No second thoughts, OSU should beat Iowa

First Posted: 10/18/2013

COLUMBUS - If they don’t already have them, unlisted phone numbers would be a good idea.

Staying away from Twitter, Facebook and sports radio talk shows would also be something to consider strongly.

That’s the advice I offer to the 13 people named to the selection committee for the College Football Playoff, which will replace the BCS championship as the way college football determines a national champion in 2014.

The committee will choose four teams as national semifinalists to play for the championship.

Their vote is a year away but the second guessing is already underway, with people criticizing some of the members of the panel.

Just wait until they start to narrow the contenders down to the final four. The second guessing will only intensify.

Second-guessing is a very familiar subject for one of the coaches in today’s Ohio State-Iowa football game at Ohio Stadium.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz is in his 15th year as the Hawkeyes coach, the longest tenure of any current Big Ten football coach.

A three-time Big Ten Coach of the Year, Ferentz’s teams have won 10 or more games four times – in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2009.

After the 2009 season, which ended with an Orange Bowl victory over Georgia Tech, he became one of the highest paid coaches in college football when Iowa gave him a 10-year contract extension at $3.7 million a year.

The contract also has a buyout clause which says he would get $250,000 a month until 2020 if he is fired. So, he is not leaving anytime soon, unless it is his own decision.

Since Ferentz signed the contract, Iowa has a 23-21 record, including 4-8 last season. So there has been much second-guessing of that deal.

Iowa (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten) has quieted some of the discontent with a decent start. But with OSU, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska ahead on the schedule, things could go bad in a hurry.

No. 4 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten) has dominated this series, winning 12 of the last 13 times. Iowa hasn’t won in Ohio Stadium since 1991.

The Buckeyes would appear to be a solid favorite again. If Iowa is going to be competitive this afternoon, it will have to do it with defense.

The Hawkeyes’ defense allows only 88 yards a game and has not given up a rushing touchdown this season. It is also strong on the offensive line, where it has given up only five quarterback sacks.

But what this game could come down to is that Ohio State has a lot of ways to score and Iowa has only a few. The Hawkeyes might not be able to keep up with an Ohio State offense that leads the Big Ten in scoring at 46.8 points a game.

Take away the 59 points Iowa scored against winless Western Michigan and it is scoring 23.8 points a game. In its two Big Ten games – a 23-7 win over Minnesota and a 26-14 loss to Michigan State – Iowa has scored a total of four touchdowns.

Iowa’s most reliable offensive player has been running back Mark Weisman, who has rushed for 624 yards.

But OSU held Wisconsin to 104 yards and the Badgers’ running game is the best in the Big Ten.

With Braxton Miller closer to 100 percent physically, Ohio State should be able to put enough points on the scoreboard to extend its winning streak to 19 games.

The prediction: Ohio State 31, Iowa 14.

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