with the locker room racial insensitivity issues that were raised over the summer and the lawsuit pending from former players against the program and aging head coach Kirk Ferentz. This is not a dynamic offense under first year starter Spencer Petras at QB, and the Hawkeyes are facing a talented team with a real chip on their collective shoulders. If Iowa wins the game at all, I don’t expect it to come by any kind of margin. Take the points! Take Minnesota!