College Football Predictions

Steve O Speak

By contributing Fanspeak writer Geoff Nelowet

(10) Iowa at (11) Ohio State

The tenth-ranked Hawkeyes took their first loss of the season last week, which nearly destroyed any national championship hopes Iowa once had. Should they win at Ohio State this weekend, the BCS rankings will be very interesting.

Ohio State, on the other hand, is coming off their best win of the season, and it had major Big 10 implication, as they broke the two-way tie for second in the conference against Penn State, and now they have an opportunity to take down the first-place Hawkeyes, and earn a BCS bid.

Ohio State is a superior team in talent. Iowa has no offensive threat equal to Terrelle Pryor. Iowa is a sound football team that makes few mistakes. They have had a great run this season, but it seems unlikely that they will pick where they left off without their starting quarterback – Ricky Stanzi. Iowa will be starting redshirt freshman James Vandenberg on what could not be a bigger stage: at the Horseshoe – the third biggest college football stadium in the country – vying for a Big 10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Iowa is a major underdog in this came, and rightfully so. Vandenberg will have to step in and play the game of his life, and Ohio State will have to make a few mistakes. This is where Pryor comes in. Pryor is electrifying, and he seems to either win or lose the game for the Buckeyes. Unfortunately for Iowa, though, it seems that both Pryor and Ohio State are finally hitting their stride.

Ohio State will take down Iowa, and they will do so convincingly. At the end of the season, Ohio State will be surprisingly high in the BCS rankings after what seemed like a down season. Final Score: Ohio State 34 Iowa 17.

Notre Dame at (12) Pittsburgh

Notre Dame is coming off their worst loss of the season to a Navy team that should not have been able to keep the game close, let alone win it. Not only did they lose, but Charlie Weis’ is now ostensibly on the hot seat. Notre Dame will respond in one of two ways: they will come out motivated and fired up to salvage their season and their coach’s job, or they will pack it in because they have nothing left to play for, as they are officially out of the BCS hunt.

Unfortunately for the Irish, they are going up against a Pittsburgh team that hasn’t loss since September 26th. This could very well be Weis’ last season in South Bend.

Pittsburgh is beatable, though, and their schedule reflects that, as they do not have a win against a ranked opponent on their resume – and Notre Dame doesn’t either. These are too evenly matched teams, but at this point in the season, they have greatly differing incentives to win football games, and that could ultimately decide this game.

Pittsburgh has relied on their balanced offensive attack this season, which is lead by senior quarterback Bill Stull and freshman running back Dion Lewis. Lewis has been one of the top rushers in the nation this season, and Stull has complemented the run game with a steady, effective air attack. The Panthers are hard to stop on offense because they can beat a team in a number of ways.

Notre Dame, similarly, is also an offensive-minded program, and junior quarterback Jimmy Clausen was considered a Heisman hopeful earlier this season. Notre Dame is a pass-first offense, and Clausen has thrown the ball almost 100 times more than Stull this season, which may be a disadvantage because it shows that Notre Dame is a bit more one-dimensional.

Pittsburgh is better than Notre Dame at this juncture of the season, and they will be more intense than the Fighting Irish. Both teams will score points, but Pittsburgh will be more focused and more determined. Final score: Pitt 37 Notre Dame 28

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